Leukopenia, or low white blood cell counts (WBCs), can occur during chemotherapy and usually improves before and after treatment. White blood cells fight off harmful organisms like bacteria, viruses, and allergens, maintaining health. 

Eating essential vitamins and minerals strengthens WBCs, allowing the immune system to fight infections. Some foods with these vitamins can help WBCs return to normal faster. But what foods increase white blood cells? Below, you’ll find a list of the top foods that can boost your white blood cell count, and you can add them to your diet to reap these benefits. 

Related: Build Immunity with Good Nutrition

Green Tea

Green tea has been used medicinally for years due to its host of compounds that can enhance immune system function. One compound is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which promotes the activity of blood cells, while the antioxidants present in tea help combat oxidative stress in our bodies. Also, this drink also supports the growth of bacteria in our system, which plays a crucial role in maintaining a robust immune response.

Folate (Folic Acid), Vitamins B6 and B12

Folate and B vitamins are essential for having healthy immune function and white blood cells. Folate helps with DNA formation, and B vitamins help fight infections and perform DNA synthesis to produce and deliver new cells. B vitamins enhance white blood cell growth and help control the inflammatory response in your body. So, obtaining the right amount of these vitamins is crucial to improve your immunity. Common sources include: 

  • Animal Products 
  • Bananas
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Supplements like Thrive Ice Cream

Fruits and Vegetables

Eating fruits and vegetables are essential parts of a healthy diet, and they support your immunity because they come packed with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. For example, vitamin C helps ensure white blood cells function correctly and protect the body from infections. Folate helps your bone marrow mature the white blood cells, and beta-carotene, polyphenols, and flavonoids help shield cells from oxidative stress damage. These foods also fight general inflammation, protect the good bacteria in your gut, and help the cells communicate. Good sources include: 

  • Broccoli
  • Cantaloupe 
  • Guava
  • Kale
  • Kiwi
  • Pumpkin
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet Potatoes

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Cooked fish on plate

Lean Protein 

Adding lean protein sources to your diet means you get amino acids, which help with cell repair, growth, and function. Some proteins work as antibodies, which means they help find and kill pathogens that could make you sick. They also have a host of nutrients like B vitamins, iron, and zinc, supporting healthy WBC function. Sources include:  

  • Beans like black beans, kidney beans
  • Eggs 
  • Fish like cod, haddock, and tilapia)
  • Lentils
  • Low-fat dairy products like yogurt, Thrive Gelato, and cottage cheese
  • Skinless chicken breast 
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
  • Turkey

Micronutrients 

Micronutrients are the things that help your white blood cells multiply and work to fight off infections. Minerals like selenium, iron, and Vitamins A, B, C, D, and E help keep your skin and mucous membranes healthy. Vitamin D helps make your immune system stronger so you can fight pathogens better, and other vitamins protect your cells from oxidative stress damage, which can weaken them. Eating foods high in these micronutrients is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system. Sources include: 

  • Vitamin A – Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach
  • B Vitamins – Whole grains, beans, poultry, fish
  • Vitamin C – Citrus fruits, bell peppers, strawberries
  • Vitamin D – Fatty fish, fortified dairy products, egg yolks
  • Vitamin E – Almonds, spinach, sunflower seeds
  • Iron – Red meat, lentils, tofu, spinach
  • Selenium – Brazil nuts, tuna, sunflower seeds

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are the things that help to regulate your immune system and keep you healthier. They boost your body’s white blood cell count and make lymphocytes and neutrophils work more efficiently. When you eat them, the fatty acids attach to the cell membranes, change lipid rafts, and affect the communication pathways for your cells. This makes the cells more flexible, enabling white blood cells to quickly get to any infection source.

They also reduce inflammation by lowering your body’s production of inflammatory mediators and speeding up the healing process. This combination of improved cell function and reduced inflammation promotes a healthier, more responsive immune system, emphasizing the importance of omega-3s. A few sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include: 

  • Chia seeds
  • Fish oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Oysters 
  • Salmon
  • Soybeans
  • Walnuts

Related: Benefits of Thrive Fortified Nutritional Ice Cream

Seeds and Nuts

Nuts and seeds come packed with essential nutrients for the immune system, including zinc, vitamin E, and healthy fats. Zinc is crucial for the growth and function of white blood cells, while vitamin E protects WBCs from oxidative damage and enhances their ability to consume other cells. Some seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation and improve the immune system’s function. Including these things in your diet can boost your immune system and maintain healthy white blood cells. Types to incorporate into your diet include:

  • Almonds 
  • Cashews
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts
Bowl of yogurt with berries

Yogurt

There are a lot of good bacteria in yogurt, which helps fight off harmful bacteria. It also helps your immune system work better, which makes more white blood cells. Yogurt also has a high vitamin D content, which helps keep the immune system in check and boosts the body’s natural defenses against sickness.

Discover a quick and sweet way to boost your nutrient and fiber intake with Thrive Ice Cream. Upgrade your immune function and stay healthy while enjoying a cool, refreshing dessert-based supplement.

Zinc

Zinc is crucial for maintaining a healthy immune system and ensuring sufficient white blood cells (WBCs). It plays a vital role in enzyme reactions, promoting cell growth, division, and maturation. Zinc also aids in properly functioning neutrophils and natural killer cells, two vital components of the body’s immune system. Zinc deficiency can hinder immune responses, highlighting the importance of maintaining a robust defense system. Sources of zinc include:

  • Beef
  • Dairy products like Thrive Ice Cream
  • Eggs
  • Lamb
  • Legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and beans
  • Nuts like cashews and almonds
  • Pork
  • Seeds 
  • Shellfish 
  • Whole grains

Increase Your Immunity Naturally

A robust immune system is largely influenced by consuming healthy foods and drinks. These foods provide antioxidants, micronutrients, essential fatty acids, seeds, nuts, lean proteins, and probiotics. Green tea, fruits, vegetables, yogurt, and Thrive Ice Cream are rich in nutrients that enhance white blood cell production and overall immune defense. These foods boost the number of white blood cells and strengthen the body against diseases.
Related: Nutrition is Key to Improving Health and Well-being


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