Having a low number of platelets is usually a sign of an underlying condition. However, there are many foods that can counteract this.
Note: However, it is not necessarily an indicator of a serious disorder. In many cases, it’s just an indication of a nutritional vitamin or mineral deficiency that you may not be aware of.
If you want to improve your diet and replenish your body with the nutrients it needs, we offer you a list of foods whose benefits will help you increase the number of platelets.
What are platelets and what is their function?
The thrombocyte or platelet is the type of cell that predominates in our bloodstream.
Note: Thrombocytes are born from megakaryocytes; large cells that, when broken, form hundreds of smaller thrombocytes that circulate freely through our blood vessels.
Once formed, the thrombocyte has an average life of 7-10 days.
The function of thrombocytes is coagulation; the process of repairing the walls of blood vessels after injury, stopping bleeding.
Note: The walls of the arteries are under constant stress from the rapid passage of blood on a daily basis, but the thrombocytes are responsible for keeping the integrity of the wall intact.
Within the wall of a blood vessel are molecules that are released when the wall is breached or injured.
The surface of the platelets detects them and they stick to the injured area (a process called platelet aggregation).
The adhered platelets are activated and recruit a greater number of thrombocytes, forming a lattice of these. The union of all these platelets is known as a thrombus.
Important: The normal platelet count for a healthy adult male is 135,000-317,000 thousand per microliter of blood. For a healthy adult woman, it is 157,000-371,000 thousand.
Foods to raise platelets
Spinach is loaded with benefits such as vitamins , minerals, and omega-3s.
The vitamin K in spinach favors the formation of new platelets, since it is used as a metabolite during their formation. A single cup of spinach (30 g) offers 181% of the daily needs for it.
Over the decades, biomedical journals such as Food Nutritional Research and the Annual Review of Nutrition have shown that vitamin K is a procoagulant and platelet-stimulating factor (1) .
Vitamin C is also an important nutrient of an anti-inflammatory nature, involved in healing and stops bleeding, since it stimulates the elevation of the platelet count.
To highlight: A cup of spinach (30 g) contains 41.6 mg of omega-3, the latter consisting of alpha linoleic acid, favorable for the formation of platelets.
Orange is abundant in vitamin C and contains a modest amount of folic acid.
To highlight: Vitamin C is, above all, a powerful antioxidant. Studies have verified that high levels of oxidative stress (caused by free radicals) affect the function and production of platelets.
Diets rich in antioxidants favor cell defense against free radicals, maintaining an adequate platelet level.
Vitamin C works by forming a molecule called adenosine diphosphate (ADP). ADP is used by platelets and other blood cells in order to mature and complete their functions.
Folic acid also promotes cell division and maturation at the bone marrow level for the production of megakaryocytes.
The benefits of the orange can be acquired either through the consumption of the whole fruit or natural extracts of the orange juice.
Among the different causes that lead to thrombocytopenia, iron deficiency is among them.
To highlight: Studies carried out by researchers from the area of hematology and oncology at the University of Tennessee demonstrated an association between iron deficiency in anemic patients and thrombocytopenia. After administration of iron-containing food for two weeks, her platelets rose (2) .
The bone marrow uses iron for both the production of red blood cells and megakaryocytes. As iron levels decrease, competition occurs between both types of cells to obtain the little circulating iron.
Red blood cells have a higher affinity for iron than the megakaryocyte. The latter, devoid of iron, cannot fully mature and produce new platelets.
Carrots provide the body with beta carotenes, which increase platelet function.
Contains vitamin A. This metabolite promotes cell growth and replication . In states of platelet deficiency, vulnerability and bleeding are more likely to occur.
Note: Keeping defenses high is also essential to keep your platelets at normal levels and vitamin A is an important ally for this.
Carrots also act as an anti – inflammatory and enhancer for immune cells, which use it to generate the necessary energy to eliminate infectious microorganisms.
Infections can cause thrombocytopenia. Sepsis is the most serious state of an infection that can compromise your entire body, it is also capable of lowering platelet levels.
The decrease in these levels increases the risk of bleeding, which worsens the conditions of people already compromised. Studies by the Journal of Nutrition demonstrated a very suggestive association between vitamin deficiency and proclivity to respiratory tract infections (3) .
To avoid this, consuming vitamin A, an adjuvant for immune and platelet function, is highly beneficial.
5. Red peppers
Another food loaded with vitamin C is red bell pepper. 100 g of red pepper contains 97% of the daily needs of the aforementioned vitamin.
Vitamin C is transported and deposited inside the platelets, increasing their rigidity and their lifespan. Dysfunctional platelet production can be a cause of thrombocytopenia.
Vitamin C, in addition to being a well-known anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, fulfills other functions: it participates in the coagulation process as a very important metabolite.
Note: Among other benefits of red pepper we have: vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin E. To a lesser extent, it contains vitamin K, iron, zinc and magnesium.
The consumption of coconut exerts an effect on the level of platelets due to the content of its nutritional value. Among these, there is, in a modest proportion, vitamin C. In even smaller proportions, vitamin E.
To highlight: Studies published by the International Antioxidant Research Center in London and the World Journal of Critical Care Medicine in the US show that ascorbic acid, a component of vitamin C, plays an important role in platelet functions (4) .
Among the benefits of coconut is that it offers a certain percentage of amino acids that are metabolized by our body and indirectly favor platelet function. Among these are methionine and cysteine.
Note: 100g of coconut meat offers a modest amount of minerals such as iron and magnesium , which work synergistically to be used by our bodies.
Beans are foods loaded with iron, an essential mineral in the production of platelets.
Studies, such as the one published by the Department of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology at the University of Chicago , report the coexistence of an anemic state and a low platelet count (5) .
Iron is used by multiple proteins at the cellular level to carry out their functions. During the cycle of formation of new platelets, thrombopoietin is the main growth factor involved.
Thrombopoietin requires iron to perform its functions. Without it, each of the steps in megakaryocyte maturation is disrupted and the final product (platelets) is reduced.
To highlight: The nutritional deficiency of iron leads to a type of anemia. This, in turn, indirectly induces a decrease in platelets. Therefore, the consumption of beans is recommended to raise the levels of iron available to our body.
Among the different types of beans that offer the greatest amount of iron, lentils stand out. Each cup of lentils, cooked, offers us 6.6 mg of iron. In addition, they offer folic acid, carbohydrates, fiber and more.
Just behind them are white, red, and black beans that contain between 4.4-6.6 mg of iron.
Walnuts or peanuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) that contain a high number of alpha linoleic acid and arachidonic acid.
These fatty acids play a role in the formation and regulation of new platelets. The platelet surface is made up of different types of fatty acids, including polyunsaturated ones.
Note: Platelets activated during bleeding stimulate the enzymatic release of polyunsaturated fatty acids which, for still partially unknown reasons, favor platelet aggregation in the wound.
Studies published by the Department of Pharmacology and Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan show that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids have a direct effect on platelet levels (6) .
Control over the circulating platelet count is associated with a reduction in inflammatory or cardiovascular diseases.
The egg is a food loaded with multiple nutrients.
The egg contains fatty acids, essential amino acids, proteins, vitamin D and, especially, vitamin B12. Fatty acids are used for the assembly of the megakaryocyte membrane, during its formation.
Amino acids and proteins act as tools to execute its basic functions.
Vitamin D favors the absorption of iron at the intestinal level, consumed in the diet. The latter also traps iron and favors its transport in the bloodstream to the tissues where it is needed.
Salmon is a fish known for its high amounts of omega-3.
Certain types of fatty acids, such as polyunsaturated, cannot be produced by our bodies. They must be acquired entirely from our diet.
To highlight: Omega-3 is a powerful anti-inflammatory phytonutrient that raises your defenses against microorganisms. During infections, the cyclooxygenase enzyme converts omega-3 into other inflammatory and protective molecules.
Why is this important in relation to platelets? Any microorganism can interfere with the ability of the bone marrow to produce blood cells, increasing states of weakness.
Providing our body with omega-3 and omega-6 then becomes a necessity in those people with low platelet levels, susceptible to infections.
Different types of meat offer vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, for your body. Among these, veal stands out.
Cobalamin acts as an important intermediate that favors the growth and division of immature cells until they finally become different types of cells, such as red blood cells, leukocytes and platelets.
It is natural, therefore, that significant cobalamin deficits produce alterations such as: pernicious anemia, decreased white blood cells and decreased platelet levels.
Note: Vitamin B12 is not produced naturally by our bodies, but must be acquired through the diet, particularly animal products.
Meeting the daily requirement for vitamin B12 is easy since, after the age of 14, only 2.14 milligrams are needed per day.
Chicken is another animal-based food that contains vitamin B12.
It also has a certain percentage of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that favor the formation of new platelets and platelet aggregation as well, reducing the risk of bleeding.
A review by research teams in Italy, published in the journal Food & Nutrition Research , showed that consumption of chicken in moderate amounts increases platelet function (7) .
Note: A significant decrease or increase in lipid levels has a direct effect on platelet function. Keeping them under control is key if you want to keep your platelets elevated.
Chicken is an excellent source, as is beef, of the B vitamin family. B6, pantothenic acid (B5) and B12.
Vitamin B6 (or pyridoxine) favors the synthesis of blood cells, favoring the transport and use of iron. It also stimulates the production of sphingolipids, constituents of the cell membrane during its growth.
Chicken also offers us moderate amounts of iron, copper, zinc and selenium. During cooking, it releases molecules that, once consumed, stimulate our body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
This benefits the intestinal capacity to absorb a large percentage of the proteins, minerals and vitamins that chicken and other foods offer.
- Having a low number of platelets is usually a sign of an underlying condition. However, it is not necessarily an indicator of a serious disorder. In many cases, it’s just an indication of a nutritional vitamin or mineral deficiency that you may not be aware of.
- Platelets or thrombocytes are cells that predominate in our bloodstream. Its function is coagulation; the process of repairing the walls of blood vessels after injury, stopping bleeding.
- It is important that you know that the normal platelet count for a healthy adult male is 135,000-317,000 thousand per microliter of blood. For a healthy adult woman, it is 157,000-371,000 thousand.
- There are a variety of foods that can help you naturally raise your platelet levels, including fruits such as oranges, coconuts, vegetables such as carrots, beets, spinach, and proteins such as eggs, salmon, chicken, and beef. .