Are you in love with fungi? Or in loathe?
According to my extensive mushroom investigation most people are vehemently in one camp or the other, it's quite rare to find a wishy washy mushroom lover (or hater for that matter.)
Well, I am in love. Have always been. And I also must note that I find it very hard to understand how one loathes something so tasty. I often wonder if the “loathers” have ever had a properly prepared mushroom? Firm and meaty, earthy undertones a slightly salty finish that leaves you begging for more?
Well if you are still on the fence let me give you some pretty compelling reasons to chomp down on some funghi fun.
Mushrooms have long been considered a medicinal food in eastern cultures, touted for their anti-inflammatory properties and range of micronutrients.
WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT MUSHROOMS?
Mushrooms contain three important compounds that make them cancer fighting soldiers – Anitgen Binding Lectins, Aromatase Inhibitors, and Anti-Angiogenic Properties. Big words with really big fighting power.
Mushrooms contain ABL, Antigen Binding Lectins, proteins which bind to abnormal cancer cells and activate the bodies defense system against them. ABL also works to be sure that the body does not replicate abnormal cells hence preventing the spread of cancerous cells and tumors.
In relation to breast cancer mushrooms help the body reduce the level of estrogen and prevent estrogen from stimulating breast tissue through compounds called aromatase inhibitors. Estrogen plays an important role in the development of breast cancer, so mushrooms certainly have a protective effect.
Mushrooms are a preventative strategy to starve cancers while they are still harmless. As an added bonus, angiogenesis inhibitors also prevent fat growth. Eating mushrooms as part of a healthy diet also encourages a healthy weight.
HOW MANY MUSHROOMS DO I NEED TO EAT TO BENEFIT?
This is the really important part: Some studies suggest that by eating just ONE mushroom per day, or 10 grams, a woman reduces her risk of breast cancer by a staggering 64%. One mushroom a day!
MUSHROOMS PLAY WELL WITH OTHERS:
Mushrooms have even more fighting power when combined with other foods. Eat one mushroom per day plus one serving of green vegetables plus one cup of green tea and you just reduced your risk of breast cancer by 89%. Wowser! Hello food as medicine.
WHICH MUSHROOMS SHOULD I EAT?
Although old studies suggested that the common white button mushroom contained little nutrients, new studies say all mushrooms (even those grocery store white button guys) have anti-cancer properties. A mixture is best because each mushroom contains its own unique cocktail of benefits. White button, cremini, portobello, reishi, and maitake have the highest anti-aromatase activity, with shitake, chanterelle, and baby button bringing up the rear.
HOW SHOULD I EAT THEM?
Mushrooms should always be consumed cooked.
When cooking mushrooms start with a very hot skillet, add a small amount of olive oil toss in the mushrooms and allow the mushrooms to sear and turn brown, this will take 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, fresh thyme, sea salt and black pepper for a delicious cancer fighting treat!
Or try these tasty treats:
Quinoa with Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms (from Whole Foods Market)
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