Do you know what oats, baker's yeast, and reishi mushrooms have in common? All of them contain a type of fiber known as beta glucan. Beta glucan is a type of soluble dietary fiber that is known to improve and support good health in several ways. Take a look at a few reasons why you should be making sure to incorporate beta glucan into your diet.
Improve Your Heart Health
Beta glucan is great for your heart health because of the way that it interacts with coronary disease-causing cholesterol. When you ingest beta glucan, it binds together with any excess cholesterol. This helps prevent the cholesterol from being absorbed into your system, which lowers your overall cholesterol level.
A lower cholesterol level leads to a lower risk of developing heart disease. People who have a family history of heart disease, who currently have high cholesterol levels, or who have other risk factors for heart disease can especially benefit from adding beta glucans to their diet.
Boost Your Immune System
If you get sick, you rely on your immune system to help you get better. A weak immune system means that you'll get sicker and have a harder time recovering from any illness. That means that powering up your immune system is vital to staying healthy. However, it's also possible to overstimulate your immune system. If your immune system is overactive, it could attack healthy cells, which causes its own problems. An overactive immune system can lead to a range of autoimmune disorders, from allergies to lupus. That's why many immune system boosters must be treated with caution.
Beta glucan is an immunomodulator. That means that it can help activate your immune system, causing it to work more effectively, but it never overstimulates it. If you're looking for a safe way to boost your immune system, beta glucan is uniquely suited to enhance your immune system without letting it get out of control.
Regulate Your Blood Sugar
For people with diabetes or people at risk for diabetes, more beta glucan may be a way to help regulate blood sugar. Carbohydrates can raise the body's blood sugar levels, but different carbs have different glycemic responses – they don't all raise blood sugar the same way or to the same levels.
Research indicates that adding beta glucans to carbohydrates lowers the glycemic response to carbohydrates. Adding foods to your diet that have a low glycemic response can help train your body to better regulate blood sugar, which helps keep your blood sugar better controlled.
While beta glucan is naturally found in oats, barely, whole grains, bran, baker's yeast, and some mushrooms and fungi, some people have a hard time getting more of these foods into their diet. That doesn't mean that you have to miss out on the benefits of beta glucan. Check out beta glucan supplements to improve your heart, immune system, and glycemic health.