4 Mushrooms for Health

Each Friday we highlight a power food - a nutritious edible you should have in your diet - courtesy of Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging, along with a related recipe. Enjoy!

Mushrooms are a big favorite of mine because they're delicious and often have medicinal properties. If you're not allergic and don't find them hard to digest, try these:

  1. Cordyceps: A Chinese mushroom used traditionally as a tonic and restorative. You can add whole, dried cordyceps to soups and stews, or drink tea made from powdered cordyceps.
  2. Maitake: This delicious mushroom provides anti-cancer, anti-viral and immune-enhancing properties, and may also reduce blood pressure and help regulate blood sugar. Find it dried or fresh in Japanese markets, gourmet stores or upscale supermarkets.
  3. Reishi: Too woody and bitter to eat, reishi mushrooms are available in tea bags, capsules and liquid extracts. Animal studies have shown that reishi improves immune function and inhibits the growth of some malignant tumors. It also acts as a natural anti-inflammatory agent.
  4. Shiitake: The shiitake has been found to have immune modulating, anti-viral and cholesterol-reducing properties. Certain extracts of shiitake mushrooms are used in Japan as adjunctive therapy to strengthen the immunity of cancer patients during chemotherapy and radiation. Find it - fresh or dried - in grocery stores and Asian markets.

Note: I advise against the regular consumption of cultivated white or "button" mushrooms because they contain natural toxins that may act as carcinogens.

Try this recipe: Shiitake Mushrooms and Pea Pods

Making Mushrooms
From Fettuccini with Shiitake Mushrooms & Basil to Sizzling Tofu and Mushroom Stew, Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging has hundreds of healthful recipes, including ones featuring mushrooms! Join today and save 20% (use code ha20off)!


Today's Q&A: Nutritious Water?
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