The Healing Fungus ~ The Healing Power
Inhibit tumor growth
Boost the Immune System
Lower your cholesterol levels
They're so popular in Asian cultures that they're sold by streetcar vendors, just as we sell hotdogs and smokies.
But while North Americans have 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 variety, has little medicinal value.
It does, however, supply good amounts of key nutrients, like the B-vitamins.
Health-benefits ~ 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 morsels, contain a polysaccharide, or complex sugar, called "lentinan".
Polysaccharides are large molecules that are similar in structure to bacteria.
When you eat shiitakes, your immune system starts amassing an army of infection fighting cells.
In essence they fool the immune system into kicking into action.
Researchers found that when they feed lentinan in the form of dried 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 shiitakes, the maitake variety have a centuries-old reputation for being helpful in treating cancer.
The active polysaccharide in maitakes', 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 these types in Asian or health food supermarkets.
Health-benefits ~ In the Kitchen
Although you can buy fresh shiitakes' 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 them, place 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 water for great tasting soups and sauces.
Cut them fine.
I'll admit that reconstituted, they don't look quite as pretty as freshly picked, and they do have a slightly pungent flavor that in large amounts might be objectionable.
Any chef I've spoken with tells me to cut them very fine and use them sparingly in your soups, casseroles and salads.
Health-benefits ~ Immunity Boosting & AIDS
Because the shiitake and maitake varieties 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 super veggies on a regular basis is a good way to keep your immune system up and running.
The Raw Dangers
Raw and sliced, they're a salad bar favorite.
The experts are saying that we don’t want to make that a habit though.
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.
Health-benefits ~ Cutting Cholesterol
If your cholesterol levels are hovering near the danger zone, 200 or above, you might want to consider making these super vegetables 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 the oyster variety, could reduce cholesterol by 45 percent.
Researchers still can't say how many you'd 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.
Health-benefits ~ 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%.
Health-benefits ~ A Burst of B's
Mushrooms offer two important B-vitamins, niacin and riboflavin, that are not often found in vegetables.
For once though, the common white button shrooms may be a key player.
While dried shiitakes' have a higher nutrient concentration, they also have a strong flavor, but white buttons, 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 buttons 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 useable 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.
Health-benefits ~ Getting the Most
Cook 'em Danno
For both taste and nutrition, mushrooms are better cooked than raw.
This is because they're mostly water.
When you cook them, you remove the water and thus concentrate the nutrients as well as the flavor.
Health-benefits ~ Eating Exotic
To get optimal healing power from these super veggies, stick to the Asian varieties, particularly shiitake and maitake.
Others to consider are enoki, oyster, pine and straw varieties.
Here's a great recipe to incorporate more of these marvelous morsels into your diet.
Here we take the elements of a vegetarian lasagna filling, ricotta, spinach and Parmesan cheese, and nestle them into roasted portobello caps.
The recipe works best with very large portobello caps; if you can only find smaller ones, buy one or two extra and divide the filling among all the caps.
Serve with a tossed salad and a whole-wheat dinner roll or spaghetti tossed with marinara sauce.
Makes 4 servings
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
* 4 lg. portobello mushroom caps
* 1/4 tsp. sea salt
* 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper, divided
* 1 c. part-skim ricotta cheese
* 1 c. finely chopped fresh spinach
* 1/2 c. finely shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
* 2 Tbs. finely chopped kalamata olives
* 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
* 3/4 c. prepared marinara sauce
1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Place mushroom caps, gill-side up, on the prepared pan.
Sprinkle with sea salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper.
Roast until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, mash ricotta, spinach, 1/4 c. Parmesan, olives, Italian seasoning and the remaining 1/8 tsp. pepper in a medium bowl.
Place marinara sauce in a small bowl, cover and microwave on High until hot, 30 seconds to 1 1/2 minutes.
4. When the mushrooms are tender, carefully pour out any liquid accumulated in the caps.
Return the caps to the pan gill-side up.
Spread 1 Tbs. marinara into each cap; cover the remaining sauce to keep warm.
Mound a generous 1/3 c. ricotta filling into each cap and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 c. Parmesan.
Bake until hot, about 10 minutes.
Serve with the remaining marinara sauce.
10 g. Fat (5 g. Sat, 4 g. Mono);
28 mg. Cholesterol;
13 g. Carbohydrates;
14 g. Protein;
2 g. Fiber;
680 mg. Sodium;
677 mg. Potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Calcium (31% daily value), Vitamin-A (25% dv), Potassium (19% dv).Tweet
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