Fungi for the Future
No, I haven’t become a modern-day hippie but the research on mushrooms, health and immunity is on the rise and more apropos than ever before in our history.
Mushrooms have been used in traditional Asian medicine for over 2000 years and the Western world is just starting to catch up with the benefits.
Mushrooms increase both the production and activity of the immune system by increasing the activity of white blood cells, making these fungi anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer while providing a protection for the liver – too many benefits to not take seriously.
These properties can improve your chances of fighting many types of infection, including the cytokine storm of COVID-19.
Mushrooms contain a soluble fiber called beta-glucans which are responsible for many of these benefits and others too vast for a blog. Besides beta-glucans, mushrooms also contain zinc, selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin D.
Mushrooms are also known as “adaptogens” meaning they help the body adapt to all types of stress. Ones that have the most benefit are Cordyceps, Reishi, Lion’s Maine, Chaga, Shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Maitake.
So how do you start to introduce mushrooms? One easy way is to use them generously in your recipes – salads, veggie stir-fry’s, etc. Buy whatever ones you can at the grocery store or farmer’s markets.
If you want to increase to the next level, try buying powdered forms of the various ones and make your own mushroom concoctions. Just stick to organic powders that have undergone dual extraction (check the label.)
One important point to remember is that any type of supplement will not help an already unhealthy lifestyle so making sure your diet is balanced, clean, and low in anti-inflammatory foods is a good place to start. Then introduce mushrooms to your diet, some powders and possibility a good quality mushroom blend supplement.
Going down the rabbit hole in search of the healing benefits of mushrooms is not so far-fetched- providing health and a strong and stress-free immune system in our world that now requires it.
Below is an easy way to add a mushroom side to any meal.
Versatile Mushroom Blend
In a medium saucepan, sauté a shallot or leek in ghee or butter. Add a clove of garlic and continue sauteing till wilted and fragrant. Add 2-3 cups of diced mushrooms, a spring of thyme, bay leaf and salt and pepper (to taste) and stir until tender. Add broth to deglaze pan and serve.
Variation: If you would like to add au jus or gravy, after removing mushrooms from pan, add 1-2 tbsp. of ghee or butter and 1-2 cups of cup of broth and continue stirring until thick and fragrant.