Foods to increase blood platelets

Written by chet carrie
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Foods to increase blood platelets
Platelets are integral to stopping blood loss from wounds. (hand with blood image by Ivonne Wierink from Fotolia.com)

The health condition characterised by a low count of blood platelets --- the cells in blood that form clots to stop bleeding --- is known as thrombocytopenia. Stemming from many physical ailments ranging from folic acid deficiency to post-chemotherapy rehabilitation, this condition can only be countered by boosting the immune system and letting platelets naturally repopulate. As of 2010, no known food exists that directly increases platelet production, though many foods can help the immune system and add blood-beneficial vitamins and minerals to the diet.

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Fish and Nuts

Fish and nuts are healthy dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids that can ease inflammation in the body. This is beneficial for those suffering low platelet counts as anti-inflammatory foods fight swelling in the body, leaving the blood and immune system to do other things such as produce platelets. Omega-3 acids can increase circulation in the body and even lower blood pressure, but their use should be monitored carefully as some fatty acids can actually inhibit blood coagulation without directly affecting platelets.

Foods to increase blood platelets
Fish is high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. (salmon image by cherie from Fotolia.com)

Fruits and Garlic

Vitamin C is an important part of boosting and maintaining a healthy immune system. Found in fruits and veggies, particularly in citrus fruits, this vitamin helps blood vessel development, immune system function and even reduces risk of heart disease. Garlic is another great source of vitamin C, packing 71 per cent of the daily vitamin C intake into one serving. Garlic also functions as an anticoagulant, so those suffering from anaemia or taking blood-thinning medications should be cautious about garlic intake. A healthy immune system means that platelet production won't be hindered while it fights off infections.

Foods to increase blood platelets
Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. (citrus fruit image by Andrzej Włodarczyk from Fotolia.com)

Tomatoes and Berries

Tomatoes, berries and nuts are foods high in antioxidants. Antioxidants boost the suffering immune system by fighting off cellular damage from harmful free radicals (atoms that react with oxygen and damage nearby cells). With enough antioxidants in the body, free radical development is slowed, and the body's immune system can focus on fighting chronic disease development or cellular repair. Vitamin C also displays antioxidant properties as well as the vitamin E found in pumpkin, broccoli and carrots. Boosting the immune system with antioxidants can allow the body to focus on platelet regeneration.

Foods to increase blood platelets
Berries are high in immune-boosting antioxidants. (berries image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com)

Leafy Greens

Another immune-boosting vitamin is found in the dark, leafy green vegetables found in salads and soups. Kale, spinach, broccoli, lettuce and cabbage are all excellent sources of vitamin K, a vitamin that helps promote bone health and, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, is "best known for its role in helping blood clot." Taking antibiotics, undergoing radiation treatment or taking other extreme therapy drugs can kill the bacteria in the intestines that naturally produce vitamin K. Supplementing with leafy greens can reintroduce the vitamin to the body and allow blood formation and clotting to progress normally.

Foods to increase blood platelets
Leafy greens are packed with vitamin K. (head of lettuce image by Aaron Kohr from Fotolia.com)

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