All of your blood cells are important for keeping you alive! But if you had to choose just one type, which one would it be?
Red Blood Cells
Red blood cells are like the postal workers of your body, delivering fresh oxygen to all your vital organs. Red blood cells also remove carbon dioxide from your body, transporting it to the lungs for you to exhale.
Your bone marrow acts as the factory where these cells are made, and the protein hemoglobin is the package that carries it. Red blood cells have a long and happy life of around 120 days, before they die and go to that big blood cell in the sky.
Red blood cells are round with a flattish, indented center, like doughnuts without a hole. Yum!
If you keep your blood cells in top shape, make sure you have good foods rich in iron, and vitamins B-2, B-12, and B-3.
White Blood Cells
White blood cells, also called leukocytes account for only about 1% of your blood, but they have an important job. They protect you against illness and disease.
White blood cells are like the bouncers of your immune system, deciding who gets to join the party and who is getting kicked to the curb. They flow through your bloodstream on the prowl for viruses, bacteria, and other invaders that threaten your health.
Like red blood cells, white blood cells are made in the bone marrow. They are then sent to your blood and lymph tissues for storage. White blood cells have shorter lives than red blood cells, some as short as 1 to 3 days. In order have a proper supply your bone marrow has to be continuously making them.
Types of white blood cells:
- Monocytes are the largest type of white blood cell, and help to break down bacteria.
- Lymphocytes create antibodies to fight against bacteria, viruses, and other baddies.
- Neutrophils kill and digest bacteria and fungi. They are the most numerous type of white blood cell and your first line of defense against infection.
- Basophils secrete chemicals such as histamine that help control the body’s immune response when invaders appear.
- Eosinophils attack and kill parasites and cancer cells, and help with allergic responses.
Now you know all about red and white blood cells! So whose team will you choose? Pick your side and let the blood bath begin!
Art by Elena Daly