When the white blood cell count in the body falls below 3,500 WBCs per microliter of blood, it is referred to as Leukopenia. Symptoms of this condition include fever, cramps, diarrhea, sore gums, sneezing, sore throat, headache, etc. Leukopenia is basically the sign of a weak immune system, which is vulnerable to various infectious diseases. Not just a person suffering from this condition, but anybody whose WBC count is less than 4000 WBCs per microliter of blood has to take some steps to increase the white blood cells in their body. The simplest way to bring the WBC count back to normal is to make some changes to one's lifestyle and daily diet.
WBCs play a vital role in defending us against infections and foreign particles. They are produced from hematopoietic stem cells, i.e., the multipotent cells located in the bone marrow, and are found all over the body. White blood cells are grouped into different types, each of which is assigned a particular task -
- Neutrophils - Defend our body against bacteria
- Eosinophils - Defend our body against parasites
- Basophils - Function in allergic reactions
- Monocytes - Kill bacteria and destroy damaged cells
- Lymphocytes - Play an important role in producing antibodies
Other recommended foods include garlic, yogurt, almonds, green tea, ginseng, etc. All these foods provide certain nutrients which contribute to the well-being of your immune system. Garlic, for instance, contains a substance known as allicin, which doesn't just boost the production of white blood cells, but also flushes out various microorganisms from the body.
Foods containing beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, selenium, etc., also help in increasing white blood cells. In fact, zinc is widely considered one of the essential nutrients for proper functioning of the immune system as it acts as a catalyst and stimulates the production of WBCs in the body.
Eating healthy foods is one part, while restricting unhealthy foods is other. You should restrict the intake of, or avoid, foods which do more harm than good to your body. Sugar-rich foods and vegetable oils with polyunsaturated fats, for instance, hinder the growth of white blood cells and weaken your immune system, and therefore, are best avoided.
Ideally, your diet should not just include all the essential nutrients required by the body, but should also ensure a proper ratio of these nutrients. A 2:1 ratio, with 2 parts of fruits and vegetables and 1 part of meat and fish, is your best bet.
Spending hours in front of the computer and television is a strict no for some obvious reasons. On the other hand, simple activities -- such as gardening, or taking your dog for a walk -- are a definite yes. Stress is believed to be one of the major threats for the immune system. If such cases, simple activities, like gardening, are bound to help you relax and contribute to the overall well-being of your immune system.
Certain medications are also responsible for decline of white blood cells in the body. If you are using some prescribed medication, like diuretics or antihistamines, discontinuing the use of these medications will also show a significant rise in the WBC count. That, however, should only be done after consulting a doctor.
Other than the aforementioned measures to increase the WBC count, you will also have to take some precautionary measures, like maintaining personal hygiene and being cautious in the company of people suffering from contagious diseases, so that you don't contract any infectious diseases. A vulnerable immune system is a very serious condition. If not treated in time, there are high chances that it may lead to further complications, and even turn out to be life threatening at times.
Disclaimer: This article is purely for the purpose of providing information, and should not be used as a substitute for medical advice.