This One Vegetable Is Key for Boosting Your Immunity

Eating more whole foods and plants is a great way to get more nutrients into the diet that can help prevent disease. But no two vegetables and fruits are the same — in flavor, texture, and vitamins and minerals. There is one vegetable that is particularly good at boosting the immune system — shiitake mushrooms!

a bunch of food sitting on top of a wooden cutting board: Shiitake mushroom on wooden table © Provided by Eat This, Not That! Shiitake mushroom on wooden table

This specific type of mushrooms contains immunity building substances like polysaccharides, according to Healthline. One serving of four shiitake mushrooms has almost 40% of the daily value of copper. Plus it has 33% of the daily value of vitamin B5. Copper is responsible for "mopping up free radicals," according to Harvard Health. Vitamin B5, too, helps the immune system by producing and releasing antibodies, according to the University of Washington.

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Shiitake mushrooms also contain amino acids and active hexose correlated compound (AHCC), according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. AHCC can also help support the immune system. "Lab studies suggest AHCC may enhance the activity of some types of immune cells," they say. "In a few human studies, AHCC improved liver function in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma and cirrhosis, and reduced blood levels of some tumor markers."

Need another reason to eat shiitake mushrooms for immune system health? One study published in 2015 found that eating 5 to 10 grams of mushrooms daily for a month improved immunity responses in 52 adults.

But eating them isn't the only way to get their benefits. Mushroom and AHCC supplements are making their way onto grocery store shelves quickly because of their popularity. In the spring of 2020, sales of mushroom supplements went up almost 900%.

Check out supplementing, or try this Chicken Ramen With Shiitake Mushrooms and Spinach for a delicious and immune system supporting meal!

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Gallery: When You're Sick With a Cold or Flu, Doctors Recommend These Foods - It's Not Just Soup! (PopSugar)

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