There are different types of white blood cells found in your blood system that prevent you when it is attacked by harmful agents. The bone marrow is constantly producing these cells which are stored in your blood and lymphatic tissues.
Sometimes your body is not able to produce enough white blood cells due to many reasons such as cancer or its chemotherapy treatment, Crohn's disease, tuberculosis (TB), HIV, lupus, biological therapies of interleukin-2 or rituximab and rheumatoid arthritis etc.
If you take medicines that treat infections, seizures or high blood pressure then it may also cause low white blood count also known as neutropenia or leukopenia.
The signs and symptoms commonly associated with low white blood count are fever and chills, mouth sores, red or white patches in the mouth, swelling and redness, pain or burning when urinating or foul-smelling urine, sore throat, severe cough or shortness of breath, pus, redness or swelling from a cut, sore, or incision, and unusual vaginal discharge or itching.
Luckily, there are many healthy foods that can keep your immune system healthy by increasing your white blood cells count.
Just incorporate these foods in your diet without annoying your palate and you’ll be able to fight off foreign infectious elements.
Live and active bacteria in yogurt such as lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium lactis may help fight diseases.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that yogurt consumption can strengthen the immune system by stimulating cytokine production, macrophage activity, and lymphocyte mitogenic response.
Include a bowl of yogurt topped with pomegranate seeds in your daily diet to enjoy the health benefits of this food.
One of the best immunity-boosting citrus fruits, orange is a good source of vitamin C.
According to a 2006 study published in Annals of nutrition and metabolism journal, vitamin C supplements improved antimicrobial and natural killer cell activities, chemotaxis, lymphocyte proliferation and delayed-type hypersensitivity.
So eating citrus fruits like oranges and kiwis would help your body improve the immune system.
You can eat a fresh orange anytime for an extra dose of nourishment. Just peel the skin or enjoy it as juice. It is much healthier than other commercial drinks that may have preservatives, chemicals and artificial coloring agents inside them. It’s best to drink the orange juice at room temperature.
Garlic is one of the best sources of ajoene, allicin and thiosulfinates compounds which are high in sulfur.
A 2012 study published in African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines has found that garlic extract improved the activation of T-lymphocytes and natural killer cells particularly in Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) patients.
So garlic consumption may help you fight with infections by its immuno-stimulating properties.
Eat 3 raw cloves a day especially in cold season to prevent catching flu. If it is too bitter to be eaten as raw, just mince a clove of garlic and steep it in hot water for about 5 minutes. Drink this concoction after straining the garlic out.
4. Green Tea
Green tea is high in epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG an antioxidant known to boost metabolism of body. Besides, it's also rich in amino acid L-theanine that may help in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells.
A 1994 study of Zhe Zhiang Medical University suggests that green tea polyphenols boosted the immune function of cancer patients.
Thus, the refreshing green tea with ginger, honey and mint leaves becomes the best beverage to enjoy in any season along with those favorite burgers.
Carrots are good sources of beta carotene, vitamin A, falcarinol, minerals, and anti-oxidants. Beta carotene and vitamin A plays an important role in good performance of your immune system.
A 2015 study published in Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research has concluded that carrot extract strengthens the immune system by increasing the white blood cells count.
So, vacate some space in your garden to plant this sweet root vegetable or get a bunch of carrots from the local market to enjoy them as snacks.
Though all edible mushrooms are considered to be immune-boosting sources but according to a study done by Dr. Shoji Shibata, a professor at Tokyo University, Agaricus Blazei Murrill mushroom variety was found to be most effective of all.
It is found to have the highest concentration of Beta-glucans which are long-chain polysaccharides considered to be the most potent immune enhancing substances discovered till date. Since they are high in beta glucans, they can boost the production of NK-cells and T-cells in your body to help prevent you against various infections.
You can enjoy a spicy mushroom curry or make its soup by cooking mushrooms and onions with milk. For a pleasing texture don’t forget to garnish your mushroom soup with grated cheese.
7. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene which can strengthen your immune system by increase your body’s T-cell and natural killer cells count.
A 2005 study published in Nutrition journal suggests that sweet potatoes helped in improvement of diabetic symptoms by stimulating human immunity.
So include sweet potatoes in your diet as it may help you fight infection by killing harmful viruses and bacteria.
Though most of the cruciferous vegetables are supposed to be immune boosting foods, broccoli is by far the most potent. It contains various antioxidants, vitamins A, E and C to keep you safe from various germs and infections.
According to a 2008 study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, sulforaphane in broccoli, activates a set of antioxidant genes and enzymes in particular immune cells that collectively fight with injurious free radicals to protect you from various diseases.
Enjoy broccoli raw as salad (washed thoroughly) or steam it for just few minutes as heat may destroy many potent healthful components.
9. Astragalus Root
Herbalists have classified astragalus tonics as adaptogens and immuno-stimulants that can keep your immune system healthy by boosting your overall metabolic functions.
A 1988 study published in journal of clinical and laboratory immunology suggests that its use can increase natural killer (NK) cell activity, potentiate activity of monocytes and help strengthen your immune system.
10. Cat’s Claw
Cat’s claw vine is widely used as an immune-enhancing supplement.
According to 2008 lab study published in International Pharmacology journal, the cat’s claw oxindole alkaloids were found to have immunostimulating properties like increasing phagocytotic activity, synthesis of white blood cells and enhancing T-helper cell function.
In addition to these food sources you cannot ignore red bell peppers, kiwis, barley, ginger, chicken soup, and fishes that can increase white blood cells and make your immune system healthy.
To sum up, low white blood cell counts in your body are signs of a suppressed immune system caused by unhealthy dietary and lifestyle, stress, natural aging or due to any other medical reason. It will make you fall ill and catch infections easily however by including these foods in your diet you can keep your immune system right.