White Blood Cell Count (WBC), Low, High
all about white blood cells. why white blood cells count is high? why white blood cell count is low? foods that helps white blood cell count. White Blood Cells (WBC) are the immune cells of our body which are a part of blood. They are also known as ‘leukocytes’. Although they make up only 1% of the components of the blood, they have a very crucial role to play in our body. They are continuously at war with any bacteria or virus that enters our body, thus forming the first line of defense against any foreign invader that’s a threat to your health.
These WBC are made in the bone marrow and stored in the blood and lymphatic systems till they are needed to fight any type of infection. Their ratio against red blood cell (RBC) is 1 : 600. Because WBC has a short life span so your body has to continuously produce them. A healthy diet is a key to making these WBC and staying fit and robust. You can try a simple recipe like Orange Tabbouleh.
Orange Tabbouleh, Healthy Orange Tabbouleh
There are different kinds of WBC which range from those which recognize the foreign bodies to the ones which reach to the site and destroy and ingest them. The different types of WBC are :
Neutrophils : More than half of the white blood cells are Neutrophils. They are those powerful WBC which signal the other types of WBC of the invaders and go ahead and digest and kill the bacteria and virus.
Eosinophils : They are primarily accountable for destroying parasites, cancer cells and also are a part of allergic responses especially to pollen.
Basophils : These form only 1% of the WBC. They play a role in alerting the body to infections by secreting chemicals like ‘histamines’ and controlling body’s responses to allergies, especially that of asthma.
Lymphocytes : These are very important type of WBC which are responsible for making antibodies that help the body defend against different types of harmful bacteria, virus and other threats.
Monocytes : They form 5% of the WBC in your blood. their most important function is to break down the bacteria as well as ingest and clean up the dead cells and thus are often termed as ‘vaccum cleaner’. They usually have a longer life span than other types of WBC.
What is the Normal WBC count?
Checking the number of white blood cells us usually a part of CBC (Complete Blood Cell) test. A normal white blood cell count for a healthy adult is usually between 4,000 and 10,000 cells/MCL.
When is WBC Count High?
An increase in white blood cells is known as leukocytosis. A higher WBC count than normal usually indicates an infection signaling that your body has been attacked by bacteria or virus. As a counter effect, the body multiplies the number of WBC so as to fight and destroy the invaders.
Few factors which contribute to a high WBC count are :
• Infections like tuberculosis
• Tissue damage (eg. Burns)
• Tumors in the bone marrow
• Drugs such as corticosteroids
When is WBC Count Low?
When the number of white blood cells is too low it is termed as leukopenia. This condition indicates may indicate severe infections. A low WBC count is a signal that your body’s immune cells are being destroyed by the threats more faster than they are being made or the body is producing few of them. In simple words, it means that the bacteria or virus have increased or multiplied to a number which is now destroying your immune cells and your immune system has weakened.
Most common factor which contribute to low WBC count are:
• Severe Infection
• Bone Marrow Damage
• Auto Immune Disorders
• Excessive exercise
• HIV / AIDS
• Cancer & Radiation Therapy
• Liver and spleen diseases
• Some specific medicines like cancer treating drugs or antibiotics
Diagnosis of High / Low WBC count
Your doctor who preferable knows your medical history is the best person to diagnose high / low WBC levels. S(he) will recommend a treatment plan to you after determining the cause. It is very likely that you may need to repeat the blood test periodically to run a close check at the WBC levels.
If your WBC count remains high / low, this indicates that your condition has worsened. Your doctor might change the treatment or the medication till your WBC count returns to normal or may suggest you to visit a specialist. A low WBC count in very severe diseased conditions is slightly difficult to bring back to normal.
Can Diet Help in Improving WBC Count?
Well, to a certain extent yes. Healthy eating is always a ladder to a healthy YOU. First basic rule is to avoid all the junk, refined and canned products from your food list. Yes, you are right…. This list is quite immense. It includes bread, pasta, burger, chips, canned juices, sugary foods, cakes, mithais and so on….
So the next question is what to eat then? Turn to the colourful Nature’s basket of fruits, veggies, whole grains cereals and their flours, dals, pulses and sprouts. These are rich in :
• Protein : Protein is a key nutrient and the basis of every cell of our body. Similarly, WBC are also made up of protein. This key nutrient is required throughout the life, only the needs vary depending on the stage of life. Eggs are a complete protein. A soft boiled egg for breakfast is an ideal way to make up for your protein needs.
Vegetarians can opt for whole cereals like buckwheat and quinoa to build their WBC count. Buckwheat is one such cereal which has all the 9 essential amino acids we need. (Note: Proteins are made of amino acids and out of 21 amino acids, 9 are not produced in our body and need to be sourced from food. These are essential amino acids). Try Buckwheat Pancakes and gain in 2.1 g of protein from each pancake.
Buckwheat Pancakes, Kuttu Pancake Diabetic Snacks
Quinoa Paneer Carrot Pepper Lunch Salad is a double dose of protein from quinoa and cottage cheese both. It is highly satiating and comprises of all antioxidants too to help you build a healthy immune system.
Quinoa Paneer Carrot Peppers Salad, for Lunch Or Dinner
Sprouts are another very good source of protein. The process of sprouting increases their nutrient count further. They are easy to incorporate in our daily cooking. Try the Sprouts and Palak Idli.
Sprouts and Palak Idli
Also Read : 21 Source of Vegetarian Protein
Benefits of Sprouts
• Vitamin C : Vitamin C is the most crucial nutrient which helps to fight bacteria and virus that invade our body. Citrus fruits along with grapefruit, guava, berries and amla contain the highest amount of vitamin C.
Have them as it is in between meals or make them a part of your meal. We suggest Healthy Guava Snack. One serving of this snack is enough to make your day’s requirement of vitamin C.
Healthy Guava Snack
Alternatively juice them like done in the recipe of Amla Juice. This amla juice recipe is a one ingredient recipe. Making this amla juice for weight loss takes less than 5 minutes.
Amla Juice, How To Make Amla Juice, Gooseberry Juice
Yet looking something more interesting? Try combining colourful fruits to make Healthy Fruit Chaat. And what's more is that the fibre from the fruits will help to maintain a healthy gut too!
Fruit Chaat Indian Fruit Chaat Recipe
Other veggies like bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage etc. are also a good source of this key nutrient. Grilled Bell Pepper, Carrot and Mushrooms is a quick and simple way of consuming an appetizing starter.
Grilled Bellpepper, Carrot and Mushrooms, Healthy Accompaniment
Also Read: 12 Reasons to Eat More Citrus Fruits
• Folate (Vitamin B9): While folate deficiency can lead to anaemia, it is also a crucial vitamin needed to keep up WBC count. The major sources of folate include tomato, spinach, chawli leaves, moong, chana, peanut and a variety of dals.
Enhance your folate intake by way of Urad Dal with Spinach. This would enhance your protein and folate intake both.
Urad Dal with Spinach, Healthy Urad Dal with Spinach
As an early morning health potion, try Anti-Cancer and Anti-Inflammation Spinach Juice. An apt blend of ingredients like spinach and tomatoes gives it a nice taste and consistency, while at the same time these ingredients are bursting with nutrients that work against cancer and inflammation, two of today’s killer diseases.
Anti- Cancer and Anti- Inflammation Spinach Juice
Also Read: 44 Vitamin B9, Folate Recipes.
• Zinc: Zinc is a nutrient which itself acts an antioxidant and thus has a role to play in immunity. It further also helps build WBC and T cells which are the warrior cells of the body. As a vegetarian source of zinc, include a variety of nourishing seeds like pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds and some healthy nuts like walnuts and almonds.
4 to 5 almonds and walnuts are best munched on in between meals. Date and Walnut Balls is yet another simple way to make up for this nutrient. Thanks to sweet and sticky dates, this sweet requires no sugar, which means it is not too high on calories.
Date and Walnut Balls
Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which help to build a healthy immune system. They can be roasted and had as a mouth-freshener. These will help add glow to your skin, fight diseases and also prevent chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. Learn How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds.
How To Roast Pumpkin Seeds, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Also Read: Top 22 Sources of Zinc
• Other antioxidants : Antioxidants and substance which help remove the potentially harmful free radicals from the body and thus prevent or stop cell damage including the damage to white blood cells. One such antioxidant is Vitamin E. Almonds contain a lot of healthy fats, fibre, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. You can include them in your diet by kicking off maida based rotis and including Almond Bhakri.
Other antioxidants include lycopene (eg. tomato), allium sulphur compound (eg. garlic), cryptoxanthins (eg. avocado), indoles (eg. cabbage) etc.
Include them in the form of Almond Avocado Toast and Garlic Vegetable Soup.
Almond and Avocado Toast, Toasted Almond Bread Topped with Avocados
Chia Seeds Pudding with Mixed Fruits and Walnuts with soothing flavour or coconut milk, the pleasant sweetness of honey, the unique texture of chia seeds and the juicy crunch of fruits and nuts, this pudding is truly an exciting treat. Chia seeds is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which helps to protect white blood cells.
Coconut Chia Seeds Pudding with Mixed Fruits and Walnuts
Also Read: 430 Antioxidant Rich Recipes.
All these nutrients together work to build the health and the number of WBC in the blood, thus strengthening your immune system.
WBC Count and Exercise
If you check your WBC count immediately after exercise, your count might be actually high. But there is nothing to worry about it. In a way, this strengthens your immune system and allows your body to identify disease causing organisms more easily than normal circumstances. However after exercise, the count drops back to normal. But excessive athletic training (marathon, ultra athletes, triathletes) can result in a significant decrease in WBC count. However this isn’t really a cause of worry. Discuss it with your doctor and trainer and chalk out a balance between antioxidant you pop up and your exercise regime.
Recipe Suggestions to Boost WBC Count
1. Sprouts and Palak Idli
2. Coconut Chia Seeds Pudding with Mixed Fruits and Walnuts
3. Flax Seed Shakarpara
Flax Seed Shakarpara, Diabetic Friendly
4. Flaxseeds Dry Chutney
Flaxseeds Dry Chutney, South Indian Flax Seeds Podi
5. Tomato Salsa
6. Oats Methi Multiflour Khakhra
Oats Methi Multiflour Khakhra
7. Orange Tabbouleh
8. Jowar Palak Appe
Jowar Palak Appe
9. Chana Dal Pancakes
Chana Dal Pancakes ( Gluten Free )
10. Pineapple Cucumber Salad
Pineapple Cucumber Salad ( Fibre Rich Salad)
11. Broccoli Soup
Broccoli Soup ( Pregnancy Recipe)
12. Orange, Grapefruit and Mint Salad
Orange, Grapefruit and Mint Salad
13. Carrot and Red Pepper Juice
Carrot and Red Pepper Juice
14. Bajra, Whole Moong and Green Pea Khichdi
Bajra, Whole Moong and Green Pea Khichdi
15. Anti- Cancer and Anti- Inflammation Spinach Juice
16. Nachni Paneer Pancake
Nachni Paneer Pancake
17. Jowar Methi Roti
Jowar Methi Roti