Platelets protect you from losing too much blood when you get a wound. Found in your blood, platelets are irregularly shaped and sticky with no color. When you get injured, they congregate at the site and form a clot to halt bleeding. Thrombocytopenia, or a low blood platelet count, occurs for a variety of reasons, including genetics, medications, alcohol, viruses, pregnancy and diseases. Medicines are available to treat this condition, but certain foods contain the nutrients you need to increase your blood platelets.
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Eat Your Leafy Greens
When you are injured, proteins are activated to start a series of events to clot your blood and stymie the bleeding. These proteins rely upon vitamin K to get the job done. Without this nutrient, you can’t effectively clot blood and halt bleeding. The adequate intake for kale is 120 micrograms a day for men and 90 micrograms for women. One cup of chopped kale contains 547 micrograms. Other sources of vitamin K include other green, leafy vegetables, vegetable oils and parsley. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, there is no known toxicity level of vitamin K; however, speak with your physician if you’re taking medication, such as warfarin, before supplementing with vitamin K.
Milk Does a Body Good
The Franklin Institute recommends consuming foods high in calcium to boost platelets. Calcium, along with vitamin K and the protein fibrinogen, work in tandem to help your platelets form a clot. Without adequate calcium, your body takes longer to stop bleeding. Eat low-fat dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt, along with almonds, broccoli, dried figs and dark green, leafy vegetables,
Get a Dose of Folate
A severe folate deficiency can lead to low platelet counts, according to MedlinePlus. Folate, or vitamin B-9, is required for cell division and growth, which supports increased blood platelets. Adults should strive for 400 micrograms of folate a day. Orange juice is known for its folate content, but fortified cereals, spinach, asparagus, chickpeas, lentils and lima beans also contain this nutrient.
Lean Proteins and Fish
Thunder Bay Regional Health Center recommends a high-protein diet to increase your platelet counts. These foods are also an excellent source of zinc and vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 promotes platelet production, and a deficiency can cause thrombocytopenia. Zinc boosts immunity and, according to the Linus Pauling Institute, a deficiency leads to slow wound healing. Oysters are the best source of zinc, and beef, crab, chicken and turkey also contain high amounts.
Inflammation can inhibit functioning of your stem cells, which produce red and white blood cells and platelets. The Platelet Disorder Support Association recommends following an anti-inflammatory or macrobiotic diet to increase platelet counts. This diet focuses on whole grains, beans and vegetables and reduces animal foods. Avoid aspartame, alcohol and foods containing quinine, such as bitter lemon, bitter melon and tonic water.
- The Franklin Institute: Blood
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: How Is Thrombocytopenia Treated?
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin K
- Linus Pauling Institute: Folic Acid
- Thunder Bay Regional Health: Low Platelet Counts
- The Health Wyze Report: Low Platelet Counts, Thrombocytopenia and Pregnancy
- Linus Pauling Institute: Zinc
- MedlinePlus: Folate Deficiency
- Platelet Disorder Support Association: Food as a Cure