Fight Flu With Mushrooms

The ordinary white button mushroom can help you beat the flu, researchers at Tufts University say. They have discovered that this lowly fungus, which for many years was thought to have no medicinal or nutritional value, in actuality gives our immune systems a big boost.

The ordinary white button mushroom can help you beat the swine flu, researchers at Tufts University say. They have discovered that this lowly fungus, which for many years was thought to have no medicinal or nutritional value, in actuality gives our immune systems a big boost.

The Tufts study, published in The Journal of Nutrition, showed that grocery-store button mushrooms have as much anti-oxidant oomph as more exotic Asian mushrooms, long-prized for their ability to heal and to prevent disease. Common button mushrooms also contain polysaccharides and ergothioneine along with other substances that jump-start the immune system. Besides boosting immunity, the study showed they raise levels of cytokines, which are hormone-like proteins that help defend against viruses and tumors.

How many mushrooms are enough, and how should they be prepared? Holistic health counselor Margie King suggests one-half cup serving a day for full health benefits, and says you can add them to stews and soups or just put them in tossed salads.

Dietitian Glenn Cardwell calls mushrooms one of nature’s “true superfoods” and said, while it is always tempting to reach for a quick fix vitamin or medical supplement, real food alternatives, such as the mushroom, are a healthier long term choice.

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