Around 50-100 million Dengue cases are reported worldwide each year. – World Health Organization.
Dengue fever is increasing tremendously in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. It is a female mosquito-borne viral illness but it is not transmitted directly from person to person. However, a person infected and suffering from dengue fever can infect other mosquitoes.
People might confuse it with other illnesses that cause flu and joint pain however, its actual symptoms include headache, pain behind the eyes, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands, joint, bone, or muscle pain, and rashes.
In some cases, this disease may progress into a more severe form and show symptoms like severe abdominal pain, vomiting blood, bleeding gums, fatigue, and restlessness. But, the most alarming condition in this fever is ‘thrombocytopenia’ also known as low platelet count. Platelets are blood cells that help with clotting.
A normal platelet count in the human body ranges between 1.5 to 4 lacs and it can go down to 20,000 to 40,000 during dengue fever. It is important to note here that mild platelets reduction can be cured through diet but in severe cases, one needs to seek medical advice to avoid complications. Dietary changes can prevent platelet count reduction. Here are some foods you can incorporate into your diet to maintain a normal platelet count!
1. Vitamin C
Ascorbic acid also called vitamin C is present naturally in many fruits and vegetables. It enhances the efficiency of existing platelets and helps in increasing platelet count. Vitamin C helps in the absorption of iron, an important component of red blood cells production. Rich sources of Vitamin C include mangoes, strawberries, pineapples, broccoli, tomatoes, lemon, guava, green or red bell peppers, cauliflower, kiwi, oranges, and grapefruit. Adding these fruits and vegetables to your diet can elevate your Vitamin C levels and prevent you from having a low platelet count.
2. Papaya Leaf Juice
Papaya leaves are well-known for their anti-malarial properties. A unique phytochemical called ‘Acetogenin’ is present in papaya leaves. This ‘acetogenin’ is proven to increase the platelet count and ensure a speedy recovery. Home-made papaya juice is the only remedy prescribed by doctors besides medication. According to some studies, a small glass of papaya juice twice a day can significantly improve the number of platelets in the body.
3: Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 deficiency is also associated with low platelet count, therefore, eating foods rich in vitamin B12 helps keep your red blood cells healthy and prevents you from further platelet loss. In order to boost your platelet count add foods such as fatty fish (salmon, tuna), eggs, beef, liver, milk, cheese, and chicken to your diet.
4. Iron Intake
As mentioned above, Vitamin C and iron work together in the body. It is important to get your iron intake from dietary sources rather than supplements because supplements can cause constipation so iron-rich foods include beef, liver, kidney beans, pumpkin seeds, lentils. Boosting your iron intake can help raise your platelets levels naturally. Here is a fun fact: dark chocolate is a good source of iron as well as anti-oxidants.
5. Vitamin K
Vitamin K helps in blood clotting as it helps your body produce proteins that help in the clotting process. It is also beneficial for bone health. It is present in leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, soybeans, soy oil, pumpkin. Eating adequate Vitamin K can preserve the body’s ability to stop bleeding.
Disclaimer: Please consult a specialist/healthcare provider as this article merely serves as a guideline.