Last weekend I learned my seven year old niece has a white blood cell count that is on the low end of the normal range. I began to wonder why her white blood count (WBC) is different from her younger sister who has healthy numbers according to her mom. It was then that I started thinking about their diets and how their eating patterns are very different.
It seems to be a constant struggle to get my seven-year old niece to eat vegetables or healthy food; whereas, her four year old sister proudly tells her mom that she wants “healthy food”. My sister jokingly blames me for influencing her.
Are my older niece’s eating patterns affecting her white blood cell count?
Our white blood cells fight off infections and keep us healthy. In order to keep our immune system functioning well we need to give it the right mixture of fuel: exercise, inner calm and a nutritious diet.
Check out your local recreation department for activities such as adult kickball or ask a friend to go on a 20 minute walk — outside! Some studies indicate that moderate exercise helps boost the immune system. “…A regular exercise program of brisk walking can bolster many defenses of the immune system, including the antibody response and the natural killer (T cell) response,” according to The Cleveland Clinic.
Stress, chronic stress, weakens us. We forget to eat, or worse overeat. We become tired and moody. Stress puts all systems on alert! Relaxing may help relieve the negative effects of stress.
Can’t exactly hop on the next jet plane to Fiji? You’re not alone. Try taking a yoga class, reading a book, taking a bubble bath, or simply lighting a candle, sitting down in a comfortable position, closing your eyes and silencing your mind for ten minutes. Alternatively, take a walk with a friend and agree to spend just five minutes of that time in silence and really notice your surroundings, thoughts and feelings.
Does Vitamin C and Zinc really boost the immune system? Before we look at how these function in the body, did you know that blood cells are formed in the bone marrow?
Vitamin C is an important antioxidant and helps fight free radicals. Free radicals occur through some reactions in our bodies and may also form through external pollution such as second hand smoke. Vitamin C is a defender against their damage. Vitamin C is also important in important in the production of collagen. Collagen is used by the body to form connective tissue in skin, tendons and bones.
Vitamin C is widespread throughout our food supply, although children and the elderly who do not eat enough fruits and vegetables may at risk for deficiency. It is recommended adults consume 75 to 90 milligrams of Vitamin C daily.
Three sources of Vitamin C
- 1 medium orange
- 1/2 cup of strawberries
- 1/2 cup cooked broccoli
Zinc is a trace mineral in our body. When anything is a trace mineral it means we need it in minuscule or trace amounts. However, this trace mineral accomplishes quite a lot in our bodies. First, it is part of all cells and is involved in cell growth, nutrient metabolism, and ridding free radicals. It is also part thyroid function and bone development to name a few.
Who needs zinc the most?
Infants, children, teenagers and pregnant women need zinc because they are growing and developing new tissue.
In large doses zinc can cause vomiting, diarrhea, fever and exhaustion. It is recommended adults consume 8 to 11 milligrams of zinc daily, which is easily mostly attained through animal protein.
Three sources of Zinc
- 3 oz of animal protein
- 3 oz of shrimp
- 1/2 cup of chickpeas/garbanzo beans