In our Survey of Non-Traditional Treatments in ITP about 40% of the responders reported some improvement in their bleeding symptoms and their platelet count with either the macrobiotic diet or the diet recommended in Eat Right for Your Type by Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo. Less success was reported for the Atkins and Zone diets, high protein, low carbohydrate diets.
The recommendations listed in this article are based on principals from the macrobiotic and “Eat Right” diet, general nutritional research and research linking the impact of diet changes on other diseases that have common features with ITP.
If you would like to implement some of the diet changes listed in this article, please make the changes slowly so your body can adjust. Sometimes diet changes can cause withdrawal and detoxification symptoms as your body adjusts to the new foods and eliminates the old.
These suggestions are guidelines only. Be sure to discuss any diet changes with your physician.
- Eat a wide variety of fresh food
Maximize the value of each bite. Eat food from as close to the source as possible and as soon as possible. Avoid canned and frozen foods and leftovers. The nutritional value of food deteriorates with time. A wide variety of food assures your body gets the variety of nutrients it needs.
- Eat whole foods
Eat whole grain cereals, brown rice, and whole wheat products. Reduce the amount of white flour, white rice and processed foods. Processed grains are stripped of their natural nutrient-rich coating.
- Eat organic foods
Eat un-sprayed foods grown using natural fertilizers. Some pesticides and herbicides have been shown to exacerbate autoimmune diseases and lower platelets. Additives and preservatives can increase the disease-causing free radicals in your body.
- Reduce sugar
Reduce the amount of white refined sugar as well as fructose, corn syrup, honey and other sweeteners. Limit fruit and fruit juice. Sugar contributes to an acidic disease-promoting body condition.
- Reduce dairy products
Reduce or eliminate milk, cheese, ice cream, and yogurt from your diet based on your reaction to these foods and other dietary needs. Dairy foods have been shown to contribute to mucus formation and exacerbate some autoimmune diseases.
- Eat healthy fats
Use cold pressed oils such as olive or canola in cooking and baking. Avoid hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated or trans-fats. These contribute to free radical damage. Reduce the amount of deep fried food which also adds to the free radical load.
- Eat green
Eat as many leafy greens as possible, especially kale and collards. Add sea vegetables (sea weed) to your diet. These choices contain large amounts of calcium, minerals, and vitamin K to help clotting.
- Limit meat
Rely on lean, white fish, whole grains and beans and some nuts for protein. Meat is often laced with residual antibiotics, hormones, and saturated fat.
- Avoid problem foods
Avoid alcoholic beverages which can damage bone marrow. Reduce the amount of blueberries, red/purple grape products, garlic, onions, ginger, ginseng, and tomatoes. These foods can interfere with blood clotting. Avoid food and drinks containing quinine. These can lower platelets.
- Avoid allergic foods
Many people have delayed food allergies that produce vague and difficult-to-diagnose symptoms. If you don’t feel well, consider having a food allergy test.
- Chew your food well
Chewing each bite until it is liquid can aid digestion, aid the passage of nutrients into your blood stream, and promotes healthy alkaline blood chemistry.
- Drink pure warm water
Drink plenty of filtered or bottled water at room temperature or above. Taking periodic sips of hot water can cleanse impurities from the body. Ice water can slow and hinder the digestive process. Tap water may contain small amounts of chemicals that are harmful.
Twenty Steps to Better Health
In your darkest moments you may think there is nothing else you can do to improve your health. Not true. We believe there is always something else you can do…or think…or feel…that can raise your platelet odds.
Here’s a list of suggestions that are cheap, won’t keep you up at night and just might unlock your healing response.
Our readers report and we concur…good health is often the result of many small changes that sum to a large impact. Just read our letters and stories.
This is quite a long list. Just pick a few of your favorite ideas and try them. You can add more later. Get your family and friends to join you. Everyone can benefit.
Now begin to:
Take 20 minutes a day to just breathe slowly and deeply, raising and lowering your abdomen. Breathing slowly reduces stress and activates neurotransmitters found in the lungs.
- Avoid Toxins
Use natural cleaning products, natural pesticides, low volatile paints, organic fertilizers, etc. Avoid perfumes and scented products. Chemicals and pesticides have been shown to interfere with the immune system and create unhealthy free radicals in the body.
- Avoid Plastic Containers
Store food in ceramic or glass dishes and containers. The chemicals in plastics have been shown to interfere with cell development.
- Reduce Stress
Look at the people and situations that create stress in your life and try to find ways to reduce the stress. Yoga and meditation often help. Stress has been shown to aggravate many diseases.
- Think Positive
Imagine yourself well. Replace any negative thoughts with positive ones. Think of positive things you want to happen in the future. According to many research studies positive thinking can enhance your chances of feeling better.
- Connect to a Higher Power
Pray or seek other spiritual guidance consistent with your beliefs. Research has shown that this type of connection can assist in improving health.
- Consider Energy Therapy
Reiki, Qi-gong, and other subtle energy therapies can activate a healing response. You can learn some of these and do them yourself or you can seek a qualified practitioner.
Find an exercise program you like and that fits your health situation. It could be walking, yoga, dancing. Use your imagination.
- Breathe Clean Air
Avoid smoky (and smoking), musty, dank, dusty environments. Particulates and mold can cause or exacerbate autoimmune diseases.
- Avoid Mercury
If you need a tooth filled, avoid mercury fillings. Avoid eating fish that is high in mercury. Dispose of mercury thermometers. Mercury has been shown to exacerbate autoimmune disease.
- Listen to your body
Stay in touch with your inner self and follow your body’s suggestions if they are health oriented. Sleep when you need rest. Eat when you’re hungry. Stay in the sun when your body wants the warmth.
- Be with People who Enliven You
Sometimes you feel better after being with someone. Other times you may feel deadened and drained. Choose to be with people who brighten your spirits.
- Take Time for your Favorite Things
Bring as much joy into your life as possible. Listen to music. Grow flowers. Watch the birds and rabbits. Sing. Make your own list.
- Reduce Negative Input
Reduce the amount of time you spend watching the news, reading scary stories and watching TV shows with violent themes. These have been shown to promote stress reactions.
- Live in a Positive Space
Remove clutter from your environment. Organize your things. Fix anything that’s broken. Clean things that are dirty. Surround yourself with items that help you smile and feel good. Read a Feng Shui book for more suggestions.
- Get the Right Amount of Sleep
Attempt to sleep from seven to nine hours per night. Research has shown that both too little and too much sleep can aggravate health problems. Ayurvedic medicine recommends that you go to bed before 10:00 PM and arise around 6:00 AM for optimal health.
- Avoid Allergic Triggers
Find out if you are allergic to any food and other things around you then eliminate or avoid them, if possible. For example: use a hepa filter vacuum and/or air cleaner and dust protector pillow cases if you are allergic to dust. Allergic reactions are another sign of an overactive and misguided immune system.
- Do Fun Things
Create opportunities to smile and laugh. Know what brightens your spirits and puts a grin on your face, then find time to do these things. Norman Cousins set the standard with his book, “Anatomy of an Illness” when he described how watching Marx Brother’s films helped him heal.
- Avoid Drugs That Can Interfere with Platelets
The medical literature is filled with accounts of prescription products that can reduce platelet counts or inhibit their action. While some of these are allergic reactions and will not apply to everyone, it is good to know the possibilities.
- Get Help and Hugs
Find others who will listen. Talk about your feelings. Ask for help when you need it and accept the help that’s offered. Bask in hugs and warmth.