HEALTH HACK #4, FAB FUNGI: MUSHROOMS

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Who knew that varieties of this edible fungus are such wellness/longevity powerhouses??  I used to think of mushrooms as empty; devoid of anything useful, and just a filler for recipes.  Boy, was I wrong.  Cremini, Shiitake, Reishi, Button, Cordyceps, and Maitake—they are all loaded with nutrients, and boast an array of mind-blowing health benefits.  They are anything but empty! 

Below are just a few of the numerous benefits that mushrooms offer our bodies: (Please note:  It’s important to eat ONLY organically grown mushrooms because they are like sponges and absorb the environment in which they grow.  They can concentrate and internalize whatever surrounds them, including pollutants and toxins…so just purchase certified organic and you’re good to go!)

Fight Cancer:                                                                                                                          Mushrooms are a powerful anti-cancer food!  Mushrooms inhibit tumor formation, while protecting healthy cells and increasing the body’s ability to detoxify itself.  One of the compounds found in Cordyceps (a type of mushroom) has been identified as a potential cancer drug.  SO Amazing!

Improve the Immune System:                                                                                                Mushrooms contain antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-tumor, antiallergic, and anti-inflammatory compounds.  Mushrooms help alkalize the body, and they can protect us from numerous diseases, viruses, and bacteria.  Here’s a neat fact:  some substances in antibiotics given to people when they’re sick, (including penicillin, streptomycin and tetracycline), are derived from mushroom fungal extracts!  Why not just toss some mushrooms into your omelette or salad, instead?  Mushrooms are magical, in my opinion.  Specifically, they contain antioxidants that are unique to mushrooms.  One of which is an amino acid that contains sulfur, (the 3rd most abundant mineral in the body).  Sulphur is crucial for detoxification and a deficiency of it has been linked to numerous illnesses, including obesity, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.

Protect The Heart:                                                                                                                           Eating more mushrooms is one way to lower “bad” cholesterol. Many types of mushrooms help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol and raise HDL “good” cholesterol. They also contain phytonutrients that help prevent plague buildup in the arteries. Mushrooms are also being studied for their powerful anti-inflammatory compounds, which can help those suffering from asthma, arthritis, or damage from a stroke.  

Weight Management:                                                                                                                          By simply substituting mushrooms for meat a few times a week, you may be able to lose more weight.  Since mushrooms are a low-calorie, nutrient-dense food, they have been found to reduce waist circumference and promote a healthy body weight. 

My suggestion:  Whip up a veggie stir-fry with a variety of mushrooms as the star of the show.  Just wipe your mushrooms with a damp cloth or paper towel; don’t rinse because they will become water-logged.  

Mushrooms can also be purchased in powdered form and added to soups or smoothies as an enhancer.  I’m currently using the “Om” brand of powdered Reishi Mushrooms—100% certified organic.  

 

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