Immunity—is your body’s natural defense against anything and everything that can be harmful to you. From dealing with infectious bugs and allergens to even your own cells, your immune system plays a major role in preventing sickness and suffering.
But, it is your responsibility to keep your natural shield in the top of its health. A healthy diet supplemented with immune-bolstering foods can do wonders for your overall health and keep nasty diseases at bay. One such superfood that can fuel your immune system is mushrooms.
Mushrooms & Immunity
A fruiting fungus in nature, there are over 700 edible mushrooms in the world. They have been used for centuries in Asian folk medicine, and scientists today are beginning to explore their disease-fighting properties. From fending off cancer and stimulating cardiac health to improving immunity, their medicinal prowess is unlimited. 
Loaded with the antioxidant—ergothioneine—mushrooms protect the blood cells, especially monocytes and red blood cells that transport nutrients and oxygen to the different cells of the body. A 2011 study carried out by researchers at the University of Florida found that people who ate mushrooms at least four times a week had better and improved immunity as opposed to those who don’t. 
Two other separate studies dug deep into the immune-boosting properties of mushrooms and found that they play a major role in enhancing the action of natural killer cells and other immune responses. [3,4]Other research reports have shown that mushroom extracts can decrease inflammation, assist gut bacteria in fighting infection and also improve anti-cancer immune response. 
Research from the University of Western Sydney has shown that mushrooms increase the production of salivary IgA (an indicator of the antibodies present in the saliva) in healthy humans, an indicator of IgA levels at other mucosal sites such as the intestinal and respiratory tract. 
How To Use It
- Eat a healthy serving of mushrooms with your meals every day. Here are 14 Fiber-Rich Mushroom Recipes that you can try
- You can also make an immune-enriching tea with mushrooms. Here’s all you need to know about the types and the perks.
1. Borchers AT, Keen CL, Gershwin ME. Mushrooms, tumors, and immunity: an update. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2004 May;229(5):393-406. Review. PubMed PMID: 15096651.
2. Dai X, Stanilka JM, Rowe CA, Esteves EA, Nieves C Jr, Spaiser SJ, Christman MC, Langkamp-Henken B, Percival SS. Consuming Lentinula edodes (Shiitake) Mushrooms Daily Improves Human Immunity: A Randomized Dietary Intervention in Healthy Young Adults. J Am Coll Nutr. 2015 Apr 11:1-10. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25866155.
3. Wu D, Pae M, Ren Z, Guo Z, Smith D, Meydani SN. Dietary supplementation with white button mushroom enhances natural killer cell activity in C57BL/6 mice. J Nutr. 2007 Jun;137(6):1472-7. PubMed PMID: 17513409.
4. Xu Y, Na L, Ren Z, Xu J, Sun C, Smith D, Meydani SN, Wu D. Effect of dietary supplementation with white button mushrooms on host resistance to influenza infection and immune function in mice. Br J Nutr. 2013 Mar 28;109(6):1052-61. doi: 10.1017/S0007114512002735. Epub 2012 Jul 11. PubMed PMID: 23200185.
5. Yu S, Weaver V, Martin K, Cantorna MT. The effects of whole mushrooms during inflammation. BMC Immunol. 2009 Feb 20;10:12. doi: 10.1186/1471-2172-10-12. PubMed PMID: 19232107; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2649035.
6. Jeong SC, Koyyalamudi SR, Pang G. Dietary intake of Agaricus bisporus white button mushroom accelerates salivary immunoglobulin A secretion in healthy volunteers. Nutrition. 2012 May;28(5):527-31. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2011.08.005. Epub 2011 Nov 23. PubMed PMID: 22113068.