Platelets form a very crucial part of the human blood.
They are mainly responsible for tissue repair, blood clotting and wound healing purposes.
These cells are not visible to the naked eye and can be seen only under microscopes.
The platelet cells appear to be in the form of small plates in their non-active form.
In case of any injury, these platelets bind to the site of the damaged vessel and form a clot at the site of injury to stop further bleeding.
Hence it is very important to maintain a normal platelet count.
It is very important to keep a track of the platelet counts because low platelets can often lead to easy bruising, frequent bleeding of gums, nose and GI tract, whereas too many platelets can lead to blood clotting which is often linked to cardiovascular risk.
A normal platelet count ranges from 150,000 to 450,000 per micro liter of blood.
Having more than 450,000 platelets leads to a condition known as thrombocytosis
However, having less than 150,000 platelets leads to a condition known as thrombocytopenia.
How can we increase the platelets?
A healthy diet plays a very important role in maintaining overall well-being.
Slightly low platelet count may not always need medical attention and can be solved by improving the quality of diet.
There are certain foods that help increase the platelet counts.
Foods rich in folate, vitamin B 12, vitamin C, D, K and iron are known to increase the platelet counts.
1. Papaya leaf
Bitter but effective, the Papaya leaf has many flavonoids, alkaloid, phenol’s, anti-oxidants, free radical scavenging activity and helps stabilize RBCs. Hence, this will help to stabilize the platelet count.
As per a study, the oral administration of papaya leaf extract was associated with an early rise in platelet count even as early as 24 hours.
2. Wheat grass
In a study published in the International Journal of Universal Pharmacy and Life Sciences, 2011 edition, stated that wheat grass was proven to be beneficial in increasing the platelet count.
This is because it is rich in chlorophyll and has a similar molecular structure like hemoglobin.
Drinking half a cup of wheat grass daily with few drops of lime daily can considerable increase platelet counts.
The small red seeds of pomegranate are filled with anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting properties.
Also, certain scientific researches have confirmed that pomegranate is effective in increasing the platelet counts and also prevent the risk of certain diseases too.
You can add it as a fruit or add on salad toppings or to smoothies and breakfast bowl.
Pumpkin is a good source of vitamin A and also helps in increasing the platelets and regulate the proteins produced by the cell. The regulation of protein is crucial to increase the platelets count in the blood.
To reap the benefits one can have pumpkin juice or add pumpkin to smoothies, stews, soups or have it like a puree along with a salad.
5. Vitamin C rich foods
Food such as orange, lemon, kiwi, bell peppers, spinach and broccoli are a rich source of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant and a high dose of this vitamin prevents the free radical damage caused to the platelets.
Have it as a snack in between meals or add it to the salads.
Raisins are a good source of iron helps to increase RBC and platelet counts. Anemia and low platelet counts are linked to low iron levels hence including raisins can help improve the platelet levels.
Top it on the yogurt or add it to the trail mix and enjoy it.
7. Brussel sprouts
Brussel sprouts are not great in taste but their health benefits make it a must to include in the diet. These are a great source of vitamin K and have the potential to increase the platelet count. Vitamin. K deficiency can cause continuous bleeding, including vitamin k rich foods like Brussel sprouts, which can help prevent this.
Grilled and well-seasoned Brussel sprouts are the best. But you can also blanch and add them to your salad bowls
Beetroots are often recommended for anemic patients.
According to studies, 1 bowl of carrot and beet, twice a week can help improve platelet counts.
You can add them to salads, soups or have it in the form of juice to enjoy the benefits.
9. Amla / Indian gooseberry
Amla is a rich source of vitamin C, antioxidants, helps boost the immune system and helps prevent all the health conditions which lead to low platelet count.
You can have a 3-4 gooseberry empty stomach in the morning or have it in the form of juice or pickles.
10. Leafy greens
Leafy greens such as spinach, kale and fenugreek leaves are a good source of vitamin K. Hence it’s a good idea making them a part of your diet when your platelet counts have hit the bottom.
Add these greens to your salads and smoothies or steam/ blanch it and make it a part of your daily diet.
Apart from these, lean proteins, fish oil, sesame oil, B-12 rich foods like eggs, chicken, fish and milk will also help for the same.
Staying hydrated is of utmost importance.
Besides containing proteins, sugar, and fats, blood plasma in which your platelets are found also contains around 92% water.
All these sources altogether will help increase the platelet count.
Also, when including these foods in diet one must make sure that they are avoiding a list of things that can interfere with improving the platelet count.
What you must AVOID
- Alcohol: People who are heavy drinkers and have a low platelet count must avoid alcohol as it interferes with platelet formation.
- Aspartame (a type of artificial sweetener)
- Quinine (mostly found in tonic waters)
If your platelet count is slightly or severely low, don't forget to consult a nutritionist or a doctor before finalizing your diet.