British Heart Foundation: Understanding blood clots

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Blood clots can lay the groundwork for serious health problems, ranging from heart attacks to strokes. While medicines called anti-coagulants can dissolve the harmful clots, garlic could also provide aid. According to a doctor, the small vegetable could erect a barrier against the tricky clots.

Whether you use it as a base for your pasta sauce or as a kick of flavour for your curry, garlic offers more than its pungent taste.

From reducing blood pressure to complimenting your gut health, garlic is packed with various health benefits.

What’s more, Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy explained the potent food could also reduce your risk of blood clotting.

The doctor said: “Research studies have reported that garlic results in a significant reduction in platelet aggregation. 

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“Platelet aggregation [details] the way platelets clump together to form a blood clot.

“This [effect] is thought to be due to the effects of ajoene, a sulphur-containing phytocompound found in garlic.

“Garlic is [also] thought to be beneficial for those with cardiovascular disease, because of its cholesterol-lowering properties and anti-clotting properties.”

You don’t have to just take Dr Lee’s word for it as research, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, also echoes garlic’s powers.

The research paper found that the small food offers various benefits for your cardiovascular system, ranging from lower cholesterol to reductions in platelet aggregation.

In fact, the team penned that the process by which platelets adhere to each other at sites of vascular injury to form a clot was significantly reduced following garlic regimen.

However, the researchers also noted that some of the research in the study was “limited”.

“Conclusions regarding clinical significance are limited by the marginal quality and short duration of many trials and by the unpredictable release and inadequate definition of active constituents in study preparations,” it said.

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While garlic could reduce your risk of harmful blood clots, Dr Lee warned that some people should avoid it.

She said: “Garlic should not be taken by anyone on blood thinners or with an increase in bleeding tendency. 

“As garlic can increase the risk of bleeding, and interfere with blood pressure, it should be discontinued two weeks before surgery. 

“It can also interact with a variety of medications including antidiabetic drugs, tacrolimus, and antivirals used to treat HIV.

“If you have any chronic medical conditions or take any regular medication, always check with your pharmacist or GP before you start taking garlic.”

Furthermore, garlic isn’t the only flavour that could spice up your cooking and reduce your risk of blood clotting.

Dr Lee shared that spices, including ginger, turmeric and cayenne pepper, could also reduce the likelihood of clots.

While all of these spices could help reduce your risk of clotting and dissolve the gel-like clumps, the doctor reminded that you should talk to your GP before you start taking them.

Although garlic can cut the risk of future clots, foods shouldn’t be used as substitutes for medical treatment.

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