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Can Certain Vegetables Increase Your White Blood Cells?

author image Eliza Martinez
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.
Can Certain Vegetables Increase Your White Blood Cells?
Vegetables contain many nutrients. Photo Credit: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images

White blood cell production relies on an adequate intake of vitamins A, C and E and beta-carotene, which are nutrients found in many vegetables. Cancer, autoimmune disorders and infections can result in a low white blood cell count, but a diet rich in vegetables can help increase your levels. White blood cells are important because they fight bacteria and viruses that could cause illness, and a reduced count lowers your immunity. A multivitamin, taken in conjunction with plenty of vegetables, can help you get the recommended daily intake of white blood cell-boosting nutrients.

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Vitamin C

Red and green bell peppers.
Red and green bell peppers. Photo Credit: Evgeny Karandaev/iStock/Getty Images

Vitamin C aids in the production of white blood cells in your body, and boosting your intake may have a positive impact on your immunity. Eating at least six servings of fruits and vegetables will get you to the recommended 200 milligrams for optimal results. Vegetables that are high in vitamin C include red and green bell peppers, broccoli, baked potatoes and tomatoes.

Vitamin A

Eating carrots.
Eating carrots. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

An adequate intake of vitamin A is directly involved with the process of making white blood cells and supporting a healthy immune system. This nutrient will help your white blood cells fight illnesses and may increase the effectiveness of lymphocytes, a specific type of white blood cell. Vegetables that contain plenty of vitamin A are carrots, spinach, peas, tomatoes and red peppers.


Sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes. Photo Credit: Images

Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A in your body and offers the same white blood cell-boosting benefits. It increases the number of T cells, white blood cells that fight infection and cells that naturally kill off harmful bacteria and viruses. Brightly colored vegetables, particularly those that are yellow, red and orange, contain the most beta-carotene. Good choices include carrots, squash, leafy green vegetables, sweet potatoes, spinach and bell peppers.

Vitamin E

Tomatoes contain vitamin E.
Tomatoes contain vitamin E. Photo Credit: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Getting enough vitamin E in your diet allows your body to produce the white blood cells that find and destroy germs and cancer cells. It also aids in the production of B cells, which destroy bacteria that invade your body. Vegetables that contain a good dose of vitamin E include spinach, broccoli and tomatoes.


Tuna fish.
Tuna fish. Photo Credit: eskymaks/iStock/Getty Images

While vegetables are a good way to increase your white blood cell count, it is important to eat plenty of foods from the other foods groups as well, which increases your intake of zinc, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as other nutrients that aid in white blood cell production and immunity. For zinc, eat plenty of oysters, fortified cereals, beef and beans. Selenium is found in tuna, red snapper, shrimp, lobster, whole grains, brown rice, egg yolks and chicken. Good sources of omega-3s include flaxseed, salmon, tuna and mackerel.

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