Immune function, particularly natural and cell-mediated immune response, is critical to preventing and controlling infection and tumor. Nutritional food is one of strategies to efficiently modulate the immune cell response. Mushrooms have been among foods that possess immune modulating properties.
The most common mushroom in the US is the white button mushroom found in every supermarket and available year round. Studies indicate that they can enhance natural and cell-mediated immune response, and promote efficient defense mechanisms against microbial invasion and tumor development.
Fragrant mushroom has always been one of my favorite ingredients added to our family cuisine – the taste is delicious! That’s why one of my must-packed items from my China trip is dried fragrant mushrooms. They have long been reserved as both a delicacy and medicinal food. Fragrant (or Shiitake) mushroom can strengthen immune system through its component called lentinan, which stimulates the production of T lymphocytes, macrophages, and natural killer cells, as well as interleukins, the biologically active modifiers of inflammation and immunity.
In short, various strains of mushroom (white button, shiitake, maitake, etc.) have strong immune impact, which contribute to their anti-tumor properties. They are available fresh in many U.S. supermarkets and oriental grocery stores. Plus they are easy to incorporate into your daily diet.
Advice: It’s always safe to clean mushrooms thoroughly and cook them before consuming them, in order to avoid carcinogens or toxic compounds from any pesticides and any pathogens on the surface of raw mushrooms.