Could a mushroom a day help keep the doctor away?
A new University of Florida study shows increased immunity in people who ate a cooked shiitake mushroom every day for four weeks.
Of the thousands of mushroom species globally, about 20 are used for culinary purposes. Shiitake mushrooms are native to Asia and are cultivated for their culinary and medicinal value.
In a 2011 study from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 52 healthy adults, were given a four-week supply of dry shiitake mushrooms. Participants took the mushrooms home, cleaned and cooked them. Then they ate one, 4-ounce serving of mushrooms each day during the experiment.
Through blood tests before and after the experiment, researchers saw better-functioning gamma delta T-cells and reductions in inflammatory proteins, beneficial changes in their immune systems.
Consuming the mushrooms enhanced the immune system and also reduced the inflammation that the immune system produces.
To be eligible for the study, participants could not be vegans or vegetarians. They also could not drink tea, take antioxidant supplements or probiotics before the study. They also could not consume more than 14 glasses of alcoholic beverages per week or eat more than seven servings of fruits and vegetables per day during the experiment.
That’s because fibre, tea and probiotics help the body's immune system, so researchers didn't want to start with people who already had a strong immune system. Additionally, that much alcohol could suppress immunity.
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