Discover the effects of dietary fiber on the immune system
Did you know that about 70-80% of your immune system lies in the gut (1)? That is why eating healthy food is so important to the health of your immune system. One of the most important nutrients for your immune system is FIBER. Fiber interacts with gut bacteria when you eat fiber-rich foods from natural sources such as fruits and vegetables. From here, the gut bacteria will generate something called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which will send anti-inflammatory signals into your gut. The main anti-inflammatory signal that is generated is called T-regulatory cells. These T-regulatory cells are important to the function of your body to calm down inflammation which is vital to the health of your immune system. You must continuously eat fibers so that your body can send anti-inflammatory signals in your gut along with the rest of your body since autoimmune diseases tend to have low T-regulatory cells, especially during flares.
Fiber-Rich Foods To Support The Immune System:
Edamame is not only a good source of antioxidants and protein, but it is also rich in soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps to reduce the risk of diabetes and reduce high blood cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber helps your digestive system to pass food quickly through the body. Edamame is found in many Asian cuisines, so the next time you eat at an Asian restaurant, you know what to order!
You can find whole grains at the grocery store, such as whole wheat bread and whole wheat pasta. Grains are a great source of insoluble fiber, which will help regulate your digestive system. If you get constipation, whole grains will help kickstart movement. Whole grains will also allow you to be full faster, which helps with weight management.
Although artichokes are a great source of fiber, the artichoke heart is the part where it has the most fiber. Artichokes have been used as a digestive aid for the gut to reduce inflammation and strengthen your gut. It also helps with diarrhea and constipation, which keeps your body healthy.
Don’t be fooled by the size. Chia seeds are small but mighty. They are a great source of fiber and can improve intestinal (gut) health in addition to cholesterol levels and the heart. Chia seeds are composed of soluble fiber, which are fibers that absorb water in your stomach. This allows you to feel more full and satisfied when you eat them, ultimately helping with weight management. Not to mention, chia seeds are also an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, and other essential nutrients.
Berries such as blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are good sources of fiber. They are high in fiber and will help you eat your recommended daily fiber intake (2). Berries are a delicious way to help you with weight management, given that they are low in carbs and high in nutrients!
Did you know that avocados are considered a berry? Like the berries listed above, avocados are nutritional and filled with fiber! This will help produce healthy bacteria in your digestive system and improve your gut health! They are also a great source of healthy fats, vitamins, and many other nutrients. Eating avocados can improve your overall health. The next time you buy avocados, be sure to make avocado toast on whole-wheat bread!
Out of the many fruits in the world, pears are one of the top fruits to pick for fiber! Pears and apples are fruits that are very high in fiber which many doctors recommend. Pears have prebiotic fiber that can help your gut health by softening and increasing stool to prevent constipation.
It should come as no surprise that fruits and vegetables are excellent foods to support your suggested daily intake of fiber. A popular saying is, “the darker the vegetable color is, the higher the nutritional value.” Broccoli is a darker color vegetable with high fiber content which helps maintain gut flora to reduce gut inflammation. In addition, broccoli provides nutrients such as iron, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K1, manganese, and folate, which benefit your immune system. These vitamins and minerals also help reduce heart disease and lower blood cholesterol.
Incorporate fiber-rich foods into your daily meals to improve your overall health. So, keep on eating fiber! Your immune system and gut will thank you! Book a FREE meet and greet appointment with us at www.drlifestyle.org to discuss your nutritional needs and health goals today!
- Wiertsema SP, van Bergenhenegouwen J, Garssen J, Knippels LMJ. The Interplay between the Gut Microbiome and the Immune System in the Context of Infectious Diseases throughout Life and the Role of Nutrition in Optimizing Treatment Strategies. Nutrients. 2021;13(3):886. Published 2021 Mar 9. doi:10.3390/nu13030886.Accessed October 10, 2022.
- Guan Z-W, Yu E-Z, Feng Q. Soluble dietary fiber, one of the most important nutrients for the gut microbiota. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8624670/. Published November 11, 2021. Accessed October 10, 2022.
- KC; VCESSTK. Nutrition and the immune system: A complicated tango. Nutrients. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32204518/. Published March 19, 2020. Accessed October 10, 2022.
- Owczarek D D, Mach T, Cibor D, Domagala-Rodacka R, Rodacki T. Diet and nutritional factors in inflammatory bowel diseases. World journal of gastroenterology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26811635/. Published January 21, 2016. Accessed October 10, 2022.