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Apples, Oats and Your Immune System

The soluble fiber found in these and other whole foods can help control cholesterol, and now it appears that it can also reduce inflammation and boost the immune system. New research from the University of Illinois found that soluble fiber can transform immune cells by increasing production of an anti-inflammatory protein, interleukin 4. In the study, laboratory mice were fed diets that were the same except for their fiber content - some received soluble fiber while the others consumed insoluble fiber. After six weeks, the researchers gave the mice injections that made them sick. Those on the diets including soluble fiber became half as sick as the animals on diets with the insoluble fiber; and the mice in the soluble fiber group recovered 50 percent faster. Now the investigators want to study whether soluble fiber can help protect overweight people from the harmful inflammatory effects of a high fat diet. In addition to apples and oats, you can get soluble fiber from beans, peas, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits and strawberries. The University of Illinois study will be published in the May 2010 issue of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity and is already available online.

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Reader Comments (4)

I wish the researchers didn't have to make the mice sick to learn things like this. In fact I wish that Dr Weil would only quote research that did not experiment on animals when sharing wisdom with us.

April 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

Thank you and we will pass your request on.

April 15, 2010 | Unregistered

I agree with Leslie!

April 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRich

I can't agree with either Leslie or Rich. The unfortunate truth is that sometimes animals have to be sacrificed in order to find out what is good or harmful for humans. In the scheme of things, humans are more important. Computer models - because of the always and rapidly evolving nature of technology - just won't cut it. I will always trust an animal model before I trust a model based on something non-living.

At the same time, I wish there were another way as well. But what is, is.

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIrene King
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