What are the foods to eat on blood thinners?

Blood thinners, also known as anticoagulants, are medications that help prevent blood clots from forming and growing larger. They are commonly prescribed for people at risk for developing blood clots, such as those with atrial fibrillation, prosthetic heart valves, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or pulmonary embolism. While on blood thinners, it is important to watch your diet and make healthy food choices. Certain foods can interact with blood thinners and affect how well they work. Following a balanced diet can help ensure you get the full benefits of anticoagulant medications.

Why do you need to watch your diet with blood thinners?

There are a few reasons why people on blood thinners need to pay attention to their dietary intake:

  • Certain foods and supplements can interact with blood thinners and strengthen or weaken their effects. This can increase the risk of blood clots or bleeding complications.
  • Some foods are high in vitamin K, which plays a key role in blood clotting. Consuming too much vitamin K can reduce the effectiveness of some blood thinners.
  • Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet provides your body with adequate nutrition to support healing and recovery. Poor nutrition can lead to unstable anticoagulation control.
  • Dehydration or drastic fluctuations in fluid intake can concentrate the blood and alter the effects of blood thinners.

By being mindful of your diet, staying properly hydrated, and limiting intake of foods that interact with blood thinners, you can help ensure these medications are working optimally.

Foods to eat on blood thinners

Here are some of the top foods that are beneficial to eat while taking blood thinners:

Leafy greens

Leafy greens like spinach, kale, lettuce, collard greens, and broccoli are nutritious additions to an anticoagulant diet. They provide vitamins K1, A, C, iron, and fiber. Vitamin K1 differs from K2 and is not known to interfere with blood thinners. These greens offer health-promoting antioxidants and phytochemicals as well.


Most fruits are safe and recommended on blood thinners. Citrus fruits, berries, apples, melons, and bananas provide antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Limit grapefruit, as it can interact with some anticoagulants.


Vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms are packed with vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds. They make healthy side dishes or additions to main meals.

Whole grains

Choose whole grain varieties of bread, cereal, pasta, rice, and crackers. Whole grains provide B vitamins, iron, fiber, and protein compared to refined grains. Look for “100% whole wheat” or “100% whole grain” on the label.


Legumes like beans, peas, and lentils are excellent plant-based proteins. They also contain iron, potassium, magnesium, and soluble fiber. Bean dips, soups, stews, and chilis are tasty ways to eat legumes.

Low-fat dairy

Dairy foods like milk, yogurt, and cheese are good sources of protein and calcium. Opt for low-fat or nonfat versions to limit saturated fat intake, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

Lean poultry

Skinless chicken and turkey provide lean protein, B vitamins, selenium, and zinc. For safety, cook poultry to an internal temperature of 165°F.

Fish and seafood

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and herring are excellent sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fats. Shellfish offer lean protein, iron, selenium, and zinc as well. Limit high-mercury fish like tilefish, swordfish, shark, and king mackerel.

Vegetable oils

Use olive, canola, sunflower, safflower, and soybean oils in cooking or salad dressings. These unsaturated oils can help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol and blood pressure.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds make handy, nutrient-dense snacks. They provide healthy fats, plant protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Portion control is advised since they are high in calories.

Herbs and spices

Flavor foods with fresh or dried herbs like basil, oregano, thyme, cilantro, parsley, and dill. Spices like garlic, ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon add flavor without added salt or calories. Use caution with ginger and garlic in large amounts, as they can mildly inhibit coagulation.

Foods to avoid or limit on blood thinners

It is best to avoid or limit the following foods when taking anticoagulants:

Leafy greens high in vitamin K

Leafy greens that contain high amounts of vitamin K1 should be limited to 1-2 servings per day. These include spinach, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, beet greens, Brussels sprouts, and parsley.

Supplements with vitamin K

Avoid supplements containing vitamin K, like vitamin K1 and K2. Also use caution with multivitamins, as they usually contain vitamin K.

Green tea

While green tea is otherwise healthy, the vitamin K content can potentially interfere with anticoagulation control. Limit to 1 cup per day.


Grapefruit can interact with some blood thinners and increase their blood levels. Avoid or limit grapefruit and its juice unless approved by your doctor.


Heavy alcohol intake can damage the liver, causing difficulties with metabolizing blood thinners. Limit intake to moderate levels of 1 drink per day for women and 1-2 for men.

Cranberry products

Cranberry juice and supplements contain a compound that can enhance blood thinner effects. Use caution and limit cranberry products to occasional use.

Fish oils and omega-3s

Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fats that can increase bleeding risks with high doses. Limit supplemental omega-3s to less than 3 grams per day.

Foods that can change anticoagulant levels

Certain foods can interact with enzymes involved in metabolizing some blood thinners. This can increase or decrease blood levels of the anticoagulant. It’s important to keep your intake of these foods stable.

Vitamin K-rich foods

Foods high in vitamin K can lower the effects of warfarin (Coumadin). Avoid sudden increases or decreases in foods like leafy greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, parsley, soybean oil, green tea, and canola oil.

Cruciferous vegetables

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale can affect levels of the blood thinner edoxaban (Savaysa). Keep your intake consistent.


Grapefruit and its juice can increase levels of dabigatran (Pradaxa) and rivaroxaban (Xarelto), raising bleeding risks. Avoid large amounts.


Pomelo and its juice can interact with warfarin (Coumadin) and increase anticoagulation. Limit intake or avoid pomelo.

Sample meal plan for blood thinners

Here is a one day sample meal plan with foods appropriate for someone taking anticoagulants:

Meal Foods
Breakfast Oatmeal made with low-fat milk, mixed berries, walnuts
Hard boiled egg
Lunch Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, avocado
Carrot sticks
Dinner Baked salmon
Brown rice
Steamed broccoli
Tossed salad with balsamic vinaigrette
Snacks Low-fat yogurt
Sliced bell pepper with hummus
A handful of almonds

Tips for eating well on blood thinners

Here are some additional diet tips to keep in mind while taking anticoagulant medications:

  • Eat a balanced diet focused on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils.
  • Limit processed foods which can be high in sodium and low in nutrients.
  • Stay adequately hydrated by drinking 6-8 glasses of fluids daily.
  • Avoid alcohol or limit intake to moderate levels.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight since obesity is a risk factor for blood clots.
  • Keep your vitamin K intake consistent from day to day rather than having wide fluctuations.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about safe intake levels of vitamin K, green tea, cranberry products, and fish oils.
  • Read product labels and avoid supplements that contain vitamin K, garlic, ginkgo, ginger, ginseng, feverfew, and dong quai.
  • Inform your healthcare providers about all medications and supplements you take to prevent interactions.
  • Have your anticoagulation status monitored closely with PT/INR blood tests.

The importance of talking to your doctor

It’s essential to discuss your diet with your doctor when taking blood thinners. Every medication is different, and your doctor can provide personalized guidance on safe dietary habits for your specific health condition and anticoagulant regimen. Together you can determine appropriate intake levels for vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, zinc, cranberries, grapefruit, ginger, garlic, fish oil, alcohol and other dietary considerations. Your doctor may recommend working with a registered dietitian nutritionist to help you develop a nutritious diet that optimizes the effectiveness and safety of your anticoagulant medication.


Following a healthy balanced diet is important while taking medications that thin the blood. Focus on eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, nuts and healthy oils. Limit intake of processed foods, saturated fats, salt and added sugars. Avoid sudden increases in foods high in vitamin K, which can decrease the effectiveness of some anticoagulants. Be cautious with supplements and alcohol intake as well. Speak with your doctor to learn your specific dietary recommendations while on blood thinners. With some simple modifications, you can eat nutritious foods that support your health condition and anticoagulant treatment plan.

1 thought on “What are the foods to eat on blood thinners?”

  1. Had valve replacement in Feb last year and gall bladder removal in October, I’m a 51year old female on warfrin. Which is the best diet for someone who has these conditions.
    A month ago I was admitted in hospital because of blood clots. Help please. I’m not sure what to eat


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