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Regina Bailey

Soluble Fiber Enhances the Immune System

By March 5, 2010

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Image: National Cancer Institute

We all know the old adage, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well, now we can include nuts, oats, citrus fruits, strawberries, carrots and other foods containing soluble fiber. Researchers have discovered that soluble fiber enhances the cells of our immune system by boosting their healing ability. Soluble fiber promotes the production of an anti-inflammatory protein that "changes the personality of immune cells," according to researcher Gregory Freund. "They go from being pro-inflammatory, angry cells to anti-inflammatory, healing cells." The reduction in inflammation could also improve obesity-related conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

The researchers also analyzed the benefits of insoluble fiber found in wheat, whole-grain products and green, leafy vegetables. While these foods help to promote passage of food through the digestive system, they did not enhance immune system abilities. The FDA currently recommends getting 28 to 35 grams of total fiber a day. Researchers suggest making sure to include soluble fiber in your diet, as most of the FDA recommendations pertain to insoluble fiber.

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