Platelets are one of three types of cells contained in our blood. They often don’t garner as much attention as the other two (red blood cells and white blood cells), but we’re here to make a case for them. Platelets (thrombocytes) are colorless blood cells that help blood clot. Platelets stop bleeding by clumping and forming plugs in blood vessel injuries.
Manufactured in the bone marrow along with the red and white blood cells, platelets are the smallest of the three. They resemble the shape of small plates under a microscope (hence the name), with no color, and boasting sticky properties.
Platelets are mostly known for helping in blood clotting, but inside the body, these smalls cells are always working behind the scenes.
Based on our lifestyle, they can morph from smooth to sticky or the other way around. This happens perpetually, and can result to thickening or thinning of the blood.
Ideally, what we want is to keep the platelets smooth so as to avoid thickening of the blood which can cause dangerous clots inside the body, consequently leading to serious health complications.
As well, the platelet count needs to be always at an optimum – neither high nor low – as an abnormal platelet count can have health implications.
A healthy platelet count is between 150,000-450,000 platelets per microliter of blood.
You can tell if you have a low platelet count by experiencing symptoms such as extended bleeding from cuts, involuntary bleeding from nose or gums, excessive bruising or blood in urine or stools.
A low platelet count may also cause feelings of fatigue, weakness and malaise, while women may suffer from heavy menstrual flow.
Good thing is, anyone looking to increase platelet count can do so through simple lifestyle changes.
These changes involve ditching processed and packed foods in favor of more home-cooked food.
But all foods are not equal, and you particularly want to focus on foods rich in vitamins as these are known to increase platelets best.
Minerals such as iron and zinc are also known to increase platelets significantly, as do amino acids and other essential nutrients.
As far as remedies go, natural is always the best way to go.
Papaya leaf extract is a particularly potent herbal remedy that has been effectively used for centuries to boost platelets in individuals with low platelet count, as well as other conditions known to be causes of low platelet count.
The aim of this post is to serve you the best foods to increase platelet count, so without much ado, let’s dive into it.
As far as foods to increase platelets go, you can’t do better than papaya. The beauty of it is the versatility it offers. For one, ripe papaya fruit itself is a great way to increase platelets. But the carica papaya leaf, as we just alluded to, also makes for a great concoction that is equally, if not more powerful, at boosting platelet count. There are two ways to go about this;
You could prepare papaya leaf tea by boiling the papaya leaves, and consuming two tablespoons of this extract twice a day.
Alternatively, take a few papaya leaves (minus the stalk) and crush them with a pestle and mortar. Drink two tablespoons of this bitter juice twice a day. If this all sounds like much, or if accessing fresh papaya leaves is a hustle for you, you can always opt to buy papaya leaf extract to increase platelets. Herbal Papaya's non GMO and Organic Papaya Leaf Supplements is consistently rated for its effectiveness at helping raise platelet levels.
Pomegranate is another great fruit you can eat to increase platelets. As with all red fruits, the seeds of this delicious fruit are packed with iron, an essential mineral for combating low platelet count. Pomegranate has been used since the ancient times for its healthy and medicinal properties. It is also rich in minerals, antioxidants and vitamin C which is a well-known immune system booster.
Keeping up with the ‘P’ theme, pumpkin is another food known to spike platelet count levels. As with its orange cousin, the papaya, pumpkin is loaded with vitamin A which helps to support proper platelet development and regulation of proteins made by our body cells.
4. Vitamin A-rich foods
Vitamin A is essential for the synthesis of healthy platelets and protein in the body. Make it a point to consume foods rich in vitamin A on a regular as they help to sustain normal body functioning.
Foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes and kale will boost your platelet count, in addition to providing a host of other health benefits.
5. Folate-rich foods
Folate, aka vitamin B9, is essential for cell growth and reproduction, and its deficiency in the body could lead to a reduction in blood platelets. A healthy adult should, on average, be consuming at least 400 mg of folate each day. Examples of foods rich in folate are oranges, spinach, asparagus, beans, raisins and fortified cereals.
6. Vitamin K-rich foods
Blood clotting would not be possible without vitamin K as it is responsible for activating proteins to stimulate blood clot formation. This is why you need to consume foods rich in vitamin K when your platelet levels drop. Leafy greens like spinach, lettuce and parsley are an excellent source of this vitamin, so you need to make them a regular feature in your diet. Kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Swiss chard, seaweeds, olive, soybean and eggs will also work your vitamin K levels a treat.
Wheatgrass has been found to be an amazingly effective remedy for low platelet count, with amazing nutritional and medicinal value to boot. This is attributed to its high levels of chlorophyll whose molecular structure bears close semblance to the hemoglobin molecule in human blood. Then again, chlorophyll is just another name for the blood of plants, only that we cannot really refer to it as such. Wheatgrass will boost more than just your platelet count. Regular consumption of the juice from this super plant been found to significantly bump up the levels of red and white blood cells, differential white blood cell count, as well as hemoglobin itself. Just half a cup will do. To add some zing, you can squeeze a few lemon drops into it.
If there was ever a single food that boasts just about every nutrient out there – bar iron – it is fresh milk. That’s right – fresh milk!. Milk is bursting with calcium, a mineral that works in cahoots with vitamin K and fibrinogen (a milk protein) to increase platelets and improve blood’s ability to form clots. In addition to fresh milk, incorporating other milk products such as yoghurt, cheese and organic dairy products is sure to keep your calcium levels at an optimum.
9. Lean proteins
Lean proteins are an excellent source of vitamin B-12 and zinc, both of which play a key role in the reversal of low platelet count conditions. For maximum benefit, include in your diet lean meat like beef, turkey, chicken and fish. Oysters and crab are also known for their generous content of zinc. Speaking of fish, for all its benefits, Omega 3 has been shown to inhibit platelet activation in the blood so it’s best to steer clear of fish oil when you want to increase blood platelets, save for maybe cod liver oil.
Make it a habit to consume these rich foods. In addition to playing a key role in the increase of platelets, the benefits you stand to reap from them are massive.
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