You may have an abnormally low number of platelets in your blood if your bone marrow doesn’t produce enough or if you have an increased breakdown of blood platelets in your bloodstream, spleen or liver, according to MedlinePlus. Because platelets help clot your blood, you are susceptible to problems such as bruising, nosebleeds, gum bleeds and rashes when you don’t have enough platelets. Extra treatment may be needed in some cases, but you may also boost your platelet count by adapting your diet.
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Vitamin K Needs
Your body needs vitamin K to help several blood clotting proteins function properly, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Your body stores very little vitamin K and if you don’t eat it regularly your body will lose it rapidly. Kids need at least 30 to 60 micrograms of vitamin K per day, teens need at least 75 micrograms per day and adults19 and over need about 90 to 120 micrograms. A 1-cup serving of kale offers 547 micrograms of vitamin K, 1 cup of chopped broccoli offers 220 micrograms and 1 tablespoon of soybean oil contains 25 micrograms.
Calcium is also a necessary component of the blood clotting reaction, according to an article from Hypertexts for Biomedical Sciences on the Colorado State University website. Your body doesn’t make calcium on its own, so eating the right amount of calcium-rich foods is crucial. If you are under 50, aim for about 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. If you are over 50, aim for about 1,200 milligrams. An 8 ounce serving of low-fat yogurt contains about 345 to 452 milligrams of calcium, 3 ounces of sardines contain about 325 milligrams, ½ cup of soybeans contains about 130 milligrams and 1 cup of cooked collard greens contains about 266 milligrams, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Eat calcium--rich foods throughout the day and get enough vitamin D through foods and sunlight to enhance your calcium absorption.
You will get the most blood clotting benefits out of your meals if you also consider the quality of your foods. The Platelet Disorder Support Association recommends eating as many leafy green vegetables as you can to get the right level of calcium and vitamin K, but it also suggests eating fresh food that is as close to its source as possible to ensure that you get as many nutrients as possible. It also recommends only eating unsprayed foods that have been grown with natural fertilizers, as certain herbicides and pesticides may lower platelet levels.
What to Avoid
Because alcohol slows down your body’s ability to produce platelets, you should eliminate alcohol from your diet or drink it in moderate amounts, recommends the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. A moderate amount of alcohol is about one drink per day for a woman or two per day for a man. Foods such as ginger, onions, garlic, tomatoes, red and purple grape products may also interfere with your body’s ability to clot blood, according to the Platelet Disorder Support Association. Also avoid quinine, an alkaloid in certain tonic waters, to reduce your risk of losing too many platelets.