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Your immune system is extremely hardworking; every day it fights mini-wars, protecting your body from microbes, virus, and bacteria. Your immune system has an able ally in your white blood cells. Together they form a team to beat formidable opponents. So, what is the place that produces white blood cells? Well, it is your bone marrow.
Ideally, your WBC count should be around 5,000 to 10,000 per microliter of blood. Persons who have less than 3,500 are said to be suffering from a low count, also known as neutropenia. There are a few people who have even less than 1,000 and it usually means that the person is in the high-risk zone of developing an infection of some kind.
The objective of this article is to mainly tell you how you can improve your white blood cell count, and so improve your overall immune system. Having enough of the following foods and/or vitamins and minerals can shield you from a stray cold or flu, or even a more dangerous infection. The best part is, you can keep things natural, and yet increase your immunity by several counts.
What Are White Blood Cells?
You have heard a lot of White blood cells (WBCs), but what are they actually? They are known as leukocytes or white corpuscles. They are the cellular counterparts of blood that lack haemoglobin but have a nucleus. White blood cells are of several types. Find out the different types here before you increase your white blood cell count.
Different Types of White Blood Cells
There are different types of white blood cells, here are the following,
- Neutrophils: These help fight infection by ingesting microbes such as bacteria and fungi.
- Eosinophils: This is exactly what you need to fight large parasites such as intestinal worms. The cells secrete IgE antibodies to put up a good fight against allergens.
- Basophils: This kind of white blood cells secrete histamine during allergic reactions.
- Lymphocytes: Lymphocytes are made up of 3 cells – B cells, T cells, and also natural killer (NK) cells. B cells protect your body by releasing antibodies, while T cells and NK cells fight cells that get affected by viruses and
- Monocytes – Monocytes change into macrophages and take in the cell residue.
Attack from antibodies? Let’s see how a rich white blood cell count can help our bodies plan an attack on the foreign invaders.
How Do White Blood Cells Protect our Bodies?
Our bodies are constantly under threat, thanks to pollution and the food we eat. We need a super strong immune system to protect us from the invading foreign particles and cellular debris. These cells also help increase the antibodies and help destroy infectious agents as well as cancer cells.
There are constant fluctuations in white blood cells, and this can be due to several reasons. Did you know that when you exercise, your white blood cell count count goes up, and it goes down when you rest? But that’s natural, there are some instances when the count may drop abnormally. Check out the causes of the low white blood cell count.
Low White Blood Cell Count – What causes it?
WBCs are produced in bone marrow, the spongy tissue right inside your larger bones. So, what makes the count drop?
- Viral infections
- Congenital disorders
- Autoimmune disorders
- Chronic infections that need more white blood cells
- Specific medications such as antibiotics
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Inadequate nutrition
A low WBC count can lead to a number of conditions such as leukopenia. Are you suffering from this condition? If you are not too sure, check out some of the signs and symptoms here.
- High fever
If you are under the weather and suffering from an infection, then take a look at some of the symptoms here,
- Mouth sores
- Inflammation read redness and swelling
- A sore throat
- Severe hacking
- Shortness of breath
Okay, you have to have to have your WBC count in the optimal range, but what is the optimal range?
What is the normal range of white blood cells?
The normal range of WBCs is 3,500-10,500 white blood cells per microliter of blood.
Low WBC Count – A reading lower than 4,500 white blood cells per microliter of blood.
High WBC Count – The reading should be more than 11,000 white blood cells per microliter of blood.
You need to be worried about the WBC count if it drops so low that it won’t be able to protect you from infections. Well, don’t get too stressed ‘cause there are natural ways to increase white blood cell count. Certain foods or supplements can come to your rescue and help bring up the count of WBC’S to the normal range.
How to Increase White Blood Cell Count Naturally
How do you increase your white blood cell count? Of course, the right foods help, especially when they are stocked with the right nutrients. Check out the foods here that will help knock out the ‘killer cells’ and increase the ‘healthy cells’.
Vitamin E naturally helps obliterate the ‘killer cells’. These cells help kill off germs and rogue cells. Vitamin E also increases the production of B-cells. These are cells that boost your immune system, which produces antibodies to kill the bacteria. Vitamin E supplements are very important for the elderly as it is said in a study that it cuts the risk of heart attacks by half.
You need at least 60mg of vitamin E to add to your diet. You will get the maximum amount of vitamin E from seeds and grains. But it is difficult to get the required amount from the diet alone, especially if your lifestyle is not too great. If you smoke, don’t exercise, or drink alcohol, you will require a little more than the stipulated 60 mg. Supplementing is then a better option.
This trace mineral is seldom given the importance it deserves, as it increases white blood cell count and combats infections. Zinc helps bolster your immune system to a great extent, as it helps release abundant antibodies to fight the so-called ‘villains.’
Before you start adding more zinc supplements to your armory to increase T-cells, take care as you may end up overdoing it. Get at least 15-25 mg of zinc into your diet. It’s not always necessary to supplement, you can add more foods that are a potent source of zinc, such as seafood, fortified cereals, whole grains, dairy products and so on.
Selenium is another important mineral that has the power to fight most infections. If you are supplementing, then you need at least 200 mcg of selenium. And if you want to get it through natural sources, then add the following sources: sardines, tuna, chicken, turkey and so on. Elderly persons can increase white blood cell count naturally with a combination of zinc and selenium. There are chances that you will report less sick days at the office when you add adequate amounts of selenium and zinc to your diet.
Green tea is your go-to for a good source of antioxidants. Add more detox tea to your diet as it boosts your immune system and helps your body combat infections. Green tea helps encourage your body to increase the WBC count in your body.
This is one vitamin that can boost your immune system in a jiffy. Extensive research has been done on the effects of vitamin C on your immune system, and it is more effective than any vitamin or nutrient around. There are plenty of ways you can add more vitamin C to your diet. Adding vitamin C rich foods is one of them, also you can try supplementation.
Vitamin C increases white blood cells and antibodies that help slay viruses and bacteria. Vitamin C also helps increase the levels of interferon, an antibody that guards the cells; protecting them and acting as a barrier to infection-causing invaders.
So how much should you add to your daily diet? You don’t require a lot, just 200mgs per day and it will prove to be sufficient. You can get enough of that from fruits and veggies. Add more of citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, kiwis, strawberries, and grapefruits to your meals. If you still think that you are not getting enough, you can add supplements, but spread the dosage throughout the entire day.
Among all the ways to increase WBC count, Beta-carotene is a potent force that can slay killer free radicals. Free radicals are what cause enormous damage to the body and premature aging. Adding adequate amounts of carotenoids to your diet can prevent heart attacks and strokes as well. That is why a carrot is your best buddy in more ways than one. You can have more yam, kale, tomatoes, peppers and so on to increase the consumption of carotenoids.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are the most powerful antioxidants that can help protect your body from infection and diseases. While you can easily supplement with capsules containing krill oil, there are other food sources which are just as effective. Foods such as fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, and lax oil improve your immune system by increasing the phagocytes.
It literally ameliorates bacteria. Remember your grandmother also insisted on you having that distasteful tablespoon of cod liver oil every night? Today there is an imbalance between Omega 3 and Omega 6 in our bodies; we have more of omega 6, which is why we have more inflammation in our bodies. A teaspoon of flax oil every day can protect children from fewer colds and other respiratory disorders.
Vitamin A is another important vitamin that can improve the number of lymphocyte white blood cells in your body. An adequate amount of this important vitamin can kill off most foreign invaders, even cancer cells. You may not be able to get enough of it from food sources, so a good supplement can fill the gap and help boost your WBC count.
The gut is your new brain, and to keep it hale and hearty you need generous doses of probiotics. So, the more probiotics you add to your diet, the stronger your immune system is. Probiotics such as yogurt and kefir are great ways to improve your WBC count easily.
Garlic is certainly one of the healthiest foods around. The reason being garlic promotes the ability of white blood cells which combats the bad infection-causing viruses and bacteria. It also helps stimulate and bring the immune cells into action mode.
Garlic is also an antioxidant that reduces the build-up of free radicals in the blood. People who make garlic an important part of their diet, have fewer incidences of intestinal cancers.
Papaya leaves contain a compound called acetogenin, which helps boost your immunity as it increases the WBC count. These leaves can also combat dengue fever.
Here is how you can prepare your papaya leaf concoction.
Wash a bunch of papaya leaves and blend them well. Add water to the mixture and blend again. Strain the mixture and consume one tablespoon of this concoction. Add a natural sweetener as it is a bit too bitter to taste. Have it once or twice a day.
Add more broccoli to your diet as it contains a chemical known as sulforaphane (SFN) that can help improve your white blood cell count and hence boost your immunity.
This vitamin C rich fruit is simply amazing as it enhances your immunity like no other. It particularly improves the count of your T and B lymphocytes. So how much do you have on a daily basis? Well, you can add about 30-60 ml of unsweetened noni juice to your diet. Get either a store-bought organic juice or get the fruit and juice it directly at home.
Now that you know how to increase white blood cell count with the right nourishing foods, add more of it to your diet to boost your immune system, the natural way.