Prevent a Cold with This White Edible
Give the frontline soldiers of your immune system some reinforcements by serving a skewer of white button mushrooms with your favorite meals.
Nothing brings you down like a summer cold. But eating white button mushrooms may help make colds less likely. Seems something in mushrooms encourages your dendritic cells -- important immune system helpers -- to grow up and get to work.
Dendritic cells lasso viruses -- like the rhinoviruses and influenza viruses responsible for colds and flu. Then they bring those viruses to your germ-killing B lymphocytes to be finished off. And though it's not clear how or why, researchers think that polysaccharides -- compounds in white button mushrooms -- may help trigger the whole process. But there's no reason to hold out on mushrooms while researchers unravel the mystery. We already know that mushrooms have a host of health-promoting qualities: They're low in fat, low in calories, and full of a little antioxidant called ergothioneine, which is good for your arteries. So slice them up and add them to salads, omelets, and cookouts for a low-calorie, fat-free, juicy, meat-free treat. (Chicken and mushrooms are a natural combo, too -- try these light but satisfying recipes.)
More Immune Boosters
Mushrooms are just one way to give your immune system a leg up. Here are a few more steps that will help your body fend off bugs:
- Move those feet. Learn how tai chi can tune up your immune system.
- Snooze it up. Find out why vitamin ZZZ is tops for preventing colds.
- Scrub up. Here's how to eliminate more germs every time you wash your hands.