The Healing Fungus ~ The Healing Power
They can help;
Inhibit tumor growth
Boost the Immune System
Lower your cholesterol levels
These and other varieties are so popular in Asian cultures that they're sold by streetcar vendors, just as we in North America sell hotdogs and smokies.
But while we've been somewhat slow to embrace these meaty morsels, they're becoming increasingly more commonplace, both in the kitchen as well as in the laboratory.
Scientists are discovering what natural healers have known for ages.
Mushrooms are not only important sources of nutrients but also stimulate the immune system.
Researchers say that they possibly can help fight cancer and high cholesterol, but perhaps even AIDS.
Unfortunately, the common white button mushroom, has no known medicinal value.
It does, however, supply good amounts of key nutrients, like the B-vitamins.
Putting a Cap on Cancer
Long esteemed in Japan for their reputed tumor-shrinking abilities, shiitake mushrooms have been attracting global attention because of the cancer-fighting compound that they contain.
These large, meaty, black mushrooms contain a polysaccharide, or complex sugar, called "lentinan".
Polysaccharides are large molecules that are similar in structure to bacteria.
When you eat shiitake mushrooms, your immune system starts amassing an army of infection fighting cells.
In essence the shiitake mushrooms fool the immune system into kicking into action.
Researchers found that when they feed lentinan in the form of dried shiitake mushroom powder to laboratory animals with tumors, they can inhibit tumor growth by 67 percent.
Researchers are also looking at the "maitake" mushroom, also know as hen of the woods or dancing mushroom.
Like shiitake mushrooms, maitake mushrooms have a centuries-old reputation for being helpful in treating cancer.
The active polysaccharide in maitake mushrooms called betaglucan or D-fraction, has been highly effective in shrinking tumors in lab animals.
It only takes about half a cup to get a healthy serving.
You can usually find shiitake mushrooms, and other exotics, in Asian or health food supermarkets.
In the Kitchen
Although you can buy fresh shiitake mushrooms at specialty markets, you're more than likely to find them in their dehydrated form, so here's how to use them.
Soften them up.
To reconstitute dried mushrooms, place them in a saucepan, cover with water and bring them to a rolling boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for twenty minutes.
Drain, slice and add to your fave recipe and you'll want to save the mushroom water for great tasting soups and sauces.
Cut them fine.
I'll admit that re-hydrated mushrooms don't look quite as pretty as the freshly picked ones, and they do have a slightly pungent flavor that in large amounts might be objectionable to some people.
But, any chef I've spoken with says to cut them very fine and use them sparingly in your soups, casseroles and salads.
Immunity Boosting & AIDS
Because the shiitake and maitake mushrooms have proven so effective in bolstering the immune system, some scientists have tested their mettle, with some success, against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
In lab studies, an extract of the maitake mushroom's beta-glucan was able to prevent HIV from killing T cells the immune systems crucial white blood cells.
Eating these mushrooms on a regular basis is a good way to keep your immune system up and running.
The Raw Dangers
We know that raw, sliced mushrooms are a salad bar favorite.
But, the experts are saying that we don’t want to make that a habit.
It seems that raw mushrooms contain hydrazines, toxic chemicals that studies have shown, can produce tumors in lab animals.
Nobody really knows how many you'd have to eat to get a similar effect, so I'd recommend to cook your shrooms before eating, as cooking eliminates the hydrazines.
If your cholesterol levels are hovering near he danger zone, 200 or above, you might want to consider making mushrooms a regular side dish at your dining table.
During the 70's and 80's, human and animal studies in Japan showed that some of the compounds in shiitake mushrooms, eritadenine, could effectively lower cholesterol levels.
More recently though, researchers have found that feeding mice 5 percent of their diets in dried mushrooms, particularly oyster mushrooms, could reduce cholesterol by 45 percent.
Researchers still can't say how many mushrooms people have to eat to get the same effect, but they do agree that adding a couple of these to your diet each day certainly can't hurt and it may help play a role in bringing your cholesterol levels down.
Astonishing Sex Secret:
Intensifies Desire, Maximizes Performance,And Supercharges Staying Power!
The Chinese mushroom "cordyceps" has been popular in China for improving both sexual and athletic performance since ancient times.
It first garnered worldwide attention a few years back when several unheralded Chinese athletes broke world records in running and swimming.
And it soon came out that their nutritional program included cordyceps.
The physical bond that sex creates between you and your partner, strengthens your emotional bond with each other and improves your emotional health, a key component in our quest for staying young.
However, cordyceps’ real claim to fame is its remarkable ability to increase sexual desire, restore sexual function, plus improve endurance.
And numerous medical studies confirm that it really works.
In one clinical trial, 243 male and 11 female patients suffering from low sexual function were given cordyceps or a placebo.
An impressive 64.1% of those given cordyceps showed an improvement in sexual function and nearly half of them had their sexual function restored.
Meanwhile, only 22% of the placebo group showed any improvement.
On top of that, the journal Phytochemistry reported a study conducted by the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences at South Africa’s University of Natal.
The study showed that cordyceps increases levels of nitric oxide, which as you may recall, can bring more blood to your genital regions, leading to increased sensitivity, a higher degree of pleasure, and firmer erections.
Another study reported in the Journal of Modern Diagnostics and Therapeutics provided cordyceps to 22 men who suffered from impotence.
More than 33% of the patients became capable of sexual intercourse and more than half saw clinical improvement with their impotence.
The number of deformed sperm fell from 70% to 50% and sperm survival rate increased from 29.4% to 52.25%.
A Burst of B's
Mushrooms offer two important B vitamins, niacin and riboflavin, that are not often found in other vegetables.
For once though, the common white button shroom may be a key player.
While dried shiitake mushrooms have a higher nutrient concentration, they also have a strong flavor, but white mushrooms with their mild taste, can be eaten with virtually every meal.
Niacin is important because it helps your body form enzymes needed to convert sugars into energy, to use fats and to keep your body's tissues healthy.
White or button mushrooms are a good source, containing 4 milligrams of niacin, which is about 20 percent of the daily recommended value.
Like niacin, riboflavin is a helper nutrient.
It's needed to convert other nutrients, like niacin, vitamin B6 and folate into usable forms.
If you're low on riboflavin, you could be low on these other nutrients as well.
A half cup of boiled white mushrooms contain 0.2 mg of riboflavin, 12 percent of the daily requirement.
Getting the Most
Cook 'em Danno
Mushrooms are delicious, a respectable source of protein and provide all the essential amino acids when combined with grains.
Low in carbohydrates, mushrooms also deliver useful amounts of some B vitamins and trace minerals.
Shiitake mushrooms are a particularly healthful mushroom type, as they contain an active compound called lentinan, a polysaccharide that has been studied for its ability to strengthen the immune system.
It's important to thoroughly cook mushrooms, since their cell walls are tough and the digestive system may have to work hard to get their full nutritional benefits.
Heat will help eliminate that problem, as well as bring out the best flavors and textures.
Healthy cooking methods include sautéing with a bit of extra virgin olive or grapeseed oil.
Or try grilling them as they're delicious grilled and basted in a little teriyaki sauce.
Asian methods, such as simmering mushrooms in broth or stir-frying them with vegetables, also work well.
To get optimal healing power from mushrooms, stick to the Asian varieties, particularly shiitake mushrooms and maitake.
Other mushrooms to consider are enoki, oyster, pine and straw varieties.
The following is a recipe that Marilyn and I enjoy and we thought you might as well.
Fast Shiitake Mushroom Soup
A study published in 2006 found shiitake mushrooms effective in protecting liver cells from toxins.
Considering the liver is our major detox organ, it's a great idea to give it a break and try this ultra-fast shiitake soup.
Instead of using cream, opt for the healthy cauliflower, which will create a smooth, milky-like finish.
This recipe is great to make for a sick loved one and will come together in a fraction of the time it takes to make chicken noodle soup!
8 c. (2 l.) vegetable broth
6 c. (1.5 l.) cauliflower, chopped
6 c. (1.5 l.) shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml.) pink rock or grey sea salt
1 Tbs. (15 ml.) apple cider vinegar
2 c. (500 ml.) onions, chopped
1. Place all ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil.
Reduce and cook for 20 minutes.
2. When finished, puree with immersion blender until smooth.
3. Serve warm, with a drizzle of pesto.
Makes 12 servings.
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