Don't get too excited, this article is not about tripping your face off on psychedelic mushrooms... I will be discussing my new infatuation with fungi and how these magical toadstools can heal the body from the inside out. Besides offering it's umami flavor with every bite, mushrooms promote internal homeostasis within the body by and balancing the thyroid and strengthen the immune system. Before we continue, just to note, the thyroid gland stores and distributes hormones that effect the functions of every organ throughout the body and regulates your metabolism. Many thyroid issues lead to problems with weight control and energy... A small gland with so much responsibility! Ok, back to the article...
In the past couple of years, I have noticed an increase of thyroid imbalances with many of the people I know and love. It wasn't until I got diagnosed with Hypo (low functioning)-thyroid while I was pregnant that I opened up my eyes and ears to the epidemic that surrounded me. During this time I was feeling lethargic, napping multiple times a day, noticed an increase in dry skin (the beginning stages of eczma) and brittle hair. Personally, I thought it was just the effects of the first trimester blues. Pre-natal and post-natal thyroid problems are very common, where the thyroid gland gets overstimulated or under activated during and after pregnancy. On the opposite spectrum, a thyroid gland that is overworked is called Hyper-thyroid. A friend who was diagnosed with Hyper-thyroid after giving birth first noticed that she was loosing an unnatural amount of weight in a short amount of time. She was also aware of a throbbing pain on her thyroid gland, which is located at the back of your throat. She explained her symptoms by saying, "Hyperthyroidism made me feel jittery, made it hard to breath and I had a fast resting pulse rate which hit the high 90's." For all of us who don't understand what this number means, the average resting heart rate of a woman between the ages of 26-45 should be 73-78, so 90 is way up there! After consulting with her naturopath, Dr Kenneth Rifkin, he put her on Host Defense mushrooms and Reishi mushroom supplements. Host Defense is a reputable and stainable mushroom supplement company who pride themselves on harvesting the finest mushroom is the most natural environment. Encapsulating the Mycelium and Fruit body from the mushroom, Host Defense delivers an array of enzymes, antioxidants, polysaccharides and other health enhancing properties to it's consumers. Dr. Kenneth Rifkin explaines, "Mushrooms won't regulate your thyroid but what they do is help repair the weak part of her DNA." Mushrooms in large quantities can change your DNA and help rehabilitate your body. In just a couple of weeks my friend is already feeling better and her resting heart rate is down significantly.
Trying to further conceptualize this idea, I started chatting with my herbalist, Clinton Choate. Clinton mentioned how mushrooms such as Reishi, Maitake and Shiitake are some of the most nutrient dense foods available and provide a powerful boost for those suffering from weak immunity. He also aknowledged, "While they have some of the strongest immune modulating and anti-tumor effects known for a whole food, they may not be suitable for everyone. In particular unsuitable for those suffering from Hashimoto's, a thyroid auto-immune condition where stimulating the immune system needs to be guarded, as well as those who have FODMAP intolerances where the gastrointestinal track and bowel distress can worsen from the ample, fiber rich, short chain carbohydrates they contain." Oh no, does this mean a person with Hashimoto's, Crohn's or IBS will never be able to dine on these rich and savory mushrooms again? Clinton then clarified by saying, " The good news is that depending on the persons situation they may only need to remove them temporarily. After the gut has been sufficiently healed mushrooms can be carefully reintroduced. If symptoms do not appear after about three days, then they're probably safe to consume."
Since discovering the significance of the thyroid and it's dramatic effects on the entire body, I have become an advocate in proactively building the immune system with magic mushrooms. Luckily for me I love the hearty and savory taste of nature's fungi! There are so many varieties to choose from too. Crimini, enoki, oyster, portobello, shiitake or white button are all loaded with essential nutrients because of their high content of iodine, Vitamin D and many other anti-oxidant qualities. Now that fall is approaching, mushroom add a warm and grounding effect to any meal. Cook them up with some eggs for breakfast, put them on a salad for lunch, or sauté them with some onion and garlic and add them to any vegetable or grain for a delicious dinner.
Some of my favorite ways to eat mushrooms:
-Mushroom, tomato and goat cheese omelet
-Chicken and mushrooms marsala