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    Mushrooms for Health

    An expert guides us through the health benefits of select varieties of mushrooms and helps us separate the good from the bad.

    We have been hearing a lot recently about mushrooms and their possible health benefits. Growing up, the lovely mushroom was not really a big part of our diet, but now we are seeing varieties in teas, supplements and in one of our favorite nutritional drinks, Perennial.

    As always, we like to check with an expert before we jump in, and this week we asked Dr Ruth Zimmer, Park City Utah, who is a big fan of shroomies and their health benefits. Ruth is a practicing MD and has studied integrative medicine, which makes her a good source of information.

    Does immune response capacity decline with age?

    “The immune system ages like the rest of us does. It is comprised of tissues, cells, and bacteria. All of these show a decline as we age. One of the most common signs is the risk of shingles increases as we age or if we are sick. The body does a good job at keeping viruses in check, but with increasing age and or underlying illness the body is less able to keep chronic viruses at bay. Shingles is an example of the chickenpox virus (varicella zoster) being reactivated with a decrease in immune function.”

    We understand that certain mushrooms can help. Any specific ones?

    “Yes, shiitake, cordyceps, enoki, maitake, reishi (medicinal). Most of these can be found in grocery stores.”

    What form does one take them in?

    “Some can be taken in pill form. It is important to note that some mushrooms — portobello and cremini, the most common ones in grocery stores — may contain a carcinogenic compound and should not be consumed raw…”

    How do these more exotic varieties taste?

    “Some are quite mild in flavor, like enoki, and can be added to any type of dish. Wild mushroom risotto is delicious; also as a sauce for pasta, or a soup.”

    Where can we get them?

    “Many grocery stores carry them, also Asian food markets.”

    What is the frequency and amount you would recommend taking?

    “As a dietary supplement eat them weekly, as a medicine I would recommend more regular use, possibly in pill form.”

    Are there any bad reactions to them, or is it possible to overdose on them?

    “Be careful of the portobello and cremini mushrooms.”

    Do they have any additional nutritional or other benefits we should know about?

    “Yes, lion’s mane has shown some positive benefits for mild cognitive impairment.”

    Are there any scientific studies that have been done that we could reference?

    “This is a great article with reference from Dr. Weil”

    Perennial nutritional drink contains shiitake mushroom powder as part of its plant-based scientifically-formulated nutritional mix. If you would like to check it out, they are offering a 20% discount to us by using CODE: AgeistSummer19

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