Many underlying health conditions can cause an abnormally low white blood cell count. Leukemia, infections, anemia, cancer treatments, autoimmune disorders, medications, and even allergies can affect your immune system, making it weaker and leaving you more vulnerable to infections. Certain foods are extremely good at supporting your immune system and triggering the release of white blood cells in your blood.
How to Increase WBC Count by Food
1. Eat Fruits and Veggies
Eating fruits and veggies rich in vitamin C helps regulate your WBC production. Eat at least six servings of fruits and veggies a day. Include strawberries, papaya, guava, kiwi, cantaloupe, and citrus fruits in your diet. Vegetables, such as kale, mustard greens, spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are also good sources of vitamin C.
2. Drink Green Tea
Include green tea in your diet if you want to increase your white blood cell count. It works because it provides your body with antioxidants that fight off infections and prevent oxidative damage to your cells. At the same time, it strengthens your immune system and raises WBCs. You can make it even more effective by adding some honey or lemon.
3. Include Garlic in Your Diet
Considered as one of the best super foods, garlic works great to trigger the process of antibody production. It also strengthens your immune system and protects you against infections. All these benefits come from the sulfur compounds found in garlic.
4. Consume Some Yogurt
Yogurt is a great source of probiotics and helps keep your gut healthy. At the same time, it strengthens your immune system and increases white blood cell count too. Studies show that people taking probiotics are more likely to have stronger immunity as compared to people who have not included it in their diet.
5. Get More Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are rich in vitamin E and you need this vitamin to trigger the production of white blood cells. Nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils are great sources of vitamin E, and you can also get it from leafy greens, sunflower seeds, almonds, broccoli, spinach, and peanut butter.
7. Eat Food Rich in Lean Protein
To learn how to increase WBC count by food, you need to identify the best sources of lean protein first. Protein contains amino acids that help make white blood cells. When your diet lacks protein, your body just cannot produce enough white blood cells to clear infections. You can increase your intake of lean protein by eating lean meats, like seafood, fish, and skinless poultry. Lentils, beans, eggs, and soy are also good sources of protein.
8. Enjoy Dark Meat and Shellfish
You should include dark meat and shellfish in your diet to boost your WBC count. Shellfish is a great source of zinc and your body uses zinc to trigger the release of white blood cells. It also helps make your existing WBCs a lot more aggressive. You can opt for oysters, beef, crab, and dark turkey meat to increase your intake of zinc. Beans and fortified cereals are also good sources of zinc.
9. Include Salmon in Your Diet
Salmon is good for your overall health because it provides you with omega-3 fatty acids. Your body cannot produce these essential fatty acids, so you have to make better food choices to increase your intake of omega-3s. It is important to cook it thoroughly before eating because raw fish can cause food-borne illnesses in people who have a low white blood cell count.
More Ways to Increase WBC Count
Now you know how to increase WBC count by food. Here are some more suggestions:
1. Take Supplements
The idea is to provide your body with certain nutrients that would help regulate your WBC count. Some of the most beneficial supplements for bone marrow and WBC production are folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin E, and copper.
2. Try Yoga
You can try different yoga postures to help improve circulation and trigger the production of white blood cells. One of the best poses is the Cobra Pose that activates the thymus gland which boosts the production of disease-fighting T-cells. Here is how to perform the move:
- Lie on your stomach with your hands underneath your shoulders and legs stretched out. Keep your palm down and the elbows folded upward.
- Now, gently press your navel, thighs, and the tops of your feet into the floor.
- Take a deep breath and raise your upper body with the help of your arms. Bring your shoulder blades together while raising your body.
- While maintaining the position, stretch your tailbone further back along with the crown of your head.
- Exhale and lower your body after 15-30 seconds.
- Rest and do 5-10 reps.
3. Practice Good Hygiene
You should practice good hygiene when you have a low WBC because you are at an increased risk of developing infections. You will be supporting your immune system by practicing good hygiene.
Do not eat raw and unpasteurized foods, wash your hands regularly, and be sure to cook vegetables thoroughly before eating.
4. Consult an Expert
What you eat really helps boost your immune system, so it makes great sense to work directly with a dietitian to know how to increase WBC count by food. It is also important to talk to your doctor before taking a supplement because it can interfere with medications you may already be taking for an existing medical condition. Antihistamines and diuretics can adversely affect your WBC count, so talk to your doctor to find a better alternative.