Fall is around the corner (we hope!) which means it’s time to boost our immune system to beat the drop in temperature. A recent study found that beta-glucans (found in oats) actually help immune cells find and get to sites of infection quicker. Beta-glucan is the soluble fiber in oats that make them effectively lower cholesterol. The same fiber may have a role in your immune system as well. Some types of beta-glucan enhance the function of immune cells, including cells that consume bacteria, according to an article in the December 2011 issue of the “Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism.” A review published in November 2010 in “Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care” journal concluded that beta-glucans seem to effectively enhance immune function and lower susceptibility to infection.
Other ways to boost your immune system:
- Exercise (Walk, don’t drive)
- Sleep (Move your bedtime up, Night Owls!)
- Lower Stress (Easier said than done)
- Laugh (Here is an excuse to watch your favorite comedy!)
Researchers have found that the positive emotions associated with laughter decrease stress hormones and increase certain immune cells while activating others. In a study conducted at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, healthy adults who watched a funny video for an hour had significant increases in immune system activity. So it’s time to eat your oats, amp up your exercise routine, move your bedtime up, reduce your stress load by not procrastinating, and watch your favorite comedy!
- Colorado State University: Gluten-Free Diet Guide for People With Newly Diagnosed Celiac Disease
- Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Gluten-Free Diet -- Imprudent Dietary Advice for the General Population?
- USDA National Agricultural Library: Dietary, Functional and Total Fiber
- Harvard Health Publications: Going Gluten Free Just Because? Here’s What You Need to Know
- National Foundation for Celiac Awareness: What Is Celiac Disease?
- USDA Agriculture Research Service: National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
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We know you’re careful about what you eat at meal times—lots of veggies, healthy protein, complex carbs. But snack time can be tricky because many “healthy” snack bars out there are loaded with sugar and calories or packed with preservatives and other ingredients concocted in a lab, not a kitchen.
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