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Platelet aggregation is one of the factors that leads to cardiovascular disease and increases risk of heart attack and stroke. Blood thinning drugs such as warfarin and aspirin are used to decrease platelet aggregation for some individuals. There are also foods that decrease platelet aggregation and can prevent cardiovascular disease in some cases and help decrease the need for over-the-counter or prescription medications. Consult with your physician to determine the most appropriate course of therapy.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Antioxidant compounds in pomegranate juice known as polyphenols have the ability to reduce the risk of cardiovascular accidents, in part due to their antiplatelet effect, according to a study published in the April 2009 issue of the “Journal of Medicinal Food.” The study tested both pomegranate juice and a polyphenol-rich extract for their effects on platelet aggregation and on several other parameters of cardiovascular effect 1. Both the juice and the extract reduced platelet aggregation, with the extract having a stronger effect. The researchers noted that beneficial effects were achieved at levels of both juice and extract that are possible to obtain through food intake, as opposed to necessitating high levels of concentrated extracts in supplement form in order to provide a significant effect.
- Antioxidant compounds in pomegranate juice known as polyphenols have the ability to reduce the risk of cardiovascular accidents, in part due to their antiplatelet effect, according to a study published in the April 2009 issue of the “Journal of Medicinal Food.
- ” The researchers noted that beneficial effects were achieved at levels of both juice and extract that are possible to obtain through food intake, as opposed to necessitating high levels of concentrated extracts in supplement form in order to provide a significant effect.
Which Fruits Lower Triglycerides?
The composition of fatty acids in the cell membranes of platelets contributes to platelet function in terms of aggregation and cardiovascular risk factors, according to a study published in December 2001 in the “European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to the flexibility of cell membranes, making them effectively more slippery and, in the case of platelets, less sticky and less likely to clump together in the blood. The study compared platelet fatty acid composition in relation to diets containing fish and white meat versus diets high in red meat and found that diets higher in fish and white meat had significantly higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, while diets high in red meat had significantly higher levels of omega-6 fatty acids.
Red wine inhibited a protein molecule known as platelet derived growth factor, while white wine had no inhibitory effect in a study published in 2009 in the journal “Cardiovascular Research.” Platelet derived growth factor is released from platelets and contributes to arterial plaque formation by stimulating rapid growth of cells in the linings of arteries 3. All red wines tested completely abolished the overproduction of cells in artery walls, as well as in heart muscle cells. The researchers identified certain flavonoids in the seeds and skins of red grapes as being responsible for the observed effects and suggested the possibility of enriching white wines with the substances to similarly enhance their health benefits.
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Platelets are the part of your blood that causes it to clot, or aggregate. Although clotting is useful to repair the body after physical injury, blood clotting in arteries can also lead to heart problems. Many foods provide blood-thinning agents that reduce platelet aggregation. Always check with your doctor before consuming large amounts of blood-thinning foods, especially if you take medication to thin blood.
Fish and Shellfish
Fish and shellfish provide an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. In large amounts, these heart-healthy fats reduce platelet aggregation, helping to prevent artery blockage. Enjoy salmon, tuna, cod, scallops and shrimp. Walnuts, flaxseeds, oregano and cloves also provide these healthful fats.
Many vegetables contain omega-3 fats, including cauliflower, collard greens, romaine lettuce, broccoli, kale and cabbage. Some vegetables also contain salicylates, which are found in aspirin and thin the blood to prevent clotting. Salicylates occur naturally in cucumbers, alfalfa, mushrooms, radishes and zucchini, notes WebMD. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods website, the Journal of the American Medical Association research suggests that tomato juice may decrease platelet aggregation. The study focused on the effects of tomato juice on people with type 2 diabetes. When choosing tomato juice, opt for the low-sodium varieties.
Berries, cherries, oranges and raisins also contain salicylates that reduce platelet aggregation, according to a study on the effects of salicylates found in food on cardiovascular health. According to World’s Healthiest Foods, grapes also reduce platelet aggregation.
Flavorings and Additives
Salicylates appear in a variety of food additives, particularly flavorings. Baked foods, such as cakes and pies, often contain salicylates, as do beverages, candy, gum, ice cream and syrups. Many fruit and vanilla flavorings also contain these natural blood thinners.
Cinnamon releases cinnamaldehyde, which reduces platelet aggregation, according to World’s Healthiest Foods. Garlic, ginger and turmeric also help to thin blood and prevent excessive clotting.
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- WebMD: The Basics of Salicylate Allergies
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Based in the southeastern United States, Annabelle Brown began writing in 2000. She specializes in health, nutrition, education and pets. Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Virginia Tech and is pursuing a Master of Science in English from Radford University and a Master of Education at Wright State University.