White blood cells are an important part of the immune system because they help us fight off infection. People whose immunity is compromised, through diseases such as AIDS, cancer or hepatitis, may have a low white blood cell count. Inadequate levels of white blood cells leave these patients open to more infections, which can be dangerous. Diet and medications can help increase white blood cells in some people.
Eat foods that contain folic acid so your body can produce more white blood cells. Folic acid is a type of B vitamin and is often added to ready-to-eat cereals. The vitamin is also present in milk, oranges, grapefruit and other citrus fruits, spinach and beans.
Drink green tea to boost your immune system and allow your body to create more white blood cells. Green tea is a source of antioxidants, which helps your body fight off infection. According to a study performed by Canada's University of Sherbrooke, green tea slows the replication of some viruses, which in turn means that you may not lose as many white blood cells to fighting the virus.
Consume foods that are rich in protein, such as eggs, lean meats, fish, cheese and soy products. Researchers from the Jean Mayer Research Center on Aging, affiliated with Tufts University, report that people who do not eat enough protein are not able to replenish white blood cells. Divide your body weight in pounds by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms. The Jean Mayer Research Center estimates that eating between 0.8 and 1 g of protein per kilogram of body weight daily can help increase white blood cells.
Take a multivitamin if you are not getting enough nutrition from your diet. In addition to folic acid, vitamins A and C are also important to white blood cell development. Fresh produce and whole grains can provide you with these vitamins, but a multivitamin including these nutrients may give you an added boost.
Speak to your doctor to determine if you could benefit from taking a growth hormone called GM-CSF. This hormone has been used in AIDS patients who have low white blood cell counts. Harvard Medical School, one of the participants in a study of this sort, explains that infusions of GM-CSF may be able to increase white blood cell counts in some people within a couple of weeks.