Mushrooms of all kinds have been used for centuries for their health benefits and medicinal purposes.  For centuries, people around the world have turned to mushrooms for a healthy immune system. Studies show that mushrooms increase the production and activity of white blood cells, making them more aggressive to fighting infection.

Mushrooms are 80 to 90 percent water, are low in calories and have very little sodium and fat.  They are are a great source of potassium, which helps lower elevated blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke.  One serving of mushrooms provides about 20 to 40 percent of the daily value of copper, a mineral with cardioprotective properties. 

They are a rich source of riboflavin, niacin, and selenium.   Riboflavin or vitamin B2 is important for body growth and red blood cell production and helps in releasing energy from carbohydrates.  Niacin or vitamin B3 helps the digestive system, skin, and nerves to function. It is also important for converting food to energy.  Selenium is an antioxidant that works with vitamin E to protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals.

The white button and Portobello mushrooms are the most commonly consumed variety which are inexpensive and easy to cook.   They enhance your immune system’s natural killer-cell activity to prevent the flu and provide a healthy dose of antioxidants and B vitamins.  Maitake are known as the King of Mushrooms, with medicinal properties that fight tumors, restore the immune system, increase production of infection fighting proteins, and promotes healthy digestion.

Shiitake is a favorite in Asian cuisine and contains lentinan, a powerful immune boosting compound, which has also been shown to delay the progress of viruses by increasing antibody levels.  Oyster mushrooms grow in giant clusters with caps up to twelve inches in diameter.  Studies have revealed that they lower unhealthy cholesterol and have anti-cancer properties.

Mushrooms offer some great benefits and whatever variety you add to your diet-will be packed with a healthful punch.