Shiitake mushroom health benefits Medicinal Mushrooms
According to a study conducted by The University of Western Australia in Perth, eating mushrooms daily may reduce carcinoma risk by nearly two thirds.
The study, conducted in China, looked at more than 2000 women, half of whom had suffered from breast cancer.
Researchers found the women who ate a third of an ounce of fresh mushrooms every day had lowered their risk of developing a tumor by 64%.
Dried mushrooms didn’t have quite the same benefit, but still reduced the risk “by around half.”
The study also found that the women who regularly drank green tea, combined with their daily serving of fresh mushrooms, reduced their risk by 90%.
When reporting this study in 2009, The Telegraph went on to say that animal tests show mushrooms have “anti-tumor properties and can stimulate the immune system’s defenses.”
Mushrooms might accomplish this by blocking “the body’s production of the hormone estrogen, which can encourage the development of cancer.”
We rarely give the mushroom a second thought. We take them for granted for mushrooms are simply, everywhere. However, at certain points in history, this was not the case.
The ancient Egyptians believed the mushroom was the plant of immortality as evidenced by Hieroglyphics over 4000 years ago.
The Pharaohs of Egypt assumed that only Royalty would partake in the consumption of mushrooms with a decreed that commoners could never touch them.
In civilizations throughout the world, including Russia, Greece, and China, actual mushroom rituals were performed.
It was thought that consuming mushrooms produced impervious strength and could lead the soul straight to the Gods.
Desert mushrooms were revered in medieval Middle East periods. Mushrooms were even thought of as a potent aphrodisiac.
Mushrooms that have health benefits in human use are called medicinal mushrooms.
There are quite many different species of them. Most used and researched ones are Grifola frondosa (Maitake mushroom), Lentinula edodes (Shiitake mushroom), and Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi mushroom).
These have been used for thousands of years by people all over the world but especially by people in Asia.
In fact, some of them were thought to be very valuable. It is no wonder that there is a lot of ongoing study and research about medicinal mushrooms and their extracts.
Shiitake are low in calories. They also offer good amounts of as well as B vitamins and some minerals.
Shiitake mushrooms Health Benefits
1) Research from Beckman Research Institute, Duarte, California, found that white mushrooms contain conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which reduces high estrogen level risks like breast cancer.
Other studies at the same institution showed that white mushrooms have a similarly beneficial effect on prostate cancer.
2) Eating white mushrooms seems to block the production of inflammatory molecules, good for reducing many types of inflammation which are basically any type of immune compromise or sickness.
3) Mushrooms, in general, are known for their anti-oxidant properties.
L-ergothioneine, one of the anti-oxidants that is found in white mushrooms can be found in shiitake mushrooms with 5 X as much.
So, different species are known to have different health accolades.
4) Mushrooms have a low glycemic load (2), which means that they don’t cause sugar levels to change rapidly. Their fibrous material is, in part, responsible for this.
5) Inflammation Factor is low (-4) which suggests that they will not contribute to inflaming the body. Mushrooms are also known for reducing it.
6) Mushrooms are known to improve the immune system and cognitive function.
Nourishment profile of shiitake mushrooms
The nutrients in 4 dried shiitake (15 grams) are
- Selenium:10% of the DV
- Copper:39% of the DV
- Protein:1 gram
- Niacin:11% of the DV
- Vitamin B5:33% of the DV
- Fiber:2 grams
- Vitamin D:6% of the DV
- Zinc:8% of the DV
- Carbs: 11 grams
- Riboflavin:11% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin B6:7% of the DV
- Manganese:9% of the DV
- Folate:6% of the DV
In addition, shiitake include many of the same amino acids as meat.
How are they used?
Shiitake mushrooms have two principal uses — as food and as supplements.
Nature’s Immune System Boosters
Fungi as mushrooms are also known, can live on soil, a dead matter, or in symbiotic mode with plants.
These conditions require fungi to develop strong anti-pathogenic properties. It’s these same properties that make mushrooms so valuable as a medicine.
The main health benefit in most medicinal mushrooms is an immune system boosting ability.
This is quite useful even if you are totally healthy but especially when you are sick.
A strong immune system can fight infections and viruses. Other health benefits include effects on blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Some mushrooms can even be used to lose weight.
The most interesting health benefit of medicinal mushrooms is they anti-cancer and anti-tumor effects.
Studies have shown that some mushrooms can prevent and kill cancer cells.
In some parts of Asia, mushroom extracts are being used with chemotherapy treatments.
In addition, many mushrooms are rich in vitamins, fiber, and amino acids and don’t have much fat or cholesterol.
The miracle compound in mushrooms is inside bioactive polysaccharides. It is called beta-glucan and some researchers consider it to be one of the strongest immunity booster substances.
Over 40 years of study and 1,600 published research papers make this compound very well documented. Beta-glucan is an external immunomodulator that changes immune system’s reactions to threats.
Medicinal mushrooms can help people who suffer from diabetes, hypertension, kidney or liver problems, heart problems, and of course cancer.
Certainly, healthy people without any illnesses can also benefit from the effects. Because the mushrooms improve the immune system naturally and safely.
If you want to enhance your immunity system, you have an illness that you want to treat or if you just want a natural dietary supplement, you could try medicinal mushroom extracts.
Even though most of the medicinal mushrooms are safe and without side effects, you should always talk with a healthcare professional before starting any sort of medication.
Cancer Diet – 6 Medicinal Mushrooms to Eat Every Day to Beat Cancer
Mushrooms are amazing and often overlooked, dietary essential.
They enhance the flavors of foods, and deliver a number of health benefits from the reduction of tumor size (and some claim cure cancer completely), to regulating the immune system, to adding needed vitamins and nutrients to the diet.
They are low in calories, easy to prepare, and versatile enough to go into just about any dish you can imagine.
The biggest health concern most people have is with cancer. Cancer will be diagnosed in one out of every 2 people in North America in our lifetime.
That is a HUGE number. What is interesting for us to note is that we can help influence those statistics by what we eat.
Cancer cells show up in our bodies all the time. When we are healthy, our immune system and other systems in the body function to destroy the cancer cell.
It is only when our immunity is low, our bodies are busy dealing with some other threat, or the immune system is so completely overwhelmed with the job of destroying toxins and fending off viruses that illness takes hold.
In the case of cancer, left unchecked, it will grow and spread until eventually it has completely taken over and the body dies.
Cancer is not the only concern though. Many people frequently have cold and flu viruses that trigger a temporary illness, and yet some people, exposed to the same virus won’t become sick.
Some people have an out of control, overactive immune system. These people end up with allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, chemical sensitivities, or other auto-immune diseases. (diseases where the immune system has lost the ability to identify a threat and attacks normal cells or systems.
Mushrooms can help keep your immune system running properly so these issues of illness that plague others don’t have to bother you.
So how do you eat mushrooms every day? Don’t you get tired of them? Mushrooms are so versatile that you can brew them as a tea, or broth cut up on salads or sautéed with onions as a side dish.
You can buy dehydrated mushrooms and rehydrate them with water, broth, green tea, vegetable or fruit juices or wine and then use them in just about any kind of dish you could imagine.
The following are just a small handful of the most well-known medicinal mushrooms and how they can assist in your goal of optimal health.
SHIITAKE (shitake) – The famed shiitake mushroom had a polysaccharide called lentinan.
Lentinan has been isolated from the mushroom and is used as an anti-cancer drug in Japan.
Lentinan also boosts the immune system allowing it to fight off cold and flu viruses, overcome the infection, and even improves the immune profile of a patient with HIV.
Other substances in the shiitake mushroom have been proven to lower blood cholesterol. Yet another compound in this Asian mushroom, L-ergothioneine, is a very powerful anti-oxidant. Shiitake contains selenium, iron, protein, fiber, and vitamin C.
ABM (Agaricus blazei murill) – The ABM is rich in minerals and fiber, and contains vitamins and amino acids.
It helps diabetics control sugar, lowers cholesterol, reduces stress, prevents ulcers, and helps prevent osteoporosis.
It also boosts immune function and is a powerful anti-tumor food, helping beat back cancer.
REISHI – is particularly helpful in lung illnesses as it helps to strengthen the lungs, and aid breathing in asthma and pneumonia.
Reishi also is loaded with antioxidants, fiber, selenium. It fights off viruses, relieves inflammation, aids with allergies, and is anti-bacterial.
It is also is a powerful anti-cancer agent. As well, Ling Zhi-8, a protein isolated from this fungi helps reduce the risk of transplant rejection.
MAITAKE – Also called “Hen of the Woods”, the maitake is another powerful cancer inhibitor and tumor suppressant.
It also lowers blood sugar in diabetics and helps lower cholesterol, lowers blood pressure.
It has anti-bacterial properties and immune system boosting which helps ward off viral infections.
CHAGA – as with almost all of the mushrooms, Chaga helps modulate the immune system.
It also helps with detoxification, stimulates the central nervous system, and improves elasticity and youthfulness of the skin.
OYSTER – The protein quality of the oyster fungus is nearly that of animal protein, making it a great meat substitute for vegetarians.
It contains fiber, vitamins B1 and 2, iron and minerals as well as being a potent anti-oxidant. It is also a strong anti-tumor agent, and has anti-viral and anti-biotic properties as well as reducing cholesterol.
These are only 6 of over 300 medicinal mushrooms available. Most are easily obtainable in North America at local grocery stores. Keep cancer and other illnesses at bay. Eat some of these mushrooms every day.
Shiitake Mushrooms Assist With Losing Excess Weight
Products that aid with long-term weight loss are plentiful. The issue is those foods are not generally part of an ordinary diet.
Processed, junk and fast food products tend to be a typical diet.
Rather, an ordinary eating routine ought to incorporate food products that are natural, homemade, and nourishing.
Junk, fast, and processed foods generally are full of saturated fats, simple carbs, and calories.
Saturated fat is found in hydrogenated oil, margarine, and shortening. Simple carbs are located in buns, bread, and muffins.
Additionally, fast, processed, and junk foods generally furnish small amounts of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Hence, consuming junk, processed, and fast food products provide huge amounts of food calories but hardly any vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals.
Regular intake of fast, processed, and junk food items result in excessive weight in addition to health problems.
Hence, when doable try to reduce the intake of these kinds of food items.
Wonderful food for dropping pounds is mushrooms, including reishi, shiitake, and maitake.
These mushrooms furnish lots of beneficial nutrients that aid with reducing pounds. Plus, mushrooms have hardly any food calories.
For this reason, dining on mushrooms never will bring about excess weight.
Above and beyond helping with reducing pounds, these mushrooms supply health benefits.
Studies have proven shiitake will reduce cholesterol, heal infections, and decrease blood pressure.
Research has proven maitake will manage blood sugar, treat cancer, and prevent cancer.
Plus, maitake has been discovered they will reduce high blood pressure. Reishi mushrooms are used for numerous ailments such as inflammation, heart disease, cancer, and ulcers. In addition, reishi has anti-microbial properties that could inhibit herpes simplex virus.
Why You Should add Mushrooms into Your Meal Planning
The antioxidant properties of mushrooms make it one of the healthiest foods we can add to our diet.
Although they contain many nutrients such as selenium and polyphenols that are commonly found in plants, they also contain some antioxidants unique to mushrooms.
One is the master antioxidant ergothioneine, which is an amino acid containing sulfur.
Sulfur is now recognized as very important for human health that many people are severely deficient.
There are 140,000 species of mushroom-forming fungi, but science is familiar with about 14,000. Break that down to only about 100 species that are known for their health-promoting benefits.
Only about six are known as their outstanding ability to help the immune system.
The one mushroom that Americans are in love with one and that is the common button mushroom and its relatives, the Portobello and the Cremini mushrooms.
Of the 900 million pounds of mushrooms Americans consume each year, 95% of them come from this species.
Most of us have probably eaten this mushroom regularly, and they are an excellent food that is low in calories.
It is loaded with protein, B vitamins, and vitamin D2. There are numerous ways we can get mushrooms in our diets, such as in pasta sauces, pizza, sandwiches, meat dishes, and a variety of other dishes.
They are a healthy food that serves as a perfect complement to a variety of foods.
You are probably quite familiar with the button mushrooms we find in most of our supermarkets, but there is an entire mushroom world of tasty delights that have even more health benefits.
Check out other varieties such as Reishi, Shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Himematsutake.
They have enormous health benefits that have become common to many diets in different parts of the world.
There are a few things to know about mushrooms that are quite important. First, not all mushrooms are good for your health.
Only about 50 to 100 mushrooms are known to be toxic. Which reminds me of a story I heard in France, and how picking wild mushrooms is a big pastime for many French people.
Pharmacists in France are trained to identify certain fungi, and people after picking their wild mushrooms can bring them to the local pharmacist to check whether they are edible or dangerous.
Another important factor to remember about mushrooms is they readily absorb whatever they grow in.
This is what gives mushrooms their potency.
Healthy growing conditions are vital to derive the health benefits we want from mushrooms.
As a result, this is one of the items you should always buy organic mushrooms to make sure you’re getting a healthy product.
One more interesting aspect of mushrooms and one of the reasons why they have such important health benefits to humans is because we share similar bacteria and viruses.
Fungi as a defense to bacterial invasion have developed strong antibiotics that happen to be effective for humans.
Important antibiotics such as penicillin, tetracycline, and streptomycin have all been developed from fungal extracts.
The Best Ways to Cook Shiitake Mushrooms
One of the easiest and most delicious ways to cook shiitake mushrooms is in a sauté pan, with a little onion and garlic.
You will want to sauté the onion and garlic first in some olive oil until the onion begins to get soft.
You can use a yellow onion, thinly sliced or diced, and either fresh or “jarred” minced garlic.
Slice the shiitake mushrooms thinly and add them to the pan. Cook until they get soft, approximately 10 or 15 minutes.
You can serve over rice or pasta, or as a nice accent to chicken, shrimp, fish, you name it.
For the grill enthusiast in you, you can BBQ shiitakes quite easily.
Leave the mushrooms whole and drizzle a little olive oil (spread over the entire mushroom) and salt to taste. Put them on the grill for about 5 minutes, flipping once.
You can also bake shiitakes in the oven in a covered pan for about 25-20 minutes.
To steam them, add 2-3 tablespoons of water in the pan with them. You can add a little salt and olive oil if you like, or any other seasoning.
Shiitakes can also be used as a base for stock. Cut them into thick pieces and sauté them in a stockpot with yellow onions (diced) and garlic.
Add about 2 quarts of water and cook on low heat for a minimum of 2 hours. Just like with any type of stock, the more you cook it down, the more flavor it will have.
Shiitake mushrooms are so versatile and compliment so many things, that it would be silly for you not to keep them on your grocery list on a regular basis.
Even folks who aren’t fans of the “garden variety” shroom have found that they truly enjoy shiitakes because it’s such a distinctly different flavor.
So whether it be for the versatility, health benefits or robust, rich flavor shiitake mushrooms offer, you can’t go wrong regardless of how you decide to incorporate them into a meal. Bon Appétit!
TOXICITY CAUTION: MUST READ
Mushrooms from the Agaricus Bisporus species, which is the species to which white mushrooms and many others we eat belong, reveal the presence of small amounts of hydrazine compound derivatives, agaratine, and gyromitrin.
These substances are known carcinogens when delivered to mice in extremely high doses in short time periods.
There has never been a proven case that cancer has been caused by eating mushrooms.
Most researchers recommend that consideration be given to this fact and point out that cooking the mushrooms reduces the contents of the toxins.
Confirm that you do not feel allergic or headache from eating a small number of mushrooms before you eat a larger portion.
Sometimes, people can have adverse reactions to eating them. I had a small headache from adding a mushroom supplement once. It was mild but lasted several days.
It should also be noted that, according to Joshua Rosenthal’s nutrition program, mushrooms are in the top 15 foods with least residue from pesticides, although I have no knowledge of how he got this number.
It’s always better to eat organic food which means it was not sprayed.
The Bottom Line
There are so many benefits to mushrooms. They can be used in so many ways: as antioxidants, antivirals, an anti-migraine remedy, for anti-cancer treatment, as anti-psychotics, for daily nutrition, improved memory, and beauty care.
The wealth of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and overall healthy properties make it a superfood.
After seeing all of what it does, consider telling everyone you’re adding it to your day.