Rewind to your tenth standard biology textbooks. Platelets are a kind of blood cells, smaller in size when compared to the red and white blood cells. These platelets are an integral part of the body’s cardiovascular system as they aid in clotting of blood. Platelets circulate in the body for about 8 days before they are regenerated to repeat the cycle. Whenever there is a cut or a point of bleeding, these microscopic warriors rush to the site and form plugs in the blood vessel to stop bleeding.
The healthy count of platelets in a normal person ranges from 1.5 lakhs per microliter of blood to 4.5 lakhs per microliter of blood. Anything below that is considered as a low blood platelets situation or thrombocytopenia in medical terminology. Low platelet count can cause several health disorders including hemophilia.
Following is a list of easily available natural foods that can help improve your blood platelet count.
Papaya leaf extract is known to increase blood cells in the body. Take a few papaya leaves and boil in water until half of the water you originally took evaporates. Then strain and drink. Drink about one teaspoon of this juice twice a day to considerably increase platelet count in the body. Excess intake of papaya leaf juice should, however, be avoided as it can spike the platelet count to extremely high level and lead to a headache, dizziness, numbness or tingling sensation in hands and feet, and medical conditions like thrombocythemia or spontaneous and abnormal clotting of blood in the vessels.
2. Indian gooseberries (Amla)
Indian gooseberry rich in vitamin C is one of the oldest remedies to increase blood platelet count. A handful of amla every morning on an empty stomach is strongly advised.
Popeye the Sailor Man swore by it and as it turns out, with very good reason. Along with being a rich source of iron, spinach also contains vitamin K which is absolutely essential for clotting of blood. Consumption of spinach regularly, therefore, guarantees improvement in blood clotting and faster healing of wounds.
Beetroot is known to increase blood platelet count. It often is a part of a prescription for anemia. You can have it in your salad or boil it and have the water. Beetroot juice, extracted by grating and squeezing beetroots, can be used to knead dough. It is especially beneficial for children who need the supplemental boost and would enjoy having red parathas and pooris.
5. Citrus fruits
Vitamin C is extremely valuable in increasing blood platelet count. Citrus fruits that are rich in vitamin C such as oranges, lemon, tangerine and the likes can be consumed often to increase blood platelets. Vitamin C boosts immunity and is vital for keeping dry skin at bay.
6. Pumpkin and carrot
Both these easily available vegetables are rich in vitamin A, which is one of the key nutrients that boosts the number of platelets in blood. Pumpkin juice and pumpkin puree are the most advised modes of consumption as the vitamin A remains intact. If that does not match up to your taste, try a couple of glasses of carrot juice every day. A dash of lime and a pinch of black salt in the juice helps to enhance the taste.
Pomegranate is extremely rich in iron and, consequently, is extremely beneficial in increasing blood platelet count. Have it raw, or have it juiced. Pomegranates, over a period of time, can lower the risk of thrombocytopenia.
8. Lean proteins
Lean proteins such as fish, chicken and turkey are great sources of zinc and vitamin B12. These nutrients are also known to curb thrombocytopenia or low blood platelet count. If you are a vegetarian, don’t forget to take in an extra helping of dal (cooked lentils) or a variant of chana (chickpeas). You can soak the chana overnight and have it raw, add it to your salad or even make a curry out of it.
9. Cod liver oil
Cod liver oil that is rich in omega acids promotes general well-being and boosts the immune system. This considerably lowers the risk of low blood platelets counts. Cod liver oil improves the circulation of blood in the body and helps fight a range of inflammations. But you need to control the intake, lest it starts thinning your blood.
10. Flax seed
Flax seeds, too, contain essential omega acids. Flax seeds are tasteless but you could grind them and mix with smoothies or soup, or simply have flax seed oil.
11. Vitamin B9 rich foods
Vitamin B9 or folate deficiency is linked to reduced blood platelet count. If you are not consuming enough folate, you are at a greater risk of low blood platelets in your body. Pregnant women are repeatedly advised to increase their folate consumption to prevent fetal brain and spinal cord defects. Orange juice, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, chickpeas and lentils are good sources of vitamin B9. Try and consume at least 400 mg of folate daily.
Wheatgrass or Gehu ka Jwara, as it is called in India, is rich in chlorophyll, which strangely has a chemical structure much similar to that of hemoglobin. After all, chlorophyll is the blood of plants. Consuming chlorophyll from wheatgrass can significantly boost production of blood platelets. Drink half a cup of the juice daily for best results.
13. Milk and dairy products
Milk and dairy products such as cheese, cottage cheese, etc are rich in calcium which again can boost production of blood platelets in the body. Calcium deficiency can increase the time your body takes to form clots, especially during excessive bleeding. To make maximum use of the calcium present in milk, do not consume it with sugar.
Almonds, walnuts, pistachios are great sources of essential omega acids which significantly lower the risk of low platelet counts. Add a handful to your salad or have a few in the morning with your breakfast.
Kiwi is another fruit that is rich in vitamin C. Kiwi helps in increasing blood platelet count though the effect may not be instantaneous.
Garlic prevents platelets from sticking together, thus improving the overall health of platelets in general. You can put garlic in your veggies while cooking or you can have a few cloves raw with water on an empty stomach.
Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants. Both these nutrients help in combatting reduced blood platelets in your body. Raw chunks or juice are the best modes of having tomato for this purpose.
Karam ki saag or kale is rich in vitamin K which greatly promotes platelets in the blood. Thus, consumption of these along with your daily vegetables can be expected to help a great deal.
Raisins are fun to munch on. So, next time you snack on some of these, understand that your platelet count is actually going up. Raisins contain iron which boosts production of blood cells.
Dates, too, are quite rich in iron and at the same time delicious to munch on. Throw a few into your fruit bowl every morning for a good dose of platelet boosting nutrients. However, dates and raisins both have a high glycemic index, and, therefore, too much of either is not advisable.
Some of the above natural food items might just be a part of your regular diet. However, if you are planning to chart out a diet routine that feeds tour specific need or condition of low platelets, it is advisable to consult an expert. That way, you can create a diet chart customized for you while you eliminate any side effects.