National Mushroom Month

Archived Content

  • Print

For thousands of years, Eastern cultures have revered mushrooms as both food and medicine. Now, researchers are backing up many of those claims with scientific studies that indicate there are many health benefits obtained from eating mushrooms. QUESTION: WHAT HEALTH BENEFITS DO WE GET FROM MUSHROOMS? Studies conducted over the past 30 years in Asia suggest mushrooms or substances found in them aid in the treatment of certain types of cancer, boost the immune system and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Much of this research focused on shiitake and maitake mushrooms, and now U.S. researchers have found that ordinary white mushrooms may have a role in the treatment and prevention of breast cancer. Let’s review the health benefits: MUSHROOMS PROVIDE: Beta glucans Selenium Potassium Copper B vitamins Mushrooms contain substances classified as beta glucans (lentinan, LEM, D-fraction), which appear to kick the immune system into action. They help fight infection and slow cancer cell growth or may even inhibit tumor growth. (Lentinan also boosts the effect of chemotherapy) Mushrooms also contain eritadenin, which reduces cholesterol. They are an excellent source of selenium, which prevents and treats cancer, heart disease and diabetes; potassium, which lowers blood pressure, preventing heart attack and stroke; copper, which boosts the immune system. Mushrooms also provide riboflavin needed for healthy skin and eyes; niacin needed for good digestion and nervous system; pantothenic acid needed for hormone production and a healthy nervous system. QUESTION: DO ALL MUSHROOMS PROVIDE THESE BENEFITS? Shiitake boost immunity, fight infection slow cancer cells, shrink tumors lower cholesterol shrink tumors lower blood pressure keep 14 days in the refridgerator in a porous bag White reduce breast cancer lower estrogen lower blood pressure keep 5-7 days in the refridgerator in a paper bag Maitake inhibit tumor growth stimulate immune system lower blood pressure lower cholesterol reduce prostate cancer reduce diabetes keep 7-10 days in the refridgerator in a paper bag Portobellos lower blood pressure lower cholesterol keep 7-10 days in the refridgerator in a paper bag Crimini lower blood pressure lower cholesterol keep 5-7 days in the refridgerator in a paper bag Tree Ear or Wood Ear thin blood prevent heart disease QUESTION: DO YOU HAVE TIPS FOR STORING & PREPARING MUSHROOMS? Brush mushrooms with a brush or wash quickly in cold water or with a wet towel Dried mushrooms last indefinitely; drying intensifies the flavor and protein content It is best to avoid eating raw mushrooms because they contain compounds that inactivate digestive enzymes Mushrooms are versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes