White blood cells are the cells that our body makes to fight infections and diseases. White blood cells are made up of red blood cells, platelets, and plasma. WBCs are also known as leukocytes and white corpuscles. White blood cells are made inside the bone marrow and stored in your blood and lymphatic tissues. Because some white blood cells have a short lifespan of one to three days, your bone marrow is constantly making them.
Types of White Blood Cells
There are five major types of white blood cells:
Neutrophils: kill and digest bacteria and fungi. Half of White Blood Cells are neutrophils , live for only around eight hours, but 100 billion are produced every day.
Lymphocytes: create antibodies to defend against bacteria, viruses, and other potentially harmful invaders.
Eosinophils: fight large parasites like intestinal worms. These cells also destroy cancer cells, and help with allergic responses.
Monocytes: migrate into tissues and clean up dead cells (among other functions.) They have a longer lifespan than many white blood cells.
Basophils: appear to sound an alarm when infectious agents invade your blood. They secrete chemicals such as histamine, a marker of allergic disease, control the body’s immune response.
How Do White Blood Cells Help Us?
White blood cells (WBCs) are a part of the immune system that helps fight infection and defend the body against other foreign materials. White blood cells are involved in recognizing intruders, killing harmful bacteria, and creating antibodies to protect your body against future exposure to some bacteria, viruses and cancer cells.
What Causes Low White Blood Cell Count?How many white blood cells (WBCs) someone has varies, but the normal range is usually between 4,000 and 11,000 per microliter of blood.
A blood test that shows a WBC count of less than 4,000 per microliter (some labs say less than 4,500) could mean your body may not be able to fight infection the way it should. A low number is sometimes called leukopenia.
Viral Infections: Acute viral infections, such as colds and influenza may lead to temporary leukopenia.
Blood Cell and Bone Marrow Conditions: such as aplastic anemia, overactive spleen, and myelodysplastic syndromes.
Cancer: Leukemia and other cancers may damage the bone marrow and lead to leukopenia.
Infectious diseases: Examples include HIV, AIDS, and tuberculosis.
Autoimmune Disorders: Some of these kill white blood cells. Examples include lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Spleen Problems: Infections, blood clots can make it swell and not work the way it should. This will cause leukopenia .
Malnutrition: Not eating well or low levels of certain vitamins, such as folic acid and B12 can cause leucopenia. Alcohol abuse can mess with the nutrients in your body.
Sarcoidosis: This is an overreaction of the immune system that leads to small areas of inflammation in the body. It can also affect bone marrow.
Symptoms of a Low White Blood Count
The symptoms of a low white blood count can be understood by knowing the function of white blood cells.
- Pain or frequency of urination
- Blood in the stools
- Redness, swelling, or warmth in a region of infection.
Best Foods to Increase White Blood Cells (Leukocytes)
Most people use vitamin C after they’ve caught a cold. Citrus Fruits build up your immune system. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C and increase the production of white blood cells. For good health add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal daily. Foods rich in Vitamin C are:
Red Bell Peppers
Move over, oranges: Red bell peppers contain way more vitamin C (roughly three times more).Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that not only helps get rid of a cold or flu, but is essential to preventing it in the first place. Vitamin C increases the production of antibodies and white blood cells, which help fight against infection. Slice them into wedges to use as a dipper for hummus or salsa, or chop them into a salad for additional immune-boosting goodness.
Garlic is nature’s antibiotic. It’s antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties help to not only fight infection, but to ward off sickness in the first place by stimulating the production of various white blood cells. Add crushed garlic to your favorite dish and consume daily. Early civilizations recognized its value in fighting infections..
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Dietary omega-3 fatty acids can help to increase the production of phagocytes (type of white blood cells) which engulf harmful foreign entities. The levels of white blood cells in female volunteers who took dietary fatty acids were increased. Consumption of fish oil enhances the activity of white blood cells. You should include flaxseed oil, chia seeds, fish oil, walnuts, oysters, salmon, spinach, and soybeans in your daily diet because these foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acid content.
Spinach is a rich source of vitamins A, C, and E – all of which are known to boost WBC count. It’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems. Add a portion of cooked spinach to your daily diet. You can consume spinach directly or add it to your favorite salad or pasta.
Sulforaphane (SFN) chemical in broccoli regulate your white blood cell count and boost your immune system. Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your table. The key to keeping its power intact is to cook it as little as possible — or better yet, not at all.
This fruit loaded with vitamin C. Papaya leaves contain acetogenins, which are important compounds that boost your immunity by increasing WBC count. It also have decent amounts of potassium, B vitamins, and folate, all of which are beneficial to your overall health.
Zinc is one of the best foods to increase white blood cells you should consume. Shellfish and dark meat are full of zinc. It can help the body produce more WBCs and makes existing WBCs more aggressive. Foods rich in zinc include turkey meat, beef, crab, and oysters. Plus, you can also take zinc from fortified cereals and beans.
Like papayas, kiwis are naturally full of a ton of essential nutrients, including folate, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts white blood cells to fight infection, while kiwi’s other nutrients keep the rest of your body functioning properly.
Yogurt is rich in probiotics, which is helpful for fighting against bad bacteria. In addition, it also aids in increasing white blood cells by stimulating your immune system. According to a study, people who consume beverages with probiotics frequently, the WBC are higher because not many bad bacteria that nurture in the digestive tract. In addition, yogurt is also rich in vitamin D, which helps to regulate the immunity and boost the natural defenses of the body against diseases.