What foods can I eat to improve my red and white blood cell counts?
I just had a blood test which is in between my third and fourth chemo treatment and it is very low. What is the best food to eat before next Thursday when I have my next checmo session to get the red count up?
When undergoing chemotherapy many patients experience a reduction in both their immune fighting white cells and their oxygen carrying red cells. This may leave a person at risk for infection and feeling quite fatigued and short of breath. Eating a healthy diet overall, one high vegetables, fruits and lean protein can help your body heal and help your blood counts recover as quickly as possible during cancer treatment.
Low red counts (hemoglobin and hematocrit) can be helped along by consuming a diet that is high in iron containing foods. Foods rich in iron include whole grains, such as bran cereal and cream of wheat, meat, fish, poultry, dark green, leafy vegetables, sunflower seeds and many types of legumes or beans.
A diet high in vegetables and fruits is also rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients that will help to boost your immune system. Garlic and ginger add wonderful flavor to food and have been shown to increase white cell count which may reduce the risk of infections. Minerals like zinc and selenium are also fundamental to the proper functioning of the immune system. A good multivitamin would be very supportive.
Finally, exercise has been shown to be quite important in managing the side effects of chemotherapy and improving immune function. A slow gentle walk is enough to begin until your energy levels improve.
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