A protein found in many fruits and vegetables has been shown to prevent blood clots from forming.
The compound called rutin is found in apples, onions, oranges and tea leaves and the findings could help future treatments for stroke, heart attack and deep venous thrombosis.
Heart attacks are caused by a clot blocking one of the main arteries leading into the heart, while strokes are often the result of clots reducing blood flow to the brain.
During the study by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) the team found that a protein is released when blood clots form and that out of 500 different chemicals, rutin was the most effective in blocking this.
"Clots occur in both arteries and in veins. Clots in arteries are platelet-rich, while those in veins are fibrin-rich. This discovery suggests that a single agent can treat and prevent both types of clots," said Professor Robert Flaumenhauft, from Harvard Medical School.
He added that a drug that prevents clots and reduced recurrent clots which is safe and inexpensive to use could save thousands of lives.
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