Staying healthy is an effort that is most effectively obtained by a healthy diet. Your body is structured to fight off invaders that may weaken the immune system and invite disease, but sometimes it needs a boost from an outside source. Beta Glucans are food sourced weapons in the fight against diseases. They naturally boost the immune system by optimizing its effectiveness.
While your body doesn’t produce beta glucans naturally, the best sources come from soluble fibers like grains, beans, fruits, lentils, oat bran, and peas. Beta Glucans also aid in digestion and lowers cholesterol. They work by stimulating immune cells and releasing cytokines, chemicals that help immune cells communicate with one another. Beta Glucans also stimulate lethal white blood cells (lymphocytes) that fight off pathogens.
Beta glucans improve the immune response to many conditions, including:
- Common colds/flu
- Crohn’s disease
- Ear infections
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Irritable bowel disease
- Liver problems
- Lyme disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ulcerative colitis
The best sources of beta glucans are in whole grains, especially oats and barley. Wheat and rye have lower beta-glucan fiber than oats and barley, but they still contain significant amounts.
Mushrooms, especially shiitake, have particularly high levels of anti-carcinogenic activity. Dates contain beta-D-glucan that’s both soluble and insoluble. The solubility allows beta-D-glucan to bind to dietary cholesterol and remove it from your body through waste. It also helps keep blood glucose levels even by slowing the rate at which the small intestine absorbs simple sugars.
You should always check with your healthcare provider before taking immune-boosting supplements like beta glucan, especially Beta-1, 3D Glucan. You should avoid them entirely if you are gluten sensitive or taking any immune depressing drugs.