|"Pholiota limonella" on a willow tree (not edible, possibly hallucinogenic) (Photo by me)||!|
If you eat a shiitake mushroom every day, you could see changes in their immune system that are beneficial," said Percival, an Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty member. "We're enhancing the immune system, but we're also reducing the inflammation that the immune system produces.
The full text of the study is not yet available, but here is the abstract: Consuming Lentinula edodes (Shiitake) Mushrooms Daily Improves Human Immunity: A Randomized Dietary Intervention in Healthy Young Adults
In the study, they gave 52 healthy people, aged 21-41 years old, either 5 or 10 grams of dried shiitake mushroom daily. After 4 weeks blood tests confirmed exceptional boosts in their immune system.
Eating L. edodes for 4 weeks resulted in increased ex vivo proliferation of T (60% more, p < 0.0001) and NK-T (2-fold more, p < 0.0001) cells. Both cell types also demonstrated a greater ability to express activation receptors, suggesting that consuming mushrooms improved cell effector function. The increase in sIgA implied improved gut immunity. The reduction in CRP suggested lower inflammation. The pattern of cytokines secreted before and after mushroom consumption was significantly different; consumption resulted in increased interleukin (IL)-4, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and IL-1α levels, a decreased macrophage inflammatory protein-1α/chemokine C-C ligand 3 (MIP-1α/CCL3) level, and no change to IL-6, IL-1β, MIP-1β, IL-17 and interferon (IFN)-γ levels.
I'm curious to see the full text and to what the researchers attribute these positive changes. These mushrooms are rich in beta-glucans and chitin, both types of fiber, and also polyphenols and loads of other chemicals with antifungal, antitumor, antiinflammatory...blah, blah, blah (they are good for you!).
|Edible mushrooms I picked last summer in my backyard|
And, it seems, all mushrooms are just about equally good for you: white buttons, portobello, oyster, and shiitake are commonly found in the supermarket. Locally, wild mushrooms like morels, shaggy manes, and many others can be free for the picking. As it's Spring, and mushroom season almost everywhere, do yourself a favor and learn the local 'shroom scene.
|Fresh morels, lightly sauteed in butter|