With cold and flu season looming on the horizon, many Americans are looking for natural ways to reduce their risk of illness. Such common sense measures as hand washing and getting enough sleep can go far towards preventing colds and flu. Another factor that plays an important role in immunity is diet. Some foods have been shown to enhance the immune system, the body’s primary defense against infection. One particular food type that’s shown a great deal of potential for disease prevention is mushrooms. Not only do mushrooms show promise in warding off cancer, but they also have antiviral and antibacterial properties that make them the perfect foods for cold and flu season.
One component of mushrooms that makes them effective against cold and flu viruses are a group of compounds called beta-glucans. These polysaccharides are found in high amounts in three types of mushrooms – Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake. Beta-glucans have the ability to activate the immune system without overstimulation which could cause problems.
One group of studies showed that beta-glucans given after surgery reduced the incidence of post-surgical infections due to their immune-enhancing capabilities. Beta-glucans have also been shown to protect laboratory mice against anthrax. Because of their immune stimulating properties, they’re frequently used as an adjuvant to cancer chemotherapy in Japan. Beta-glucans have also shown promise in the treatment of HIV infection. One of the very best sources of these immune-boosting polysaccharides is the maitake mushroom which can be found at many natural food markets or ordered online.
Another study showed that lentinan, a beta-glucan found in Shiitake mushrooms, has strong immune-enhancing properties. Lentinan is found not only in mushrooms, but also in some fruits and cereals, but the Shiitake is one of the very best sources. The best way to get the benefits of lentinan for preventing colds and flu is to buy fresh or dried Shiitake mushrooms from a natural food market and use them in recipes or as a side dish. Shiitake mushrooms should always be cooked since some people can have an allergic-type reaction to raw shiitakes.
Sun-dried shiitake mushrooms - also a rich source of vitamin D
Eating more mushrooms may be a simple, natural way to boost the immune system to prevent colds and flu this winter. Although most varieties of mushrooms have immune stimulating properties, maitake, shiitake, and reishi are three of the best. They can be found at the most natural food markets either fresh or dried in plastic bags in the Japanese food section. Dried mushrooms are simple to reconstitute by adding water.
If you’re worried about preventing colds and flu, add a few of these mushrooms to your diet each day and stay healthy this winter.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Advanced MycoTech assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.
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