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SEVEN MUSHROOMS THAT FEED YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

As the kids go back to school – the common cold and flu are ready to spread. Once again this year with COVID guidelines in place, the spreading of germs will be on even higher alert.

What we can do for ourselves and our immune systems, is to feed it foods, fluids, and vitamins, that help it fight against disease. There are many foods that have immune fighting powers that can help strengthen our systems, but did you know one of those foods is mushrooms?

Adding mushrooms to your smoothies, tea, and food is a great way to ensure you are taking in mushrooms daily. There are thousands of different types of mushrooms in the fungi family, and only about 20 of them are used for culinary dishes. Many studies have been conducted around the world involving the consumption of a mushroom everyday to ward off sickness and improve the immune system response. If you would like to learn more, read about a study conducted in 2015 at the University of Florida (link).

Mushrooms can be consumed both as functional foods and dietary supplements. A source of many wonderful nutrients, mushrooms are filled with fiber, protein, selenium, and potassium, as well as the vitamins B1, B2, B12, C, D, and E.

So what mushrooms can you add to your daily routine? These 7 mushrooms will help boost your immunity, while adding different flavours to your meals and/or beverages that we think you will enjoy!

  1. Reishi

Reishi mushrooms are best for bringing peace, relaxation, and tranquility into your life. Commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, Reishi mushrooms are great for the immune system and nervous system and are associated with reducing stress and improving sleep, helping you feel more refreshed and less exhausted. From a medical standpoint, Reishi’s are linked with lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

Chopping Reishi mushrooms and boiling them in water is ideal for calming your nerves and mind. Drink this delicious tea and watch the benefits kick in!

2. Chaga

Coated in nutrients, Chaga mushrooms are filled with vitamins and minerals. Chaga mushrooms are a known immune balancing food, which can spike your immune system when it needs support, and also relax it when it is overstimulated. Newer studies have linked Chaga mushrooms to fighting cancer cells and slowing tumour growth as well.

Chaga tea is very popular and has been used for centuries around the world. Strain the Chaga chunks from the boiling water and serve it hot to boost your immunity today.

3. Shiitake

Shiitake mushrooms are the most popular mushrooms – used worldwide. These mushrooms are great for immune health, while also increasing white blood cells which helps your body fight off infection and disease. Shiitake mushrooms are also great for exfoliating skin, and have been studied to reduce sunspots and acne scarring, while brightening your skin for a nice glow.

Shiitake mushrooms should not be consumed uncooked. It is best to dispose of the stems as they are tough to consume and then cook the mushroom caps in boiling water. Once cooked, add these mushrooms to stir-fry or soup and enjoy!

4. Maitake

High in antioxidants, Maitake mushrooms are beneficial to your physical and mental health. Linked with brain and cognitive benefits, as well as lowering blood glucose levels, makes Maitake mushrooms a great ingredient in managing and treating diabetes.

Maitake is simple to cook, simply grill it in butter and serve. Adding this mushroom to pasta, pizza, or omelette in the morning is a great way to give your body and brain extra love.

5. Turkey Tail

Keeping a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut is important when discussing immune health. Turkey tail mushrooms are great for digestive health as they help reduce toxins, which in turn improves your energy levels and promotes weight loss.

Turkey tail is commonly simmered in boiling water and served as a drink. It is also available as a powder and can be added to food for taste or flavour. Either way you take it, you can reap the numerous health benefits!

6. Lion’s Mane

Lion’s Mane mushrooms are packed with benefits. Research has found that Lion’s Mane is great for protecting against dementia and Alzheimers, repairing nerve damage, and fights against anxiety and depression. Both immune boosting and anti-inflammatory, Lion’s Mane is linked to reducing heart disease and ulcers while being very beneficial to cognitive health.

Lion’s Mane is often said to have a seafood-like taste and can be enjoyed raw, cooked, grilled, or steeped in tea.

7. Oyster

Oyster mushrooms have anti-tumour, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and cholesterol-lowering properties which make them great for the immune system. They also contain high levels of iron – almost twice as much as other mushrooms – as well as zinc, potassium, and calcium.

Oyster mushrooms are best served cooked, grilled, or in a stir-fry and should not be consumed raw. They are known to absorb liquids and provide a good texture to any meal.

Did you know mushrooms are also great for the health of your dog? From this list, Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake, and Turkey Tail mushrooms have been studied to improve the health of your dog, while preventing future disease. Like in humans, these mushrooms help boost immunity, support digestive, urinary, and respiratory tracts, protect the liver, fight off cancer, and can alleviate some of the effects from chemotherapy in your canine best friend.

Each mushroom provides numerous nutritional benefits to your physical health, as well as aiding in your mental health. Try some new recipes today and start to reap the rewards of adding mushrooms to your daily routine!

Like anything, do your research and see what mushroom best fits your lifestyle. Whether you steep it in tea or add it to your plate, mushrooms are a great way to keep your immune system strong and keep you feeling your best.

At Green Schools Green Future, we support fresh organic foods, and the use of supplements to support strong health among children and teens. It is important to know the ingredients and understand what is going into your body so you can ensure there are no side effects and that your body reaps the rewards of what you are feeding it.

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/best-medicinal-mushrooms-to-try

https://wholeearthsea.com/en-ca/blog/six-mushrooms-to-help-keep-your-immunity-in-check/

https://fullscript.com/blog/mushrooms-for-immune-health

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150416112826.htm

https://www.the-well.com/editorial/how-mushrooms-boost-immunity#:~:text=All%20medicinal%20mushrooms%20contain%20powerful,and%20balance%20the%20immune%20system

https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/medicinal-mushrooms-for-dogs-multi-dimensional-healing/

 

Written By Cassandra Briscoe

 

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