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Soluble fiber may boost your immune system


To know me is to know my borderline addiction to oatmeal: There's just something about a piping hot bowl of oats that soothes my surly disposition in the morning. I'm not an early riser.

But, apparently, my oatmeal breakfast may be improving more than my mood. A study recently published in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity shows soluble fiber, found in oats, apples, nuts and other foods, may strengthen the immune system.

In the study, scientists fed mice low-fat identical diets - except that one diet contained soluble fiber and another contained insoluble fiber - for six weeks and then induced illness using lipopolysaccharide, a substance that causes the body to mimic a bacterial infection. The researchers found that the mice that were fed soluble fiber were only half as sick as the other group and recovered 50 percent sooner.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Campaign researcher Gregory Freud, MD, said in a release:

Soluble fiber changes the personality of immune cells-they go from being pro-inflammatory, angry cells to anti-inflammatory, healing cells that help us recover faster from infection.

Photo by Nate Steiner

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