Soyabean components that boost immune system

Soyabean components that boost immune system

Our immune system is the natural defence mechanism against biological and environmental invaders that attack our health constantly. Immune cells work to protect us from any intruders, which may come from outside or arise within the body, which have the power to harm us. Especially in recent times all of us have learnt how important it is to boost our immune system and be fighting fit.

Our immune system cannot be built in a day, it is an on-going process. Certain components in our diet can help us bolster our immune system. There are several nutrients and phytonutrients in our diet which help to make our immune system strong. Here are a couple of dietary constituents which have the ability to boost our immune system

  • Protein
  • Antioxidants

Protein and immune system

Let us first understand how our immune system works. When our body is exposed to any foreign substance that has the capability to harm us, our immune system gets going. The foreign substance is called antigen and to neutralize it whatever substances are released by our immune system are called antibodies. The antibodies, which are also called immunoglobulins, are our army that fights against the invasion by antigens.

These antibodies are made out of proteins. And proteins are made out of amino acids. If we have enough supply of all the essential amino acids in our body that will ensure that we have sufficient raw material to produce whichever antibodies our body needs to make. If we lack any amino acid the antibodies cannot be made.

Therefore, we need to keep the pool of essential amino acids replenished all the time. Our body does not store protein hence it is important to consume recommended dietary allowance of protein every day. It is also important that our diet provides not only sufficient quantity of protein but also good quality protein. Good quality protein is protein that provides all the essential amino acids in the right proportion. 

Dietary sources of protein

A wide range of foods provide protein and in general animal foods contain higher amount of protein compared to plant foods. Eggs, meat, poultry, beef and other animal origin foods are rich sources of protein. Legumes/pulses, nuts and oil seeds are major sources of plant proteins. Soybeans and soya products are good sources of protein and in addition they provide good quality protein. Soya protein is one of the few plant protein sources that provide all the essential amino acids.

Dietary protein is very important for immune system to function efficiently and protein malnutrition can affect our immune system.

Antioxidants and immune system

As our body goes about performing its functions, cells release free radicals as part of the normal metabolic reactions. The problem arises when the number of free radicals start increasing and accumulating in the tissues. As the free radicals increase in the body it may result in increased risk of diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer etc.

Antioxidants are scavengers that quench the free radicals and protect us from accumulation of free radicals in the body. There are two types of antioxidants. Endogenous antioxidants are produced by our body and some antioxidants are supplied by our food and supplements which are termed as exogenous or dietary antioxidants.

Immune system cells like rest of the cells in the body require oxygen radicals for metabolic and physiological activities. The free radical production and their inactivation/neutralization by antioxidants has to be balanced.

Just like any other cells, immune system cells also get affected if the free radicals accumulate. If there are enough dietary antioxidants supplied, they will help in preventing any possible imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the cells of the immune system. In the other scenario if the free radicals build up in immune system cells it will lead to oxidative stress and finally result in weakening of the immune system.

Dietary protein and antioxidants are necessary for immune system to work smoothly. Soyabeans have plenty of protein about 40 % and good quality protein. They also have isoflavones which have antioxidant activity. Generally, isoflavones are attached to the protein in soyabeans, 1 gram of protein has 2 to 3 mg of isoflavones attached to it.

VegPro products are made out of defatted soya flour. They contain protein about 52 % and along with it isoflavones. Incorporating VegPro products in the diet regularly may help in boosting our immune system because of the protein and isoflavones they contain.

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