Are you noticing a familiar tickle in the back of your throat? Scratchy eyes? Feeling a little tired or run down?
The common cold strikes most adults up to four times per year, particularly when temperatures start to shift. But we’ve got the perfect preventative food to help you boost your immunity: a serving of cooked shiitake mushrooms.
University of Florida researchers recently found that people who ate shiitakes each day for four weeks showed increased levels of IgA levels (which are linked to greater sinus and respiratory immunity), and more natural killer T-cells, which are known to help increase general immune function.
These mushrooms, known for their rich texture and intense savory flavor, are one of the most commonly cultivated varieties and possess antiviral, antibacterial and even (quite ironically) antifungal properties.
Luckily, you don’t have to go foraging in the woods to get this magic medicine. Organic shiitake mushrooms are sold both fresh and dehydrated at markets and health-food stores around the country. You can easily add dehydrated versions to your favorite soups or sauces.
If they feel like a stretch on your budget, remember that missing a week of work, school or commitments can be even more expensive. Buy in bulk when you can or try growing your own. And remember that investing in your health now can help you avoid future sickness.
Here are seven ways to work shiitakes into your week.
1. Start your morning with this breakfast salad featuring grilled shiitakes.
2. Try them sautéed with green beans as a side dish.
3. Pack shiitakes for lunch with this panini recipe.
4. Make a quick appetizer for a party by stuffing them with olives and sundried tomatoes.
5. Try this hearty pasta dish with pancetta and mushrooms.
6. Warm up with this creamy vegan parsnip soup.
7. Get the Food52 version of this restorative shiitake soba noodle soup.