Flu vaccines are being made available 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 assume that the vaccines contain mercury and other tricky constituents and are a lot more lethal compared to the flu itself.

Moreover there are polka dot chocolate of strains of the flu virus but the vaccines marketed each year select and target merely a few, which health officials guesstimate will be most common that flu season. Their guess is usually not right.

But some time before there have been targeted vaccines there were flu fighting mushrooms. The Chinese have used mushrooms as medicine for a huge number of years and recent scientific studies have confirmed the effectiveness of mushrooms in boosting the immune system. And a solid immune system these days is your best defense against the flu.

By far the most common cultivated edible mushroom in the earth is the button mushroom which was for many years believed to have no nutritional or medicinal value. Recent studies, nonetheless, have established that the lowly button, as well as 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. Specifically, buttons contain ergothioneine and polysaccharides among other compounds that activate the immune system and act as free radical scavengers.

In Asian medicine, maitake and shiitake mushrooms, now generally available in U.S. markets, have proven very successful in boosting the immune system and fighting cancer, they are now being tested against HIV. Enoki mushrooms likewise have proven immune system advantages.

Reishi mushrooms are also a staple of Chinese medicine. Although they are not edible, they are available in teas, capsules and extract and are used to better immunity and lower inflammation.

Mushrooms are a really good source of B vitamins including niacin, which forms enzymes needed to convert sugars into energy, and riboflavin, which converts other nutrients like vitamin B6 and folate into usable forms.

Mushrooms are fat free, rich in fiber and protein, and a good source of potassium. Most of all, they’re easy and versatile to incorporate into the daily diet of yours. All it requires 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 a variety of mushrooms to your meals right now and every day to battle the flu or other pandemic that comes your way.


Margie King is a licensed holistic health coach, Wharton M.B.A. and former corporate attorney. Margie leads workshops on nutrition, conducts healthy food preparation classes, and offers individual and group health and nutrition coaching to females and busy professionals.

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