Mushrooms in winter to boost your immune system

Mushrooms come in all shapes and sizes and all have their own special health benefits. If you are suffering from immune related stress in the body, mushrooms may be one of the answers to strengthening your immune system.

 There are medicinal mushrooms and cooking mushrooms which in my eyes are still medicinal. Our food is medicine and we should feed our cells with only the best foods to help heal, restore and nourish the body to be its best.
suz mushrooms
 
The difference between medicinal mushrooms and cooking mushrooms
 
Medicinal Mushrooms
There are a number of medicinal mushrooms with a variety of phytochemicals with different protective qualities and actions. These phytochemicals are different from each medicinal mushroom and good for targeting specific areas. One of the medicinal mushrooms I use in clinic and in my Suzanna’s Natural Life - Immune boost powder for boosting the immune system is the Reishi mushroom. Reishi mushrooms have a number of key phytochemicals such as beta glucan polysaccharides, Ling Ze-8 protein, triterpenes and oleic acid. These phytochemicals assist with the following actions in the body;
 
  • Reduces the allergy response in the body.
  • Inhibits histamine release assisting with inflammation and hay fever problems.
  • Strengthens and stimulates the immune system to work better.
  • Antitumor acting against a malignant tumor.

 

Other medicinal mushrooms include; Maitake, reishi, Cordyceps, shiitake, Turkey tail and Coriolus which are all superfoods for the immune system. The best ways to take these mushrooms are in powder form in smoothies, teas, capsules or tincture form.
 
Common cooking mushrooms health benefits
Common cooking mushrooms found in the supermarket include swiss brown, portobello, button and cup mushrooms. Cooked mushrooms are a great source of protein, fibre, B vitamins, selenium and Vitamin D. All these nutrients help give us a great source of energy, nerve and digestive support, protect our body from oxidative stress, strengthen our bones and boost our immune system.
 
Now days most mushrooms are infused with UV light treatment to enhance the vitamin D levels in the mushroom. Another great way to enhance vitamin D in mushrooms is by leaving the mushrooms outside in the sun for 2 hours to transform the ultraviolet light from the sun into Vitamin D in the mushroom naturally. Getting dietary vitamin D assists with calcium absorption to help prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin D also increases the production of immune cells that help fight disease and the common cold and flu. Definitely sneak a couple of these winter hearty mushrooms in your winter soups, stews and stir-fries to keep your immune system strong.
 
Who is at risk of a vitmain D deficiency?
It’s amazing how much one vitamin deficiency can impact our overall health if you have anxiety, feeling low or depressed. Try adding some more vitamin D and sunny mushrooms into your diet. Research shows a decrease in symptoms with adequate amounts of Vitamin D. If you are surrounded by pollution, always using sunscreen, indoors a lot of the time, living in condensed areas and have dark skin you may be at a higher risk of a vitamin D deficiency. You can get a simple blood test to check your Vitamin D levels if you are concerned, it’s a great way to monitor if you are on the right track.
 
Mushroom facts

Mushrooms are interesting and I love going out in the cooler winter climates as the warmer weather starts to spike and see what types of mushrooms are growing around in nature. Mushrooms are fungi that require the right temperature and compost or damp wood to decompose and grow their fruit from. It is a really fascinating process that always amazes me. You can purchase mushroom kits at your gardening store and make your own mushroom farm, which is always fun to watch grow. The warmer weather is starting to come out now and drying up the composts and woods, but if you get out in nature and look in the damper spots you should still see some little growths along your walk.