Mushrooms are a power-house for immune protection. Because fungi grow in challenging circumstances, they specialize in producing antibiotics and various antiviral compounds. Many of us already use [and eat] the more common types of mushrooms, but it’s the lesser-known varietals that really pack a huge immunity punch. But first, let’s find out what to look for in your mushrooms.
WHERE CAN I GET THEM?
Foraging for Shrooms
In areas with a tradition of mushroom foraging [like many parts of Europe] AND with an expert guide, foraging can be an excellent way to augment store-bought mushroom with some that really did have to fight to survive. However, be 110% confident in your mushroom identification before you eat them! If you aren’t sure… don’t eat it- store-bought mushrooms will do the trick.
When purchasing fresh mushrooms, they should be firm with even coloring, no bruises and not too damp. Avoid the mushrooms with torn edges or overly dried and cracked skin. To the extent you can see the gills, they should also look healthy and not torn or ripped.
Dried mushrooms are a perfectly acceptable option, especially for some of the harder to find varieties. When shopping, look for organic dried mushrooms. Dried mushrooms are an excellent way to incorporate the more medicinal types of mushrooms into your diet year-round. Simply rehydrate and it’s off to the races.
Once home, store your mushrooms in a brown paper bag in the main compartment of your refrigerator. Using dried mushrooms at home is a great alternative to fresh mushrooms because they wont take up room in the fridge and offer more flexibility with how long they last. Simply soak the mushrooms in warm water and rinse. Also, save the broth after soaking the mushrooms for later use in cooking!
WHICH ONES SHOULD I BUY?
Some of the lesser-known mushroom varieties can really do amazing things for our immunity. These mushrooms are most commonly found as powders and can be sprinkled over soups, stews and teas.
- Chaga: antioxidant support [warding off immune attacks]
- Cordyceps: energy and athletic performance
- Reishi: stress and sleep
- Lion’s Mane: brain power + nervous system support
- Shiitake: immune system stimulation
If you want to try these “superstars” in easy to use coffee or cocoa, click HERE.
Creamy Parsnip Grits with Lion’s Mane Mushrooms and Andouille Sausage
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Tacos
Magical Green Smoothie with Mushrooms
Asian Style Shiitake Mushrooms and Baby Bok Choy
Eggs Baked in Portobello Mushrooms
MORE ABOUT MUSHROOMS
Mushrooms in the Media
If you’re “still” wondering whether mushrooms are worth your time take a look at this…
A recent study looking for alternative ways to treat depression took a small sample group [19 participants] and administered a single ‘dose’ of the psychedelic ingredient found in some mushrooms, psilocybin. They found HALF of the participants ceased to be depressed, experiencing this as changed brain activity that lasted for about 5 weeks. Talk about bang for your buck. While the sample size of this study was small, with no control group, and this should only be conducted by trained medical professionals- it’s pretty cool to think of the possibilities presented by the compounds within these mighty mushrooms.