Yet another food that has proven it’s worth over thousands of years. It’s grown wildly since prehistoric times! It’s a symbol of longevity in Asia and has been used medicinally for more than 6,000 years in China. Mushrooms are a fungi and there are loads of them. There are 14000 kinds, 3000 edible varieties (less than 1% poisonous) and 700 medicinal. They’re 80-90% water, 8-10% fiber, and low calories. They are full of proteins, vitamins and minerals, amino acids, antibiotics, and antioxidants. Beta-Glucans inhibit growth of cancerous cells in prostate cancer. Good for women too, it contains conjugated linoleic acid that can suppress the effects of estrogen and decrease the risk of breast cancer. It’s selenium content helps to inhibit cancerous cells as well! Lentinan in shiitake have shown anticancer activity too, as well as boosting the immune system by strengthening its ability to fight disease and infection. Mushrooms have a very high concentration of L-ergothioneine (shiitake the most, but even America’s favorite white buttons have 12 times amount in wheat germ and 4 times that in chicken liver). L-ergothioneine is an antioxidant that protects against free radicals and boost immunity. Your immunity is further strengthened because mushrooms’ good combination of vitamins A, B-complex, and C. It is the only vegetable to contain vitamin D. Other valuables:
- calcium (bones)
- iron (anemia)
- potassium (blood pressure)
- copper (antibacterial)
- selenium (bones, teeth, nails, antioxidants)
Diabetics may consider adding mushrooms, because their natural insulin and enzymes break down the sugar or starch of the food. There are so many (white button, morel, truffles, portabella, shiitake, maitake, etc.), so try sauteing or stir-frying today!