Diets for a low platelet count

Written by ts jordan
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The treatment for some conditions, such as cancer, can result in the unwanted side effect of lowering your overall platelet count. Your attending physician should be monitoring your platelet count at all times during the course of treatment, and if it dips too low he may recommend a low-platelet count diet. Altering your macronutrient intake can help your body to bounce back, restoring your platelet count to normal levels.

Low Platelet Count

The medical term for a low-level of platelets is thrombocytopenia, which is commonly caused by chemo or radiation therapy. While a normal platelet count might range from 150,000 to 450,000 units per cubic millimetre of blood, individuals with thrombocytopenia could have a platelet count as low as 10,000 units per cubic mm. Symptoms of thrombocytopenia include bruising easily, random nosebleeds, bloody gums or blood in your urine or stool.

Thrombocytopenia and Diet

Adherence to a specific diet can help combat the symptoms of thrombocytopenia. An ideal diet for thrombocytopenia will be high in protein, as excess protein intake can help your body to naturally manufacture additional platelets. Beyond that, a diet to combat thrombocytopenia will be high in iron, as iron is stored primarily in the blood and your low-platelet count might leave you otherwise deficient.

Protein Needs

Protein needs vary depending on activity level, but generally speaking you should look to consume between 0.8g and 1.0g of protein per pound of body weight while on a diet to combat thrombocytopenia. Ideally, your protein intake will be equally spaced throughout the day. Thus, if you weigh 77.1 Kilogram--requiring between 136 and 170 grams of protein per day--and are planning on eating four meals a day, you should aim to consume anywhere from 34 to 43 grams of protein per meal.

Sample Meals

Quality protein sources include lean meats, seafood and eggs. Thus, a sample meal for your high-protein diet could include 170gr of chicken (containing roughly 35g of protein) alongside a garden salad with balsamic dressing and a cup of broccoli with olive oil. This is a fairly balanced meal containing ample amounts of protein, fibre, and nutrients, along with some healthy unsaturated fats from the olive oil.

Other Considerations

According to the professionals at, aside from looking to maximise protein intake you should also be looking to keep your diet as well-rounded as possible. To do this, each meal should contain a protein source, a fruit or vegetable and some healthy fats. Beyond this, make sure to eat a few servings of whole grains each day to keep your intake of fibre reasonably high, and consume at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day to keep your body hydrated.

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