Mushrooms are edible fungi that prosper by extracting nutrients from dead and decaying plant and animal matter. They have different colors, shapes, textures, and properties. For ages, mushrooms have been cultivated due to the essential nutrients and amazing health benefits they offer into our body.
Aside from having no fat, no cholesterol, and no gluten, these superfoods are great sources of selenium, B-vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, folate), potassium, phosphorus, vitamin D, vitamin C, iron, calcium, and sodium. Consumption of mushrooms can also help boost our body’s production of vitamin D, especially if we are exposed to sunlight, help us manage symptoms of diabetes, lower our risk of anemia and bladder cancer, and protect our bones.
Mushrooms And Cancer
In research conducted by experts from the University of Western Australia in Perth, it was found that mushrooms have powers to help prevent and fight breast cancer and other types of cancers. This is mainly due to its fascinating medicinal properties.
In the study which involved 2,000 Chinese women, wherein about half had suffered from breast cancer, scientists reviewed the participants’ eating habits and determined other factors that contribute cancer development such as lack of exercise, smoking and being overweight. After that, at least a third of an ounce of fresh mushrooms (about one mushroom per day) were given every day to the women.
According to the results, women who consumed mushroom regularly were 64% less likely to develop breast cancer. Moreover, it was found that eating mushroom along with drinking green tea have a more promising effect as they are able to reduce the women’s breast cancer risk by an astounding 89%. Meanwhile, a slightly less protective effect has been shown by eating dried mushrooms as they can only lower the risk by around half.
In a separate study published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine, scientists discovered that five types of mushrooms (maitake, crimini, portabella, oyster and white button) can suppress breast cancer cell growth and reproduction, and may have chemoprotective potential against breast cancer.
Furthermore, according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, lentinan – a type of sugar molecule that comes from the shiitake mushroom – has anti-tumor effects and work by enhancing the immune system to slow down the growth of tumors.
How Mushrooms Fight Cancer
Mushrooms, including the commonly eaten white button and portobello mushrooms, are one of the very few foods that inhibit an enzyme called aromatase, which produces estrogen. Experts believed that this is the reason why it can protect against breast and other hormone-related cancers.
Moreover, they also contain specialized lectins that are able to recognize cancer cells and can help prevent cancer cells from growing and dividing.
Some other kind of mushrooms with the potential for potent anti-cancer activity is white, oyster, maitake, turkey tail, cremini, shitake, and reishi mushrooms.
There were also several studies showing that mushrooms have also positive effects against prostate, colorectal, and stomach cancer.
A Word Of Caution
Yes, mushrooms are healthy and delicious. However, they should be chosen wisely as some of their species are dangerous and inedible. Always buy mushrooms from a trusted source.