Amidst the outbreak of Corona virus which has been announced as global pandemic, our immune system has become something which we need to pay more attention to. Consisting of biological cells which are responsible for our body’s ability to fight off pathogens, our immune system needs to be improved in order to keep us from diseases caused by infections of virus, bacteria, or parasites. Some of the things that we can do to boost immunity include: keeping ourself and our surrounding clean, engaging in physical activities, having enough sleep and indulging in nutritious and immune-boosting meals.
But, how exactly is our food related to our immune system?
We must’ve heard the term “you are what you eat,” which means that our health depends a lot on what we consume. Therefore, we should always consume a nutrient-rich diet to keep our body function working properly. Those necessary nutrients are carbs, protein, fat, vitamin, mineral and fiber.
Dietary fiber can be classified by its physical properties as soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. While both are widely known to be beneficial for human’s health, especially for the digestive health, soluble dietary fiber has more benefits to improve immune system rather than insoluble one.
The reason being that soluble dietary fiber serves as food for good bacteria in the colon. Once it reaches the digestive tract, the soluble dietary fiber will be fermented by the bacteria to produce short chain fatty acid (SCFA) which has the ability to improve immune system by preventing inflammation.
Additionally, soluble dietary fiber has been proven to be able to boost the production of anti-inflammation protein called interleukin-4 (IL-4). This protein can increase antibody secretion and subsequently, strengthen the immunity. Hence, the consumption of dietary fiber, especially the soluble one, is highly recommended to prevent virus infection.
Dietary fiber is naturally present in various fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. When we consume inadequate dietary fiber in our diet, we shall add other high fiber products in order to protect our immune system.