Blood is made up of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body while the white blood cells fight infections and platelets help in blood clotting. Blood count is a determination of the number of each of these cells through a complete blood count test.
The complete blood count test can be done to evaluate a person’s overall health, to diagnose specific health conditions or monitor ongoing ones and to offer medical treatment for certain diseases. Depending on age and gender, normal blood count ranges are as follows:
- Red blood cells 4.5 to 5.5 million cells/mm3 for men and 4 to 5 million cells/mm3 for women.
- White blood cells 5,000 to 10,000 cells/mm3
- Platelets 140,000 to 400,000 mm3
This can, however, vary in children and pregnant women.
A low red blood cell count could mean you have anaemia; however, not all cases are the same. Having a low blood count in any of the three cells is something that needs to be looked into to determine its cause, after which the necessary treatment can be offered. A diet adjustment is one of the recommendations that the doctor could make to help you increase your blood count.
Here are examples of foods that can aid in increasing your blood count:
- Iron Rich Foods
Red meat like beef, white meat like chicken, dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, beans, legumes, iron-fortified cereals and dried fruits like raisins.
- Foods rich in Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9)
These include dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, lentils, peas, nuts and enriched cereals and breads.
- Folate rich foods (Vitamin B-12)
Beef liver, dried beans, spinach and other leafy green vegetables, fortified cereals, breads and pasta.
- Vitamin C- rich foods
These are important because they help in absorption of iron in the body. Some of the sources of this vitamin are citrus fruits like oranges and tangerines, broccoli, kiwi fruit and peppers (both red and green).
- Vitamin D rich foods
These include: fish liver oils, egg yolk, fortified milk and yoghurt, fortified cereals, fortified dairy alternatives and supplements.
- Foods rich in Vitamin K
Examples include pumpkin, broccoli, leafy greens like turnip greens and spinach, soybeans and soybean oil.
Green leafy vegetables are a source of most of the nutrients required to increase blood count and are therefore, very important to include in your diet. Also ensure you take lots of water because water is makes up a significant percentage (approximately 55%) of your blood and aids in blood flow among several other health benefits.
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