English Across the Curriculum


What Blood Is Made Of

Blood is a mixture of fluid and solid matter.

Plasma is the liquid part of our blood. It makes up about 50 – 60 % of it. Plasma consists mostly of water but many other substances are in it. It contains dissolved food, chemicals that control our growth and do other jobs, proteins, minerals and waste products.

Red blood cells look like flat round discs. They contain haemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen to the body and gives blood its red colour. Each drop of blood has about 300 million of these red cells.

White blood cells, also called leukocytes, fight infections and harmful substances that invade the body. Most of these cells are round and colourless. They have different sizes and shapes. White blood cells are not as numerous as red ones. For every 700 red blood cells there is only one white blood cell.

Platelets are tiny bodies that are much smaller than red blood cells. They stick to the edges of a cut and form blood clots to stop bleeding. The blood of a normal adult has about 2 trillion platelets.

Blood components

Image (altered) : Alan Sved, CC BY-SA 4.0,
via Wikimedia Commons