(NaturalHealth365) The small but mighty mushrooms are prized for their taste, and health giving qualities. Mushrooms have a long history of use in Asian medicine. There are over twenty species cultivated in 60 countries. The top produces are China, United States, Netherlands, France and Poland.
Mushrooms are low in calories, fat free, cholesterol free, and extremely low in sodium. However, they provide many nutrients, including selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D2, B2, B5, B6 and copper. Mushrooms have become more popular in the United States, as the result of scientific validation of the health benefits.
From the ordinary to the exotic, mushrooms come in a variety of sizes and shapes. They are a great addition to stir fries, salads, soups, stews, roasts, dips, and rice dishes.
The type of mushrooms makes a difference when looking for flavor and unique array of health benefits. All of the common variety offer health benefits, but some have gained attention for specific indications.
Shitake mushrooms are grown in Japan, which at one time was the world’s larger producer, now it is China. The Chinese produce over 80% of the commercially sold shitake mushrooms. Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the United States also grow shitake mushrooms. Dried shitakes are available in Asian groceries, and health food stores. Fresh shitakes are available from American growers.
Shitake is being researched for its amazing health benefits. The evidence is growing stronger for the powers of this mushroom. It supports the cardiovascular system, with its ability to prevent cell binding to the lining of the blood vessels by blocking the adhesion molecule production process. This alone is huge, but it has also demonstrated a role in preventing cancer.
This is a favorite because of taste, and immune enhancing effects. maitake’s grow in big clusters, and are easy to find dried or fresh in Japanese markets, and specialty stores. maitake is known to have an anticancer and antiviral effect. It is also thought to help control high blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Cordyceps are used as a tonic and restorative to health in China. It is used to treat general weakness. It is also known for helping athletes improve their performance. It is sold in health food stores and comes whole or dried. There is a powdered form, and it also is found in capsules and liquid. For cooking purposes it is used in soups, stews, or longer cooking dishes.
Reishi is a well known medical mushroom, and is not used as a food. It is both hard and bitter. Reishi improves immune function, and inhibits certain malignant tumors. It is anti-inflammatory, and protects the liver. They are sold dried, ground and are used to make tea. The other reishi products are liquid extracts or capsules.
Enoki’s are slender white mushrooms that are good in both soups and salads. They also have significant anticancer effects, while building the immune response.
The button mushroom which is the kind in the produce sections of most supper markets is a culinary delight, which enhances the immune system. The Agricultural Research Service (APS) funded scientist have conducted an animal-model and cell-culture study showing that white button mushrooms enhance the activity of critical cells in the body’s immune system. The very latest findings show that white button mushrooms can reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer. An extract of white button mushrooms, decreased both cell proliferation and tumor size. The chemo-protective effect can be seen with an intake of about 100 grams (3.5 ozs) per day.
This is a wonderful finding since white button mushrooms represent 90 percent of the total mushrooms consumed in the United States. Mushrooms are coveted for their both their great taste and potential health benefits.
About the author Blanche has been a student of natural healing modalities for the last 25 years. She had the privilege of working with some of the greatest minds in Natural Healing including Naturopaths, Scientist, and Energy Healers. Having seen people miraculously heal from all kinds of dis-ease through non-invasive methods, her passion now is to help people become aware of what it takes to be healthy.