Food Remedy Series – Mushrooms: Wild About Edible Fat-Free Antioxidant Caps

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4 cut mushrooms on a table

White button mushrooms.

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:

  • Reishi
  • Shiitake
  • White Button
  • Cremini
  • Oyster
  • Maitake
  • 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.

A dozen Chanterelle mushrooms

Chanterelle mushrooms; a prized edible mushroom.

Mycorrhizal mushrooms are most often used in soups and sauces, and include:

  • Porcini
  • Truffles
  • Chanterelles
  • Matsutake
  • Caesar’s

Vitamin-Rich

Mushrooms contain:

  1. Thiamine (B1)
  2. Riboflavin (B2)
  3. Niacin (B3)
  4. Pantothenic acid (B5)
  5. Folate (B9)
  6. Selenium
  7. Potassium
  8. Copper
  9. Iron
  10. Phosphorus
  11. Magnesium
  12. Fiber
  13. Antioxidants

Researchers have found that mushrooms stimulate your immune system, so this means that they can assist in fighting cancer, high cholesterol, and hormone imbalances.

Great White Pelicans on a lake.

Be careful if you are harvesting wild mushrooms. Some can be poisonous.

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.

Medicinal Value

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.

Cancer

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 acidwhich 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. 

Cholesterol

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.

Immune Booster

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.

The Downside

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

Cartoon smiling chef with blank menu paper in hands

Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

Here is a very quick and easy recipe to capture all of the goodies from cooked mushrooms:

Directions
  1. Cut mushroom of choice into slices;
  2. Melt organic butter in a large pan;
  3. Add onions, garlic, and mushrooms;
  4. Blend 2-Tablespoons flour of choice and stir;
  5. Add chicken broth and heat until slightly thickened while stirring frequently;
  6. Mix cream with an additional 1-Tablespoon flour and your favorite seasonings;
  7. Add mushrooms;
  8. Add extra cream;
  9. 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.

About Janet Hull PhD, CN

Janet Starr Hull, PhD, CN has been working with clients in the holistic health field since 1995. Using natural medicine to cure herself from a diagnosis of Graves’ disease caused by aspartame, Dr. Hull began researching the toxic causes of disease. Today, she is one of the world’s leading experts in environmental toxicology and holistic health and nutrition. Dr. Hull is the first researcher to publicly expose the dangers of aspartame. Connect with Dr. Hull on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.

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