The founding principle of Nutritional Immunology is that the things you eat have a direct effect on your level of health. Our immune system is the body’s first defense mechanism against hostile forces that cause a multitude of health problems. That's why it's important to make sure it’s as strong as possible. The foods we choose to eat should provide our bodies with the best possible combination of phytochemicals, polysaccharides, and antioxidants to protect this vital system. Today’s research teaches us the best ways to protect ourselves from internal and external aggressors and we are glad to be able to share them with you.
Phytochemicals were originally called phytonutrients and were considered to be any chemicals produced by plants. However, as science has uncovered the capabilities of these nutrients, their definition has been refined to include only chemicals from plants that may affect health, but are not essential nutrients. Phytochemicals have been linked to the reduction of wild cell growth, have shown anti-inflammatory properties, and some have been linked to lowered cholesterol. The best thing about phytochemicals is that they are naturally available in many of the delicious fruits and vegetables you already enjoy.
Polysaccharides are complex carbohydrates that are made up by connecting many monosaccharides, or single sugars. Many polysaccharides have been shown to exhibit properties that moderate the immune system as well as properties that negatively impact tumors. The major impacts polysaccharides have on the immune system include inducing mitosis and activating immune cells as well as Natural Killer cells. Polysaccharides are abundant in many types of mushrooms and have been isolated for use in vaccines and other medicines.
Antioxidants are found naturally in many of the fruits and vegetables that you eat every day. They protect you from oxidants, also known as free radicals, to keep you healthy and happy. Oxidants are elements that are highly reactive due to having unpaired electrons. This unpaired electron tries to pair with electrons in materials throughout your body by forcing reactions, thus damaging cells. Antioxidants protect your body from oxidants in multiple ways, but most commonly by reacting with oxidants before they can force reactions with other cells in your body.