Most people are not entirely sure what their blood does. Many think of it as being like oil in a car; that it just circulates and circulates and somehow keeps things moist and lubricated. As much as it does tend to keep you from drying out, it actually does several very important things. Plus, not all blood is equal.
Some people have a low CBC, or Complete Blood Count, and it negatively affects their health. You don’t have to be anemic or HIV-positive to be negatively affected by low blood count, but you can actually live healthier and more productively by considering ways to boost that count, even if you are relatively healthy. Let me explain CBC and how you can increase it for the sake of your health.
Complete Blood Count (CBC) and What It Means for Health
Your body’s CBC is the sum of the components of your blood, which include red and white blood cells, and platelets. If you would like to get your CBC tested, consult your doctor or visit any licensed health clinics that will test your blood. Each of the three different blood components does something unique and essential for your body. That is why increasing their count can help make your body more efficient and healthier.
Your red blood cells are what transports oxygen through your body. When you breathe in, oxygen fills your lungs and is distributed to masses of tiny bronchioles which act as a packing center where oxygen molecules are bound to red blood cells.
From there, your blood stream spreads the oxygen throughout the body where it does its work of aiding cell respiration, and contributing to the necessary chemical changes that make your body absorb nutrients and expel waste. You could say that your metabolism is tied up directly with your red blood cell count. Low count can mean low energy and productivity and propensity toward sickness.
Your white blood cells do quite a different thing, but are just as involved in keeping you from sickness. These cells virtually make up the immune system. White blood cells confront foreign cells and particles that enter your body so that they do not cause problems for normal function. When your white blood cells are low, you experience more aptitude toward sickness and your immune system doesn’t do its job.
Finally, your platelets are fragments of cells, full of protein, that boost growth in cells and ensure that your blood clots when you bleed. When you experience low numbers of platelets (as in anemics), you notice bleeding in sensitive areas such as the gums and nose, and inability to properly heal after injury.
What You Can Do
If you suffer from one of the above conditions in a diagnosed and severe way (such as anemia, cancer, HIV, or have a history of blood clots), then the following advice won’t help you as much as it would a person who is otherwise healthy. But, if there are no underlying issues, taking the following steps can help boost your CBC and thus your health.
To begin, get your CBC tested by a professional and take steps to adjust your blood count from there. Depending on where you discern weakness in your CBC, here are a few tips to help you boost your numbers.
When it comes to red blood cells in someone without an underlying medical condition, a low count can be bolstered by supplementing your diet with iron. Iron deficiency is the leading cause of low red blood cell count.
When my wife went to the doctor for headaches and dizziness, he recommended that she simply boost her iron intake to ensure that her body was getting enough oxygen. His advice paid off, and while she was on the iron, her headaches decreased!
There are a few ways to get your daily iron. You can take iron tablets, which you can buy on any vitamin aisle, or you can try to add additional amounts of iron-rich foods to your diet, such as spinach, kale, and other leafy greens, as well as eggs, red meats, fish, and whole wheat breads.
The growth of white blood cells, on the other hand, can be promoted by taking additional vitamin A and C, as well as saying “no” to processed sugar and fatty foods. As is true above, leafy greens and lean meats are the best way to naturally increase your white blood cell count. Despite the usefulness of supplementing your diet with these foods and vitamins, your health is also linked to more personal matters.
Stress is one of the leading causes of diminished white blood cell count, and thus of low immune system. Whether you can escape your stressors or not, seek to find a healthy out by exercising, meditating, taking walks, or scheduling regular meetings with people who build you up and allow you to process your stress.
Finally, when it comes to boosting your platelet count, make sure you are getting plenty of vitamin K and calcium. Typically, you can get more than enough of vitamin K by eating one cup of kale or broccoli daily. Calcium in necessary because platelets are created in the bone marrow, and their clotting processes often require calcium to function properly. Your platelet function can diminish if you drink excessive amounts of alcohol as well.
All in all, for higher levels of health and happiness, get your CBC tested and take control of your blood count!