IVC filter? Check. Anticoagulant medication? Check.
With these two preventative measures, you feel safe and secure that you won’t develop a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot that travels to the lungs).
But even an IVC filter and taking a blood thinning prescription drug is no 100% guarantee a pulmonary embolism won’t occur.
This is especially true if you have to take a long flight or need to remain sedentary for long periods of time; or if you choose to be sedentary.
In light of this, you can prevent your chances of developing a clot if you follow some of these tips.
Variety Is The Spice of Life—And Key To Preventing Lung Clots
Perhaps you’re somebody who has had a vena cava filter implanted precisely because blood-thinning medication didn’t work, or you’re not able to take a blood thinner. If this is the case for you, you’ll want to pay attention to the following…
And even if you take a blood thinner, the advice in this next section can potentially mean the difference between dying earlier and living longer.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s take a look at the best herbs and spices that may prevent embolisms….
Within the last decade or so turmeric has emerged from an obscure spice known only to Indian-food-loving-vegetarians to one of the biggest health trends. In fact, turmeric consistently is the top-selling supplement on Amazon.
What makes this golden-yellow exotic spice so nice for lung health? The main active compound in turmeric is curcumin. There have been thousands of studies on curcumin, making it one of the most researched natural ingredients.
What the research on curcumin consistently demonstrates is impressive anti-inflammatory power. Curcumin acts as an anti-coagulant, exerting a beneficial effect on blood platelets, thereby helping to prevent clots. In addition, curcumin has shown anti-thrombotic properties.
In addition to sprinkling turmeric on your lunch or dinner plate (some people even add it to eggs), you can add a dash to coffee or tea.
Your body absorbs turmeric much better with black pepper. So add a dash of black pepper as well.
However, to get the maximum benefits of turmeric, take a daily supplement, which contains far more curcumin than the spice. A turmeric extract supplement may be more beneficial than a curcumin extract.This is because with a turmeric extract, you’re getting all the active compounds, not just curcumin.
Despite the bad breath it leaves, garlic (which is technically not an herb or a spice, it’s a veggie) is another anti-inflammatory natural ingredient that may help prevent a blood clot.
Garlic is rich in sulfur, which is a mineral naturally found in soil, and along with calcium and phosphorous, one of the top three minerals in your body. Eating sulfur-rich foods has been shown to recycle the body’s main internal, natural antioxidant, glutathione (which is typically called “the master antioxidant”), which helps keep the body healthy.
One research study suggests that eating one garlic clove per day may help prevent thrombosis. (The study does not mention if doing so will also repel vampires or your spouse; the latter is likely.) After 26 weeks of eating a clove of garlic every day, the study subjects experienced a 20% reduction of serum cholesterol, and about 80% reduction in serum thromboxane. Thromboxane is a substance made by platelets that causes blood clotting and constricts the blood vessels.
Garlic on the other hand relaxes blood vessels, lowers blood pressure and thins the blood. (If you take a blood-thinning medication, check with your doctor to see if eating garlic is safe.)
Like turmeric, garlic is available as a supplement, if you can’t stomach eating a whole clove of it.
A natural blood thinner, cayenne pepper contains the active ingredient, capsaicin. This is the compound that gives cayenne its kick. If you can stomach the spiciness, cayenne pepper may help prevent clotting due to its potential to help remove fatty deposits from the arteries and improve blood circulation.
(Again, check with your doctor if it’s safe to consume cayenne pepper if taking a blood-thinning medication. Neither turmeric, garlic or cayenne pepper is particularly high in vitamin K; these foods do not appear to counteract blood thinners.)
Move Your Body Without Exercising
But what if you’re on a cross-country flight? It’s neither practical, polite nor sane to consume a garlic clove on an airplane.
Remember, you can take supplements instead of consuming the raw garlic, turmeric and cayenne pepper (capsaicin supplements are available).
Here’s something else you can do if you’re on a long flight, or if you’re confined to a wheelchair, or because of physical limitations, can’t go for long walks….
Make micro movements with your body.
If possible, while seated, pretend you’re walking. Lift one foot off the floor and then the other. It’s like marching in place. For long flights, doing this simple routine for a minute or two once or twice an hour may help prevent DVT (deep vein thrombosis).
Another simple exercise is ankle rotations. Try to move your ankles in the shape of the letters of the alphabet. In addition, knee lifts are an easy movement to perform.
And if you don’t have any physical limitations, make sure that every couple hours, you go for a short walk, even if it’s within your house. You can walk up a flight of stairs a few times. Set a timer on your phone to go off every 2-3 hours to remind you to get up and move.
If you’re on a long flight, get up and go to the bathroom (even if you don’t have to go). Do some stretches in the rear of the cabin (if you’re allowed to these days because of COVID-19 restrictions).
Sock It To Clots With Compression Therapy
Another simple trick for preventing a pulmonary embolism (PE) is wearing compression socks, which help to improve blood circulation.
Natural Ways To Prevent Lung Clots: Conclusion
Taking medication and having an IVC filter shouldn’t lull you into a false sense of security. Eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise is crucial in managing PE.