Flu vaccines are being offered everywhere from clinics to pharmacies to supermarkets. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the only side effects of the flu vaccine are redness, soreness and swelling at the shot site, low-grade fever and aches, others believe that the vaccines contain mercury and various other tricky constituents and are more dangerous than the flu itself.
Furthermore there are hundreds of strains of the flu virus but the vaccines marketed each year select and target merely a few, which health officials guesstimate will be by far the most commonplace that flu season. Their guess is often not right.
But well before there were targeted vaccines there were flu fighting mushrooms. The Chinese have used mushrooms as medicine for a huge number of years and recent medical studies have confirmed the effectiveness of mushrooms in boosting the immune system. And a strong immune system nowadays is your best defense against the flu.
Probably the most common cultivated edible mushroom in the earth is the button mushroom which was for numerous years believed to have no nutritional or medicinal value. The latest studies, nonetheless, have identified that the lowly button, and also crimini and portobello, contain all the antioxidant power as their Asian counterparts that have been prized for centuries for their disease prevention and healing properties. Particularly, buttons contain polysaccharides and ergothioneine among other compounds that activate the immune system and act as free radical scavengers.
In Asian medicine, shiitake and maitake mushrooms, now widely available in U.S. markets, have proven very successful in increasing the immune system and fighting cancer, that they are now being tested against HIV. Enoki mushrooms in addition have proven immune system health benefits.
Reishi mushrooms can also be a staple of Chinese medicine. Although they’re not edible, they are available in teas, capsules and extract and are widely used to enhance immunity and reduce inflammation.
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Mushrooms are a good source of B vitamins such as niacin, which forms enzymes needed to transform sugars into energy, and riboflavin, which converts other nutrients like vitamin B6 and folate into usable forms.
Mushrooms are fat free, high in protein and fiber, and a great source of potassium. Above all, they’re easy and versatile to incorporate into your daily diet. All it will take is a one-half cup serving to start to get the benefits. Add them to soups, stews, greens and grains or even toss them into the salad of yours.
Add many different mushrooms to your meals now and every day to battle the flu or even any other pandemic that will come your way.
Margie King is a licensed holistic health coach, former corporate attorney and Wharton M.B.A.. Margie leads workshops on nutrition, conducts healthy cooking classes, and provides individual and group health and nutrition coaching to busy professionals and females.