The more you learn about the human body, the more you realise just how incredible it is. Every minor part of our bodies has a function and often works in tandem with other body parts to create a system that ultimately keeps us alive. We’ve been perfectly designed for everything we do, and if any part of this design is altered, we’ll likely suffer for it.
One of the very small things that our bodies couldn’t live without is platelets. You’ve probably heard of them before – the tiny cells found in our blood that bind together when we damage our blood vessels.
An easy example of platelets getting to work is if you were to cut yourself. The damaged blood vessel would send out a signal which would trigger a response from your platelets. They’d kick into action and bind to the damaged blood vessel, creating a clot and putting a stop to the bleeding.
Although we’re all different in the exact number of platelets we have in our blood, generally, the standard platelet count ranges from 150 thousand to 450 thousand platelets per microliter of blood – which is quite a lot! If you’ve been found to have less than 150 thousand in a routine blood test, you’ve most likely been diagnosed with something called thrombocytopenia.
When you don’t have enough platelets in your blood, you might find that you bleed frequently and bruise easily. Thrombocytopenia is usually caused by another illness, disease, or disorder, like cancer, chemotherapy, or a kidney infection. You might also experience a dip in your platelets from drinking too much alcohol or from taking certain medications.
It’s important that you increase your platelet count through medication if you’ve been diagnosed with a serious case of thrombocytopenia. Left untreated, it can lead to severe cases of bleeding, including internal bleeding and bleeding of the brain.As well as treating your condition with medication, you can also take the steps to increase your platelet count naturally. Here are some of the most effective ways to do so through diet alone:
Steps to Increase Platelet Count Naturally
When it comes to raisins, the world is divided – are they delicious, or just horrible mistaken chocolate chips in a cookie? Either way, the high iron content found in raisins make them a great food for naturally increasing your blood platelet count.
Whether you choose to eat raisins as a snack on their own, sprinkled on top of yogurt, or added to your morning oatmeal, you’ll benefit massively from including raisins in your diet.
We’ve respected and appreciated pomegranate for many years now, thanks to its endless range of medicinal properties. The tasty fruit is packed full of nutrients like vitamin C – which is essential for increasing platelet count – as well as minerals like iron, and antioxidants.
These key nutrients are effective in improving the immune system and increasing platelet count as a result. It doesn’t matter how you’re consuming pomegranate – whether raw or in juice form – as long as you take it in regularly, it’ll prove very helpful in maintaining your overall health.
3. Foods Containing Vitamin K
We don’t expect you to know which foods contain vitamin K off the top of your head, but luckily, they’re common enough that you’re probably eating them already. Kale, celery, cabbage, parsley, basil, mustard, okra, spinach, broccoli, and asparagus are all fantastic sources of Vitamin K.
We need vitamin K for a number of reasons, but particularly because it naturally increases platelets and helps with blood clotting, as proven in a number of recent studies.
4. Lean Meats
We simply wouldn’t be able to survive without proteins – our bodies are essentially made up of them, and we need them to keep our muscles, joints, and bones strong. Lean meats like chicken, fish, and turkey are excellent source protein, as well as vitamin B12 and zinc.
We don’t produce vitamin B12 naturally, so it’s essential that we take it in from our diets, especially when a B12 deficiency has been linked to low platelet count. Zinc has been found in studies to improve the functioning of platelets, making it another important nutrient for fighting thrombocytopenia.
Surprise surprise, garlic once again proves that its beneficial health properties are nothing short of endless. It’s been proven to be of the best foods to increase platelets, thanks to its strong antioxidant properties and ability to effectively purify blood and boost platelet count.
One study even found that garlic can prevent cardiovascular disease because of its benefits to the blood. Try to include garlic in your everyday diet, or supplement with garlic extract for the best results.
6. Cod Liver and Flaxseed Oil
We all know that some oils aren’t the best for our diets, but you can never go wrong with cod liver oil or flaxseed oil. The two have been found to boost the immune system and stop the body from becoming confused and attacking its own platelets – which happens more than you’d imagine.
Take your pick – consuming any one of these oils on a daily basis can help increase platelets and reduce the effects of a number of autoimmune diseases. They’ve also been found to reduce inflammation in the body, which in turn improves blood circulation. You can purchase code liver oil and flaxseed oil here.
Wheatgrass is a lesser-known food that’s really worth introducing to your diet for a number of health-related purposes. The thin leaves, which essentially do look just like lawn clippings, are some of the most impressive diet foods for naturally increasing platelets.
Because wheatgrass contains a high amount of chlorophyll, it can increase our haemoglobin, red blood cell, white blood cell, and thrombocyte levels gradually. The best way to benefit from wheatgrass is to drink a cup of wheatgrass juice every morning.
8. Food Rich in Folate (Vitamin B9)
Vitamin B9, otherwise known as folate, is incredibly proficient in DNA synthesis and repair, as well as promoting healthy cell division and growth, and good brain functioning. Find yourself deficient of B9 and you might experience a decline in blood platelet count as a direct result.
You want to make sure you’re taking in a plentiful dose of vitamin B9, which you’ll be able to find in the more folate-rich foods like asparagus, spinach, orange juice, and beans. Some cereals are also fortified with vitamin B9, so it’s worth reading the label of your favourite brand to check.
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9. Indian gooseberry
Onto another little-known and underappreciated health food: Indian gooseberry. Otherwise known as amla, Indian gooseberry is a great source of vitamin C, which we already know to be essential for maintaining a normal platelet count.
Indian gooseberry also helps to boost your immune system, which is directly linked to platelet functioning. Try to eat two or three amla fruits daily, or, if you can’t find them in your local food store, purchase them in supplement form.
If you haven’t jumped on the spinach trend yet, it might be about time you gave this leafy green some of your time, because it’s proven to be one of the best foods for thrombocytopenia treatment. Because it’s rich in vitamin K, spinach helps to raise blood platelets and encourage proper blood clotting.
It’s thought that by consuming spinach every day, you’ll be able to witness a natural day-by-day increase in your platelet count. As a side benefit, spinach can also help you maintain overall health, as well as improving the appearance of your skin and hair.
11. Vitamin A
Vitamin A, a nutrient most of us probably associate with carrots, is another one that’s essential for the production of healthy platelets and protein in the body. Our cells grow and divide more effectively with the help of protein, which is what we need for the most efficient functioning platelet cells.
If carrots aren’t your thing, there are other vitamin A rich foods that are worth including in your diet for increased platelet production, including kale, pumpkin, and sweet potato. You can purchase Vitamin A supplement here
12. Kiwi fruit
Out of all the fruits, alongside Indian gooseberry, kiwi is one of the best for naturally increasing blood platelet count. You can find plenty of vitamin C, vitamin E, and polyphenols in kiwi, all of which take an active role in promoting a normal platelet count in the blood.
Not only that, but the vitamin B6 found in kiwi has been proven to boost the immune system and prevent diseases that may lead to thrombocytopenia. Get into the habit of eating a kiwi fruit every day, or if you’re not a fan of the texture, drink kiwi fruit juice instead.
13. Vitamin C
We’ve already mentioned some vitamin C foods which can increase platelet count from a low range to a normal range, and really, any food that’s high in vitamin C is a winner. Thanks to their high antioxidant contents, foods containing vitamin C have proven in multiple studies to prevent free radical damage to blood platelets, helping cells to maintain their structure and function.
If you don’t think you include enough vitamin C in your diet, start simple and drink a glass of orange juice every morning. You can also find vitamin C in potatoes, tomatoes, and many green vegetables. You can purchase vitamin c supplements here.
14. Papaya Leaves
If you’ve experienced a sudden dip in your platelet count, there’s some evidence to suggest that papaya leaves are incredibly effective at bringing you back up to normal again. Papaya leaf extract in particular is a popular home remedy, thanks to its ability to naturally boost platelet count and enhance overall blood production in the body.
Give the home remedy a go yourself and boil papaya leaves in water, then remove the leaves, leave to cool, and drink the “tea” that remains. Try to drink it twice a day for the best results.
What to avoid…
Now that we’ve shared the foods to eat to improve your platelet count, it’s worth focusing for a second on the ones that you should avoid. Some dietary staples are capable of decreasing your platelet count – and they’re not the typical unhealthy foods you’d expect.
Watch out for alcohol, tonic water, cranberry juice, and milk, as all of these have been linked to a low platelet count. It’s important to say that no foods are capable of massively reducing platelet count, but it’s worth knowing that they can contribute in some way.
Now that you know of the best ways to increase your platelet count naturally, it’s time to take action. Not everyone with thrombocytopenia will have to treat the disorder with medication, and it may be that taking the appropriate natural steps will be enough to prevent your condition from worsening.
It’s also important to fix the underlying cause of your low platelet count. Combining the above steps with targeted treatment is the easiest way to get you back to peak health and prevent thrombocytopenia from negatively impacting your life.