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British Heart Foundation: Understanding blood clots

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Many underlying factors can cause clotting, such as your blood vessels stiffening.

Healthy arteries are elastic, which allows blood to easily flow through them after your heart contracts.

But as you age, or because of damage, your blood vessels can become less elastic and start to stiffen. When this happens, blood flows through them less easily and is more likely to clot.

However, according to researchers, beetroot might reduce the stiffness of your arteries.

One study by the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia found that just a shot of beetroot juice can reduce arterial stiffness.

The study also found that nitrate absorption increased nine-fold when people beetroot juice.

Nitrate turns into nitric oxide, a substance that reacts with the cells lining your blood vessels to make your blood vessels dilate and let more blood through.

The study, does prozac help a child focus published in Nutrients, looked at 15 participants between the ages of 60 and 75.

USC Lecturer in Clinical Exercise Physiology Meegan Walker said: “We measured the nitrite in participants’ blood and after the placebo there was no improvement, but the nitrite levels after the beetroot increased nine-fold.

“We know that our risk of developing cardiovascular disease increases with age and one of the reasons for this is the reduction in our body’s ability to access naturally occurring nitric oxide, so it’s good to see such a clear improvement from dietary nitrate.

“Participants only needed one dose to see the effects and it doesn’t need to be beetroot juice, just a good healthy source of nitrate.”

Studies before this one have found similar results. In 2015, a study by Penn State University that looked at the effect of Beetroot juice on young people also found that beetroot juice could “de-stiffen” arteries. However, it’s worth noting that the researchers of this experiment suggested that the effects of beetroot juice might only be noticeable after intense exercise.

At the time, author of the study Professor David Proctor of Penn State said: “It is possible that any blood flow enhancing effect of dietary nitrate will only be apparent during higher intensity and fatiguing work intensities; conditions within the muscle that favor the conversion of nitrite to nitric oxide.”

Drinking beetroot juice is just one of many different ways to improve the health of your blood vessels.

Walker added: “A big green leafy salad does the same thing. The added benefits of fresh vegetables is that they also have the ability to reduce oxidative stress, another problem that increases with age.”

Making sure that you move around regularly and quitting smoking are two other important ways.

Nicotine can reduce the function of the cells lining your blood vessels, reducing their elasticity and making a blood clot more likely.

What to do if you think you’ve got a blood clot?

The NHS recommends seeking advice by calling 111 if you believe you have a blood clot.

The signs of a blood clot include:

  • throbbing or cramping pain, swelling, redness, and warmth in a leg or arm
  • sudden breathlessness, sharp chest pain (may be worse when you breathe in), and a cough or coughing up blood

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