British Heart Foundation: Understanding blood clots
A certain amount of clotting in the blood is necessary to avoid excessive bleeding whenever we get a cut.
However, blood clots that don’t dissolve naturally have the potential to become dangerous.
This is because they can break away and travel to vital organs such as the heart, lungs and brain.
If this occurs it can lead to medical emergencies such as heart attacks, pulmonary embolisms and strokes.
Like many other medical conditions there are certain factors that can increase your risk for blood clots.
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While some of these can be beyond your control, others are linked to lifestyle choices.
For example, smoking, and having high cholesterol and high blood pressure can put you at greater risk of blood clots.
Luckily there are also steps that can be taken to reduce your chances of a blood clot.
One expert spoke with Express.co.uk about certain foods and drinks that can help prevent clotting.
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Erin Blakely, fitness instructor and the founder of Senior Golf Source, recommended drinking tomato juice to lower your chance of developing blood clots.
She said: “Ever thought about why it’s that lovely red colour? It’s full of lycopene.
“Drinking it might just help keep blood clots at bay.
“Plus, tomatoes are loaded with potassium, which is a buddy to our blood pressure.
“Keeping blood pressure in check is super important because if it goes too high, it can hurt our blood vessels, making it easier for those clots to form.”
Her advice is backed by a study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which tested the effects of tomato extract on platelets in the blood – cells found in the blood that create clots.
It found there were “significant reductions” in platelet aggregation three hours after consuming tomato extract.
The study concluded: “As a functional food or dietary supplement, tomato extract may have a role in primary prevention of cardiovascular disease by reducing platelet activation, which could contribute to a reduction in thrombotic events.”
Erin also recommended other foods that can help prevent blood clots.
Ginger has compounds that can inhibit platelet aggregation, preventing platelets from sticking together and forming clots, said Erin.
She explained: “Platelets are small blood cells that clump together and form clots to stop bleeding.”
Grapes are “packed” with antioxidants.
“These little wonders fight off oxidative stress, which, if left unchecked, can harm our blood vessels and make them more likely to form clots,” she said.
However, she added: “Always consult with a health professional before making significant dietary changes.”
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