The human body has a defense mechanism that helps it to fight against bacteria, viruses and allergens. This defense mechanism is known as the immune system and comprises various tissues and cells with the skin and membranes in nasal passage and respiratory tract, forming the first line of defense. White blood cells are an important constituent of the immune system and attack the harmful organisms, helping the body in maintaining good health.
The count of white blood cells in a healthy human is anywhere between 5,000 to 10,000 WBC per microliter of blood. But if the white blood cell count falls below this level, then the body becomes vulnerable to various opportunistic infections. Certain foods can help the body increase the white blood cells count, thus boosting the immune system and making it less susceptible to diseases.
Diet for Low White Blood Count
Vitamin C helps the body to increase the white blood cells count and also helps the body in increasing the levels of interferon. Interferon coats the surface of cells, blocking the entry of bacteria and viruses. Some foods that are high in Vitamin C are bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, mustard greens. People suffering from low white blood count should also include fruits such as oranges, papaya and strawberries in their diet.
Vitamin E helps in production of cells which destroy the antigens and recent reports have found out that Vitamin E also aids in maintaining the immune system in old age. Some foods that are high in Vitamin E are almonds, chard, mustard greens, olives, sunflower seeds and turnip greens.
Carotenoids are a type of natural pigment. Beta carotenoids help the body by increasing the white blood cells count. Some foods that are high in carotenoids are cantaloupe, carrots, dandelion greens, pumpkin, spinach and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin B-12 helps in multiplication of white blood cells and some sources from which it can be derived are beef, lamb, milk, salmon, scallops and shrimp.
Zinc can be thought of a booster that helps the white blood cells to fight more aggressively. The best sources of zinc are oysters, crab, beef, turkey, dark meat and beans.
Taking too much of sugar everyday reduces the ability of the white blood cells to fight germs by around 40%. Bad eating habits, such as skipping breakfast and eating fried foods deprive the body of essential nutrients needed for multiplication and repair of cells. Alcohol also can impact the body's immune system as it reduces the ability of attacking ability of the white blood cells. Alcohol consumed in limited amounts does not affect the immune system but binge drinking can seriously hamper its functioning.
Numerous studies have time and again established the relationship between regular exercise and a strong immune system. Despite the reports and findings, there is a large majority of people who do not engage in any physical exercise. Working out regularly not only helps in maintaining an effective immune system but it also prevents the body from a host of other diseases.
People who have a low blood count can include the foods mentioned above in their daily diet to increase white blood cells count. There are various supplements available in the market which can also help in increasing the white blood cells, but you should avoid self medication and take them only after consultations with your doctor or dietitian.