One of the best foods for keeping your immunity up during this busy, colder time of year is the tasty mushroom. The topic of mushrooms can be mysterious, so I’ll shed some light on this shade-loving fungus and how it can boost your health and longevity.
Mushrooms are the fleshy, fruiting body of a fungus. They often live on or around dead trees and help decompose plant matter. There are over 700 edible mushrooms in the world right now, out of an amazing 100,000 varieties. Mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in traditional Asian medicine, and scientists today are beginning to discover that many edible mushrooms are potent disease fighters, which can target malignant or cancerous cells while protecting and even supporting the healthy cells that are already in your body. That is a powerful friend to have on your side!
When trying a new mushroom, it best to eat only a tiny bite the first time, as even commonly cultivated mushrooms may adversely affect some people.
Combat Cancer With Shiitake Mushrooms
This fairly easy-to-find mushroom is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, and naturally occurring chemical compounds that enhance immune functions. Shiitake has been used in traditional medicines for thousands of years as a health tonic, and is often prescribed to prevent tumor development and the growth of cancer cells, to treat chronic fatigue syndrome, and as an antibacterial that combats candida yeast and many strep and staph bacteria. An easy way to eat this mushroom is to cook up a broth of cabbage, carrots, fresh ginger, onion, oregano, shiitake mushrooms (if dried, they must be soaked first), any kind of seaweed, and any type of squash in chicken or vegetable stock and simmer for 30 minutes. This makes a tasty, immunity-enhancing soup!
Increase Cardio Health With Reishi Mushrooms
Also known as ganoderma, reishi mushrooms have been a staple in Chinese herbal medicine for at least 4,000 years. Their name in Chinese literally translates to “spiritual potency” and they are frequently referred to as the “herb of immortality.” Reishi are known to be antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antiparasitic, and anti-tumor. Reishi stabilizes blood pressure, protects the liver, and supports general immune resistance. This means that reishi is particularly useful for individuals with compromised immune systems – like chemotherapy and HIV patients. This type of mushroom is also beneficial for people with cardiovascular disease because it inhibits platelet aggregation.
Boost Immunity With Maitake Mushrooms
These mushrooms are commonly referred to as “Hen of the Woods” because of its resemblance to the tail feathers of a nesting hen. Although few Westerners beyond serious mushroom connoisseurs are familiar with this fungus, it has a powerful reputation in the East. In fact, those seeking to balance their bodies and super-charge their immunity often consume maitake on a daily basis; it may provide the greatest immune-boost of all mushrooms. In addition to being known to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke, maitake is often used in immunotherapy to complement surgery, radiotherapy, or chemotherapy, where patient response rates have been seen to improve up to 28%! Clinical research has shown that compounds found within maitake benefit people with a multitude of cancers – including brain, lung, and liver – and have shown particular promise as a supplement to HIV therapy.