To understand everything that's going to be written in this article, firstly, we will tell you something about the immune system itself. The immune system is a complicated network of cells and proteins that defends the body against infection. It remembers every germ (microbe) it has ever defeated to quickly recognize and destroy the microbe if it re-enters the body. It is composed of organs, cells, and chemicals that work together to fight infection. White blood cells (leukocytes), antibodies, the complement system, the lymphatic system, the spleen, the thymus, and the bone marrow are primary parts of your immunity.
To help you comprehend this better, the first example of a created immunity is chickenpox. Once an antibody was formed, a copy was stored in the body so that if the same antigen appears again, our body immediately fights against it and destroys it before it manifests on the skin. Some infections can cause a rise in body temperature or fever. Fever is also a second example of an immune system response. Some microbes can be killed by a temperature increase. Fever also initiates the body's healing process.
As we get older, our immune system becomes stronger because we've been exposed to more pathogens and developed more immunity. As a result, teens and adults get sick less frequently than children.
Image 1: White Blood Cells (Leukocytes)
Choose a healthy lifestyle as your first line of protection. Simply following general health standards will go a long way toward ensuring that your immune system is always in top operating order. Following basic good-health principles is the most important action you can take to ensure that your immune system is functioning effectively on a natural basis. If you cannot follow all the rules given by nutritionists, maybe you can take some advice from us. And even though we like all the biscuits you can find in our Complete Collection of Biscuit Types, on the other hand, we also like to try some new cookies that not just are amazingly tasty but also improve our health. That leads us to the cookies that are fulfilled with... guess what? Beta-glucan! Have you never heard? That's fine, neither did we until we started researching about it and realized that this fiber could help us stay healthy through this chilly winter that's on its way.
Beta-glucan is a soluble fiber that does not occur naturally in the body. It can be found in:
It is composed of polysaccharides or sugars that have been combined. β-glucan can offer you several health benefits but the most important ones include lowering cholesterol, improving blood sugar management, and boosting the immune system.
The structure of beta-glucans derived from various sources differs slightly. These structural differences can have a big impact on β-activity. Glucan's differences in the length of the polysaccharide chain, the extent of branching, and the length of those branches, for example, can result in material that can be extracted with hot water, such as mushroom β-glucans, and insoluble cell wall components, such as yeast β-glucans, with different molecular weights. In vitro studies have shown that large molecular weight or specific beta-glucans (such as zymosan) can directly activate leukocytes, increasing their phagocytic, cytotoxic, and antimicrobial activities, as well as the production of reactive oxygen and nitrogen intermediates. Yeast β-glucan is mostly investigated because it is easily purified, and mushrooms β-glucans are mostly investigated because there are a lot of experiments done in Japan, China, and Korea.
Firstly, this soluble fiber is not digested itself but it does slow food passage in the intestines. Consequently, carbohydrates are absorbed more slowly which results in more consistent blood sugar levels. Since diabetes is a leading health problem in the world, consuming food rich in beta-glucan can help you achieve normal blood sugar levels.
Secondly, beta-glucan found in oats is often used as the main trump card in a fight against high cholesterol. Studies have shown that oat-derived beta-glucan can significantly reduce levels of total and LDL (''bad'') cholesterol. At the same time, it doesn't impact HDL (''good'') cholesterol levels or triglycerides.
And finally, even though more research is necessary, consuming beta-glucan boosts your immunity. Over the last 40 years, the role of 1,3-glucans from yeast, fungi, mushrooms, and seaweed as biological immunomodulators has been well documented. 1,3-glucans have been shown in vitro, in animals, and in humans to enhance the responsiveness and function of immune cells, stimulating both humoral and cellular immunity.
Only a few human studies have examined β-glucans' immune function. Three clinical studies showed that intravenous yeast β-(1,3; 1,6)-D-glucan pretreatment of high-risk surgical patients reduced infection incidence, shortened intensive care unit length of stay, and prolonged survival in comparison to a saline placebo injection.
In human trials, the tested (and recommended) daily dose for activation of the immune system has remained in the range of 100–500 mg, although a daily dose of 3 g is indicated for lowering cholesterol levels.
Now when we said everything you need to know about this magical compound, let's start with mushrooms - why they are important in our diet, and how beta-glucan fits in the whole picture.
Mushrooms are low in calories and fat, cholesterol-free, and abundant in vitamins (e.g., B1, B2, B12, and C) and minerals (selenium and copper). They contain high concentrations of antioxidants (ergothioneine and glutathione) which evidence suggests are beneficial in preventing neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Additionally, mushrooms are comprised of anti-inflammatory agents which are thought to help with depression as well as reduce stress. Furthermore, research has suggested that consuming mushrooms help with sleep disorders and reduces the risk of chronic diseases, including some cancers.
Specific varieties of mushrooms have additional compounds which have been shown to improve health and wellbeing.
Mushrooms with enhanced medicinal properties are devoted to the discovery of compounds capable of modulating the immune systems of humans. Due to the presence of numerous bioactive components, mushrooms exhibit:
β-glucans make up the majority of the mushroom cell wall and are critical for the mushroom's biological activity.
All mushrooms include beta-glucans, which are a form of complex carbohydrate that stimulates the immune system and aids in the suppression of tumor growth. Mushrooms are active on both sides of the field in your immune system: they help to protect you and help to heal you. Mushrooms such as cordyceps and turkey tails, which are used in defense, directly combat viruses and bacteria. These substances are referred to as "immune stimulants."
On the offensive, mushrooms (such as reishi and shiitake) can help maintain and even boost your immune system and its components, such as bone marrow and white blood cells, by acting as a natural antibiotic. "Immune tonics" are the term used to describe these mushrooms.
Ashwagandha, commonly known as Withania somnifera, winter cherry, or Indian ginseng, is a shrub native to India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. The plant, including its roots and berries, has been used in Ayurveda, India's system of traditional medicine, for thousands of years, but its popularity in the United States has recently risen to unprecedented levels.
In a study published in September 2019 in the journal Medicine, researchers found that those who took 240 milligrams (mg) of ashwagandha extract saw a significant reduction in mental stress when compared to those who took an inactive placebo. The study was conducted in 60 healthy adults with self-reported high levels of stress, and the results showed that those who took an inactive placebo saw a significant reduction in mental stress.
Because ashwagandha has the potential to make some people feel more relaxed — sleepiness is a possible side effect — it seems logical that it would be a decent sleep aid. Participants in a short study conducted on 60 people, which was published in December 2019 in the journal Cureus, reported sleeping better (and experiencing less tension) than those who took an inactive ingredient (placebo) in the study.
Ashwagandha is one of the most effective herbs for immune system support, and it is beneficial for both young and old. Even though further research is needed to establish the role of Ashwagandha in immune support in humans, a rise in white blood cells of this type may, in theory, help humans retain their health for a longer period of time.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and grease a cookie sheet with some coconut oil. In a large bowl, whisk oat flour, ashwagandha powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and sea salt. Add coconut oil, maple syrup, and molasses to the dry mixture. Knead into a soft dough. Roll a tablespoon-sized ball of dough and place it onto the cookie sheet. Continue this process for the remaining dough. Take the back of a spoon and lightly press down on the top to flatten the ball of dough into a flat cookie shape. Bake for 15 minutes or until crispy on the outside.
By making these you would be definitely following some trends that popped up in 2021!
Because of their savory and deep flavor, Shiitake mushrooms are regarded as the most delectable in Asian culture. Their name is derived from the Chinese words "shii" (oak) and "take" (mushroom). These mushrooms thrive in Asia's temperate zone and are highly esteemed in their tradition.
The most recent research has discovered that there are several biologically active substances contained in Shiitake mushrooms. However, they are only present in trace amounts in mushrooms and exclusively in the cell wall. The most remarkable one is beta-glucan, which we discussed in the previous paragraphs of this text. What is crucial is that those polysaccharides contained in beta-glucans have the ability to prevent diseases.
The more complicated the beta-glucan molecule is, the more branched and longer the polysaccharide chain is. According to studies, glucan derived from Shiitake mushrooms, as well as mushrooms in general, have a stronger biological influence on the human immune system than glucans derived from oats and barley.
The extracts isolated from these fungi are lentinan and AHCC, which we will not discuss in this article because AHCC is a substance high in alpha glucan. The maceration process was used for the extraction of these extracts. Although 5 distinct polysaccharides with anticancer action were discovered in these fungi, the qualities of lentinin were the most studied, and its outstanding features in the formation of tumor growth were observed. In Japan, this bioactive molecule is utilized as a legally licensed medicine in the battle against cancer due to its anticancer and immunomodulatory effects.
Nutritionists advocate eating Shiitake mushrooms on a regular basis, preferably at least once a week, to ensure that nutrients from these mushrooms are absorbed properly.
We have one piece of information you may be interested in; if we are only talking with beta-glucan extract in European nations, it is advised to consume food that has been conventionally enhanced with it.
In contrast to the Western diet, the Chinese diet is built on the eating of mushrooms and different herbs. As a result, the intake guidelines in various portions of the world are higher. It is suggested to consume 100 g of fresh mushrooms or 6–16 g of dried mushrooms each day, which is quite high. Therapeutic effects can be obtained by taking 1 - 100 mg per kilogram of body weight per day orally.
In a small bowl, melt dark chocolate in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring with a spatula in between each round until melted. Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, shiitake powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer), beat butter and light brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down sides of the bowl after each addition. Add vanilla extract and melted chocolate. Add in half of the dry ingredient mixture and combine until fully incorporated. Add in milk, followed by the remaining dry ingredients, and combine until fully incorporated. Remove dough from bowl and form into a flat disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line sheet pan with parchment paper. Place raw sugar in a medium bowl. Divide dough into 16, 1-inch balls. Roll cookie balls in sugar to coat. Place cookies on prepared pan. Leave enough space between each cookie to account for spreading, about 2 inches. For best results, bake until the surface of the cookie cracks, about 14 minutes. Place cookies on wire racks to cool completely.
Reishi, also known as Ganoderma lucidum, is one of the most often utilized adaptogenic mushrooms due to the benefits it provides to one's general health and wellbeing. It works to strengthen the immune system, alleviate stress and anxiety, and assist in feeling more balanced and sleeping deeper at night.
Reishi activates the immune system, which helps to keep infections at bay. Additionally, the triterpenes and beta-glucans present in reishi have been shown to lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol).
The actions of the reishi mushroom on white blood cells, which are involved in the fight against infection and cancer, can assist to improve immunological function. This is more likely to occur in those who are sick, while mixed findings have been observed in persons who are otherwise well.
Although the reishi mushroom looks to have some potential for cancer prevention or treatment, further research is needed before it can be included in regular cancer treatment. In other instances, however, it may be permissible to use it in conjunction with standard treatment. Some preliminary research has indicated that the reishi mushroom may be effective in reducing anxiety and depression, as well as improving the overall quality of life in people who suffer from specific medical disorders.
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