MushroomsInhibit tumor growth; Boost the immune system, Lower cholesterol levels
Its same old story – scientists are discovering what natural healers have known for ages – mushrooms not only are important sources of nutrients but also stimulate the immune system. Researchers say that they possibly can help fight cancer and high cholesterol, and perhaps even AIDS.
Long revered in
These large, meaty black mushrooms contain a polysaccharide, or complex sugar, called lentinan. Polysaccharides are large molecules that are similar in structure to bacteria. When you eat shiitake mushrooms, your immune system starts amassing an army of infection-fighting cells. Researchers found that when they feed lentinan in the form of dried mushroom powder to people with tumors, they can inhibit tumor growth by massive 70%.
Researchers also looking at maitake mushroom, also known as hen of the woods or the dancing mushroom. Like shiitake, maitake mushrooms have a centuries-old reputation for being helpful in treating people with cancer. Only recently they are started getting the attention that they deserve in the West.
The active polysaccharide in maitake mushrooms, called beta-glucan or D-fraction, has been highly effective in shrinking tumors in laboratory animals, even more effective than lentian, say researchers.
Because the shiitake and maitake mushrooms have proven so effective in supporting immune system, some scientist has tested their mettle, with considerable success, against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In laboratory studies, an extract of the maitake mushrooms beta-glucan was able to prevent HIV from killing T cells, the immune system’s crucial white blood cells.
If your cholesterol levels are hovering near the danger zone – you might want to consider making mushrooms a regular side dish in your diet. During the 1980s and 1990’s, numerous human and animal studies in
Researchers still can’t say how many mushrooms people have to eat to get the desired cholesterol reduction effect, but all of them agree that by adding mushrooms daily to your diet will help play a role in bringing cholesterol levels down.
For both taste and nutrition, mushrooms are better cooked than raw. This is because they are mostly water. When you cook them, you remove the water and concentrate the nutrients as well as the flavor.
To get optimal healing power from mushrooms, try Asian varieties, particularly shiitake and maitake. Other mushrooms that provide therapeutic benefits are enoki, oyster, pine, and straw varieties.