Ah – mushrooms. How do you like eating funny-looking caps low in calories with virtually no fat, no cholesterol, and low sodium?
Bring it on.
Vitamins and Minerals
Mushrooms are loaded with vitamins and minerals, and most of them are edible with medicinal properties.
To date, they have discovered over 10,000 different types of mushrooms, but they have yet to identify them all. A mushroom is neither a fruit nor a vegetable; technically mushrooms aren’t even plants. They are a special type of fungus, which understandably puts some people off. Mushrooms are a very healthy food, though.
Scientists categorize them by how they feed themselves.
Saprotrophic mushrooms are the decomposers, and they release enzymes and acids that break down dead tissue that they, in turn, absorb.
Saprotrophic mushrooms are the more common, edible type that include:
- White Button
- Chicken of the Woods
- Black Trumpet
Mycorrhizal mushrooms are a more gourmet type of mushroom because they wrap themselves around the roots of plants and trees, but they are hard to cultivate.
Mycorrhizal mushrooms are most often used in soups and sauces, and include:
- Thiamine (B1)
- Riboflavin (B2)
- Niacin (B3)
- Pantothenic acid (B5)
- Folate (B9)
Researchers have found that mushrooms stimulate your immune system, so this means that they can assist in fighting cancer, high cholesterol, and hormone imbalances.
Not All Mushrooms Are The Same
Edible mushrooms are packed with antioxidants and have a mild earthy flavor. Many mushrooms, however, lack flavor, and some are poisonous.
Actually, some mushrooms can kill you. Take an experienced mushroom hunter with you if you are harvesting wild mushrooms.
I grew up thinking that white, button mushrooms had no nutritional value, but recent studies are showing that the nutritional, and medicinal, value of mushrooms is rather high.
Mushrooms are having positive results in breast cancer patients. Researchers at City of Hope, Duarte, California, discovered that mushrooms suppress estrogen production by inhibiting aromatase. (pomegranates do this, too)
Mushrooms contain the phytochemical conjugated linoleic acid, which is what inhibits aromatase, the protein that makes estrogen. Breast cancer is a hormone-dependent cancer, which means estrogen helps the cancer grow.
Controlling your estrogen levels can prevent breast tumors for both pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women.
Hum, think about traditional menopausal hormone treatments – treatments that put more estrogen into your body.
Studies in Japan showed that a compound in shitake, reishi, and oyster mushrooms called eritadenine, lowered cholesterol. If you are worried about your cholesterol levels, eat more mushrooms 4 to 5 times every week.
Research studies have shown that an extract from maitake mushrooms called beta-glucan prevented HIV from destroying T-cells; T-cells are your immune system’s critical white cells.
Regularly eating mushrooms can support your immune system, according to these studies.
Eating too many raw mushrooms does carry a warning.
Uncooked mushrooms contain hydrazines, which are chemicals shown to produce tumors in lab rats. The solution is to simply eat your mushrooms cooked, which releases the hydrazines when heated.
Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup
Here is a very quick and easy recipe to capture all of the goodies from cooked mushrooms:
- Cut mushroom of choice into slices;
- Melt organic butter in a large pan;
- Add onions, garlic, and mushrooms;
- Blend 2-Tablespoons flour of choice and stir;
- Add chicken broth and heat until slightly thickened while stirring frequently;
- Mix cream with an additional 1-Tablespoon flour and your favorite seasonings;
- Add mushrooms;
- Add extra cream;
- Serve and enjoy!
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and is educational in nature. The FDA may not have evaluated some of the statements. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please discuss with your own, qualified health care provider before adding supplements or making any changes to your dietary program.
Before taking vitamins, consult your doctor; pre-existing medical conditions or medications you are taking can affect how your body responds to multivitamins.