On this Feel-Good Friday, I know it's cold and flu season from the cacophony of coughs, sniffles and nose-blowing heard around our office. Every year at this time, I'm reminded of the wonders of mushrooms (and to go pick up a bottle of my favorite immune booster!). When I first started here at Ogden Publications more than seven years ago, I worked as editorial assistant on The Herb Companion and Herbs for Health magazines (now combined into one herb-enthusiast publication). I'd always been interested in natural health (my grandma was a vitamin and nutrition fanatic, and she passed some of that along to my mom), but I learned an immense amount more through my work on those magazines. One item that particularly impressed me was on the medicinal value of mushrooms.
Long used in Asian cultures to boost immunity, mushrooms are health powerhouses, able to fight sickness (even tumors), lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and balance blood sugar. They also help detoxify our bodies and protect our livers, and their antibacterial, antiviral and antioxidant capacity means mushrooms fight off colds and flus like nobody's business. When I feel sickness coming on, I find that nothing stamps it out faster than Mushroom Immune Defense, which I buy at my local food coop. It combines reishi (considered the king of Traditional Chinese Medicine, according to this article), shiitake, cordyceps and maitake, some of the most powerfully medicinal mushroom types. You can, of course, also eat lots of mushrooms to achieve their health benefits (reishi mushrooms don't taste good and are better taken as a supplement). Try the recipe below!
Sauteed Mushrooms and Bok Choy
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
2 1/2 cups Chinese bok choy, sliced into 1-inch segments
2/3 cup green onions, sliced
1 1/3 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms, maitake mushrooms or a combination
(caps only, washed and sliced)
2 tablespoons shoyu soy sauce
Steamed rice, Belgian endive and sliced avocado
1. Heat oil in a skillet and cook garlic on medium-high for about 1 minute.
2. Add bok choy, green onions, mushrooms and soy sauce, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until the bok choy greens are wilted.
3. Serve with steamed rice, a few endive leaves and sliced avocado (optional).