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Dengue Menace: 10 Foods To Increase Your Blood Platelet Count

With the monsoon season still in its last stage, monsoon diseases are still large in the country. In weather-terms, the month October is called as the in-between-month because the monsoon is over but it can rain at times. It can be hot but the winter slowly starts at the end of the month. The fluctuations in the weather and climate are one of the primary reasons for wide-spread diseases.

Consequently, with a general increase in the mosquito population, there has been a steady increase in the number of dengue cases as well. Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease caused by one of the many closely related viruses. It is transmitted by the bite of a female Aedes mosquito infected with a dengue virus. The mosquito becomes infected when it bites a person with dengue virus in his blood [1] .

When a person is bitten by the mosquito carrying the virus, it usually takes 4-6 days for the symptoms to appear [2] . High fever, persistent headaches, pain behind the eyes and muscle and joint pain are the usual symptoms.

Dengue On A Rise In Bangalore

In the past two months, Karnataka has reported over 10,000 cases of dengue. Out of the overall 4,427 cases were reported in the entire year of 2018, the current number is alarming. The government data released on 9 September showed six deaths and about 61 per cent of the cases are from Bangalore. In the first week of September alone, 322 cases were reported in areas under the BBMP. After Bangalore, South Karnataka is the most affected with 948 cases reported [3] .

Dengue Affects Your Platelet Count

Once you are tested dengue positive, your platelet count starts decreasing from the third day. Platelets are small blood cells produced in the bone marrow and low platelet count usually means that the blood has lost its ability to fight against diseases [4] .

It is important to maintain a regular platelet count to recover fast as platelets are a critical component of your blood, as it helps the body form clots to stop bleeding in the event of an injury [5] . And once the dengue virus begins attacking your platelet count, a low platelet count, also known as thrombocytopenia develops, thereby causing slow blood clotting, bleeding gums and nose, bruising and appearance of red or purple spots on the skin and longer and heavier menstrual cycles for women [3] .

However, there are certain ways through which you can help increase your platelet count and they are mentioned below.

Foods To Increase Your Blood Platelet Count

1. Papaya

Both papaya fruit and its leaves can increase the platelet count within a few days, studies reveal. Packed with vitamin A, fully ripe papaya is a great food that helps in increasing the platelet count [6] .

How to

  • Eat ripe papaya or drink the juice along with lemon juice 2-3 times in a day.
  • Make a paste of some papaya leaves in a mixer and extract the bitter juice. Drink this juice 2 times a day.

2. Pomegranate

Packed with iron, vitamin C and antioxidants, pomegranate plays a major role in combating low platelet count [7] .

How to

  • You can make fresh juice and drink it. Or add pomegranate to salads, smoothies, and breakfast bowls.

3. Leafy greens

A good source of vitamin K, consuming leafy greens during this time can help increase your blood platelet count. Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and including leafy greens such as spinach or kale can help in improving the count [8] .

How to

  • They are best when consumed raw in salads or sandwiches.

4. Pumpkin

Rich in vitamin A, pumpkins are beneficial for increasing your blood platelet count. Consuming pumpkin can help as it supports the development of the platelet and regulates the proteins that are produced by the body cells [6] .

How to

  • Half a glass of fresh pumpkin juice with a teaspoon of honey to taste can help increase platelet count.
  • At least 2-3 glasses a day is recommended.

5. Garlic

This spice can help in getting your blood platelet counts up due to its nature as not only a blood purifier but also a natural remedy to increase the blood platelet count. Studies reveal that garlic contains thromboxane A2 which binds the platelets and increases the platelet count [9] [7] .

How to

  • Use garlic in your everyday cooking.
  • You can add two to three cloves in your choice of soup as well.

6. Beans

Rich in vitamin B9, varieties of beans such as pinto bean, black turtle bean, cranberry bean are extremely beneficial for improving your platelet count. The folate in these beans helps boost the platelet count [10] .

How to

  • Boil it and consume it by making salads or as it is.

7. Raisin

Packed with high iron content, these dried fruits help strengthen the body while normalising blood platelet count, making it a go-to food for increasing your blood platelet count [11] .

How to

  • Raisins can be eaten as a delicious snack on their own, in oatmeal, or even sprinkled on yoghurt.

8. Carrot

Although known for its ability to improve and maintain visual quality, carrots are also beneficial for this purpose. According to studies, one bowl of carrot taken twice a week can help increase the blood platelet count and also in maintaining a normal blood platelet count [11] .

How to

  • You can drink the juice, add them to salads, or even prepare a soup.

Also read: Carrot Soup Recipe

9. Sesame oil

The oil contains polyunsaturated fats and vitamin E and is considered a superb medication to increase blood platelets [12] .

How to

  • Substitute sesame oil in your everyday cooking. It is perfect for deep frying and shallow frying as well.

10. Lean protein

Foods such as turkey, chicken and fish are known as lean protein. They are excellent sources of zinc and vitamin B12. These nutrients are essential to reverse the effects of thrombocytopenia [13] .

How to

  • Include a healthy amount of lean meat in your diet, three days a week.

Apart from these measures, some of the other ways to increase your blood platelet counts are by drinking plenty of water as it helps in flushing out the toxins and helping in activating platelet formation [14] . Eat foods that are rich in vitamin D, vitamin A, iron, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B-12, folate and chlorophyll [15] .

View Article References
  1. [1] Guzman, M. G., & Harris, E. (2015). Dengue. The Lancet, 385(9966), 453-465.
  2. [2] Brady, O. (2019). Disease Risk: Mapping the emerging burden of dengue. eLife, 8, e47458.
  3. [3] Rao, S. (2019, September 13). Dengue cases in Karnataka cross 10,000; up 138% since 2018.
  4. [4] Lam, P. K., Van Ngoc, T., Thuy, T. T. T., Van, N. T. H., Thuy, T. T. N., Tam, D. T. H., ... & Wills, B. (2017). The value of daily platelet counts for predicting dengue shock syndrome: Results from a prospective observational study of 2301 Vietnamese children with dengue. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 11(4), e0005498.
  5. [5] Dupont-Rouzeyrol, M., O’Connor, O., Calvez, E., Daures, M., John, M., Grangeon, J. P., & Gourinat, A. C. (2015). Co-infection with Zika and dengue viruses in 2 patients, New Caledonia, 2014. Emerging infectious diseases, 21(2), 381.
  6. [6] Reddoch‐Cardenas, K. M., Montgomery, R. K., Lafleur, C. B., Peltier, G. C., Bynum, J. A., & Cap, A. P. (2018). Cold storage of platelets in platelet additive solution: an in vitro comparison of two Food and Drug Administration–approved collection and storage systems. Transfusion, 58(7), 1682-1688.
  7. [7] Khoo, H. E., Azlan, A., Tang, S. T., & Lim, S. M. (2017). Anthocyanidins and anthocyanins: colored pigments as food, pharmaceutical ingredients, and the potential health benefits. Food & nutrition research, 61(1), 1361779.
  8. [8] Loo, B. M., Erlund, I., Koli, R., Puukka, P., Hellström, J., Wähälä, K., ... & Jula, A. (2016). Consumption of chokeberry (Aronia mitschurinii) products modestly lowered blood pressure and reduced low-grade inflammation in patients with mildly elevated blood pressure. Nutrition research, 36(11), 1222-1230.
  9. [9] Ohkura, N., Ohnishi, K., Taniguchi, M., Nakayama, A., Usuba, Y., Fujita, M., ... & Atsumi, G. (2016). Anti-platelet effects of chalcones from Angelica keiskei Koidzumi (Ashitaba) in vivo. Die Pharmazie-An International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 71(11), 651-654.
  10. [10] Thompson, K., Hosking, H., Pederick, W., Singh, I., & Santhakumar, A. B. (2017). The effect of anthocyanin supplementation in modulating platelet function in sedentary population: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial. British Journal of Nutrition, 118(5), 368-374.
  11. [11] Deng, C., Lu, Q., Gong, B., Li, L., Chang, L., Fu, L., & Zhao, Y. (2018). Stroke and food groups: an overview of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Public health nutrition, 21(4), 766-776.
  12. [12] Lorigooini, Z., Ayatollahi, S. A., Amidi, S., & Kobarfard, F. (2015). Evaluation of anti-platelet aggregation effect of some Allium species. Iranian journal of pharmaceutical research: IJPR, 14(4), 1225.
  13. [13] Rywaniak, J., Luzak, B., Podsedek, A., Dudzinska, D., Rozalski, M., & Watala, C. (2015). Comparison of cytotoxic and anti-platelet activities of polyphenolic extracts from Arnica montana flowers and Juglans regia husks. Platelets, 26(2), 168-176.
  14. [14] Tjelle, T. E., Holtung, L., Bøhn, S. K., Aaby, K., Thoresen, M., Wiik, S. Å., ... & Blomhoff, R. (2015). Polyphenol-rich juices reduce blood pressure measures in a randomised controlled trial in high normal and hypertensive volunteers. British Journal of Nutrition, 114(7), 1054-1063.
  15. [15] Younesi, E., & Ayseli, M. T. (2015). An integrated systems-based model for substantiation of health claims in functional food development. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 41(1), 95-100.
Story first published: Thursday, October 3, 2019, 18:30 [IST]
Read more about: dengue blood