We all have blood pumping through our veins, everyone is at some risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition in which blood clots form in veins deep inside the body. The bad news: DVT can lead to serious illness, disability, or, in severe cases, death. The good news: DVT is both preventable and treatable. One step you can take right now is changing your diet to prevent DVT.
Drink Plenty of Water
Dehydration can cause your blood to thicken, increasing your risk for a blood clot. To make sure you’re staying well hydrated, drink at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. For a visual gauge, check your urine. If it is a light yellow color or clear, you are probably drinking enough. If it’s dark, you’re probably not and should increase your daily water intake.
Sip Red Wine or Grape Juice
Several studies done at the University of Wisconsin have found substances called flavonoids in purple grapes can help prevent blood clots by making platelets. The research suggests drinking moderate amounts of red wine or purple grape juice. This is in addition to eating five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables per day, as recommended by the American Heart Association.
Go for Garlic
People have been using garlic as medicine for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient Egyptians. The odiferous food choice is thought to have many health benefits, one of which is possible blood-thinning properties. Eating garlic regularly may help prevent blood clots. Talk to your doctor about how much garlic you should eat, if you are using blood thinners already. As a natural blood thinner, garlic could interfere with blood-thinning medications you might be taking.
Enjoy Virgin Olive Oil
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the phenols in virgin olive oil can help prevent blood clots. In the study, people who ate virgin olive oil with a high phenol content had lower levels of a substance that promotes blood clots. They also had lower levels of a blood clot promoter. So for a DVT food choice, dip your bread in olive oil, the virgin kind.
Eat a Kiwi
It’s no secret that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is good for cardiovascular health. But researchers at the University of Oslo revealed a shining star when it comes to DVT food choices, kiwifruit. The study found people who ate two to three kiwi per day had less platelet activity, and therefore, a lower risk of blood clots. Eating kiwi helped lower cholesterol levels, too.
Make Leafy Greens a Routine
If you take warfarin, an anti-coagulant to prevent blood clots, fluctuating amounts of foods high in vitamin K, such as green, leafy vegetables, can interfere with your medication. “Too often, doctors tell patients to avoid all green leaf veggies,” Masley said. “Instead, eat leafy greens consistently every day.” Have a small salad every day rather than once-in-a-while.
Limit Animal Fats in Your Diet
Finally, Masley said that the same foods that are bad for cardiovascular health in general can also increase your risk of developing blood clots. That means you want to stay away from unhealthy trans fats, from the saturated fats in full-fat dairy and fatty meats, and from all types of sugar. “These are all foods that increase inflammation,” he said. Read labels because many of the culprits may not be obvious ingredients in packaged foods.