You Should Be Eating More Mushrooms. Here's Why

For those of us who suffer from seasonal allergies, the spring, summer, and, well, the fall can be a nightmare of itchy eyes, a runny nose, a scratchy throat, and other uncomfortable symptoms. Normally caused by the release of pollen from trees and grasses, allergies result from an immune system overreaction, which causes the body to release histamines and other substances into the bloodstream (via Healthline). The resulting symptoms can be very uncomfortable, causing some sufferers to seek refuge in the office of an allergist, who can prescribe antihistamine medications or a regimen of allergy shots, which can lessen reactions over time.

But what if your refrigerator and pantry could help ease allergy season — no trip to the doctor needed? As it turns out, many common herbs, foods, and teas have been proven to help lessen seasonal allergies, at least to some extent. Citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables, salmon, egg yolks, and kale are among the many ingredients that might help build up immunity. And if you love mushrooms, here's some good news — these funghi, too, might help regulate the allergic response. Let's take a look at why — and how to incorporate more of them into your diet.

It's all about the zinc

Mushrooms are packed with zinc, a mineral that can help boost the immune system. According to Healthline, zinc boasts a diverse range of benefits that are critical to immune cell development and communication. Numerous studies also suggest that supplementing with zinc might help prevent or alleviate the common cold and more severe respiratory infections. And according to another article on Healthline, many studies have concluded that zinc deficiency can lead to an increase of both asthma and seasonal allergies.

So, if you suffer from allergies and you love cooking with mushrooms, it could be time to up your consumption. You can roast or grill some portobello caps to make a delicious sandwich, you can sauté some sliced buttons to spread over a pizza, or you can chop up pretty much any variety you have around the house and mix them into ground meat for an extra-umami punch in your meatloaf. And if you spy any shiitakes or maitakes at the store, grab 'em. In addition to zinc, these shrooms contain beta glucans, a type of dietary fiber that might provide an additional boost against allergies. So go forth and eat mushrooms, my friend, and maybe you'll be able to pack away that tissue box for the rest of allergy season.