London: An apple or orange a day can keep blood clots at bay, say researchers.
A team at the Harvard Medical School have found that a chemical, called rutin, found in apples, oranges and onions could prevent blood clot formation in the arteries and veins, the `Daily Mail` reported.
They believe that rutin -- also present in black and green tea -- could be used in future treatments to protect against heart attacks and strokes.
In their study, the researchers found that the chemical helped block a potentially dangerous enzyme involved in the formation of blood clots. This enzyme -- protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) -- is released very quickly when blood clots form in the arteries and veins.
They tested the ability of 500 different chemicals -- including rutin -- to block PDI using scientific models on computers. They found rutin was by far the most effective.
Prof Robert Flaumenhaft, who led the study, said: "Rutin proved to be the most potently anti-thrombotic compound that we ever tested in this model. 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."
He added: "A safe and inexpensive drug that could reduce recurrent clots could help save thousands of lives."
Blood clots, or thromboses, occur in arteries and vein and restrict the flow of blood. If a clot occurs in one of the main arteries leading to heart it causes a heart attack. A clot occurring in an artery leading to the brain causes a stroke.