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Mushrooms and turmeric may help to ward off winter infections

By Tori Taylor, December 2 2018 —

Cold and flu season has descended upon us. Some people skate through these months with hardy immune systems — and to those people, a pat on the back is due. But for the rest of us lowly mortals, the winter season can hit us hard.

With both our stress and sugar intakes skyrocketing this time of year, our sleep and serotonin levels can suddenly tap out. For a time of year with holiday cheer and glittering beauty, I would love to amp myself up on candy canes like Buddy from Elf does and embrace the spirit of the season. But I’m not a winter person. Instead, I can usually be found drinking Neo-Citron from my to-go mug and popping throat lozenges.

Channeling this frustration, I dove into the realm of holistic health and learned about two of the most potently regarded immune-boosters — turmeric and mushrooms. Both are easy to find in stores and kind to a student wallet.  


Turmeric is a root that contains a pretty phenomenal property called curcumin, which is a bioactive compound with strong anti-inflammatory qualities. This root is linked to all sorts of healing due to its inflammation reducing power. During the winter months, adding this spice to your food or drink will help give you one foot up on any nasty bug looking to bed-rest you, as it stimulates your body’s antioxidant production.  

Buy a carton of unsweetened almond milk, a bag of turmeric, a bit of cinnamon and splurge on some raw honey — another top-of-the-line immune strengthener. Pull out a pot, whisk the ingredients around for about 10 minutes and pour your drink into a big-ass mug. Toast to turmeric, bottoms up!


Mushrooms are marvelous. Ancient Egyptians used to call these little organisms the plant of immunity. They are high in fibre and protein and contain high levels of B vitamins, potassium, copper and selenium. In fact, uncooked mushrooms have more potassium and B vitamins than bananas.

A clinical study by Florida’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition recommends seven mushrooms: porcini, golden oyster, pioppino, oyster, lion’s mane, maitake and shiitake. Most of these can all be found in the produce aisle at any big grocery store. Even common white button mushrooms contain bountiful levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

Mushrooms are also a prebiotic. This means they are super gut-health friendly and will help to keep your intestines functioning smoothly. These fun-guys can be added to salads, homemade pastas or pizzas, soups and stir-fries. Or, snack on them raw with a side of hummus.

Regardless of how you choose to incorporate mushrooms or turmeric into your diet, the healthy addition will help to keep your body balanced during the holidays while you fill your semester break with chocolate and wine. ‘Tis the season!

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