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Is garlic a natural blood thinner?

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Garlic is possibly a natural blood thinner, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Research also suggests that it helps slow the development of atherosclerosis and prevents high cholesterol and high blood pressure. It boosts the immune system and may help to prevent cancer.

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Because of garlic's anti-clotting properties, people who take blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin, should consume garlic with caution, advises the American Cancer Society. People who are planning to undergo surgical procedures should avoid garlic in the days leading up to their surgery to prevent excessive bleeding.

Side effects of garlic include bad breath and body odor, stomach ache, bloating and loss of appetite, headache, dizziness and muscle aches, notes UMMC. Garlic may reduce the potency of certain medications, including birth control pills. It can increase the risk of bleeding when taken in conjunction with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen.

People can add 2 to 4 grams of fresh garlic to their food each day to enjoy its health benefits, states UMMC. Alternatively, they can take 600 to 1,200 milligrams of aged garlic extract daily, in divided doses.

Fish oil also exhibits anti-clotting capabilities, notes Newsmax Health. This is attributed to its omega-3 fatty acid content, which also lowers cholesterol and prevents clogged arteries. Vitamin E is another blood thinner as well as a powerful antioxidant.

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