British Heart Foundation: Understanding blood clots
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A certain amount of blood clotting is necessary in the body as it prevents excessive bleeding when you suffer a cut. Blood clots are small clumps of blood that form into a king of gel. Those that don’t dissolve naturally are of concern.
This is because they can break away and travel to vital organs, leading to emergencies such as strokes and pulmonary embolisms.
A number of factors can put you at greater risk of developing blood clots including being overweight, smoking and if you’re unable to move around much – such as following an operation.
However, there are certain things that could actually reduce your risk.
According to one expert, eating nuts could do this.
Registered dietician at JustCBD, Nataly Komova, explained: “Nuts are high in Omega-3 fatty acids that total and low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol levels.
“If your cholesterol levels are dangerously high, plaque may develop in your arteries (atherosclerosis).
“High cholesterol levels also increase the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) or blood clot in the vein.”
VTE includes deep vein thrombosis – a blood clot in the arm or leg – and pulmonary embolism – a blood clot in the lung, both of which are dangerous.
What does the research say?
Her claim was supported by a study published in Nutrients journal in 2019.
The research found that eating nuts could improve vascular function (improving how blood vessels across the body work).
“In summary, nuts have the potential to improve vascular function and future studies should consider the population, dose and length of nut supplementation as well as suitability of the different vascular function techniques,” the study says.
A separate paper, published in Diabetes Care in 2011, found that eating nuts not only helped control blood sugar, but lowered cholesterol levels.
As part of the research participants were split into three groups.
One group was given muffins, one was provided with a mixture of nuts including raw almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews, and macadamias, and the other was given a mixture of muffins and nuts.
Participants in the nut-only group reported the greatest improvement in blood glucose control and a reduction in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol).
The consumption of nuts has also been recommended to lower the risk of blood clots by the Mayo Clinic.
The clinic says: “Regularly eating a healthy diet that includes nuts may decrease the risk of blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.”
It also cites other health benefits of nuts, saying they can:
- Improve artery health
- Reduce inflammation related to heart disease
- Lower the risk of high blood pressure
- Lower the risk of early death due to heart disease
- Lower unhealthy cholesterol levels, specifically low-density lipoprotein, which can clog arteries.
You are more at risk of blood clots if you:
- Are staying in or recently left hospital – especially if you cannot move around much (like after an operation)
- Are overweight
- Are using combined hormonal contraception such as the combined pill, contraceptive patch or vaginal ring
- Have had a blood clot before
- Are pregnant or have just had a baby
- Have an inflammatory condition such as Crohn’s disease or rheumatoid arthritis.
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