The standard for the name " mushroom " is the cultivated white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus; hence the word " mushroom " is most often applied to those fungi (Basidiomycota, Agaricomycetes) that have a stem (stipe), a cap (pileus), and gills (lamellae, sing. lamella)

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Overall Health Benefits of Mushrooms


Organic mushrooms are already put to use for 1000's of years both as food and for healing purposes. They are usually classified as a plant or a herb, however they are actually fungus infection. While you will find over 14,000 mushrooms, just about 3,000 are delicious, about 700 have known healing properties, and much less than a single percent are acknowledged as harmful.

Lots of persons enjoy visiting the woods to pick their own mushrooms. On the other hand, identifying mushrooms can be a real challenge. The color, shape and size of the fruiting body can vary hugely. It is important to properly identify the mushroom that is collected, in order to avoid a deadly species.
The Romans regarded mushrooms as a gift from God and served them only on festive occasions, while the Chinese treasured them as a health food. 
Today, fresh mushrooms are appreciated for their flavor and texture. They can impart their own flavor to food or take on the flavor of other ingredients. Their flavor normally intensifies during cooking, and their texture holds up well to usual cooking methods, including stir-frying and sauteing. 

It is popular to add mushrooms to soups, salads, and sandwiches, or to use them as an appetizer. They also add an appealing touch to vegetable-based casseroles and stews. In the US, mushroom extracts are increasingly being used in nutraceutical products and sports drinks.
Mushrooms contain about 80 to 90 percent water, and are very low in calories (only 100 cal/oz). They have very little sodium and fat, and 8 to 10 percent of the dry weight is fiber. Hence, they are an ideal food for persons following a weight management program or a diet for hypertensives.
Mushrooms are an excellent source of potassium, a mineral that helps lower elevated blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke. One medium portabella mushroom has even more potassium than a banana or a glass of orange juice. One serving of mushrooms also provides about 20 to 40 percent of the daily value of copper, a mineral that has cardioprotective properties.

Mushrooms are a rich source of riboflavin, niacin, and selenium. Selenium is an antioxidant that works with vitamin E to protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. Male health professionals who consumed twice the recommended daily intake of selenium cut their risk of prostate cancer by 65 percent. In the Baltimore study on Aging, men with the lowest blood selenium levels were 4 to 5 times more likely to have prostate cancer compared to those with the highest selenium levels.
The most commonly consumed mushroom in america is Agaricus bisporus or the white button mushroom. A. bisporus has two other forms - Crimini or brown mushrooms with a more earthy flavor and firmer texture, and Portabella mushrooms with a large umbrella-shaped cap and meaty flavor.
All three mushrooms, but especially the fresh button mushrooms, possess substances that inhibit the activity of aromatase (an enzyme involved in estrogen production), and 5-alpha-reductase (an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT). The latest findings show that white button mushrooms can reduce the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer. An extract of white button mushrooms decreased cell proliferation and decreased tumor size in a dose-dependent manner. The chemoprotective effect can be seen with an intake of about 100 grams (3.5 ozs) of mushrooms per day .

This superfood fights off viruses, keeps your immunity up, and adds an extra layer of flavor to any meal.

Want to improve your health and enjoy some delicious food ? Then pile on the mushrooms. Not only are they so desirable that people will hunt for hours to find rare ones and spend hundreds on a single ounce, ancient Chinese medicine has also been using them for thousands of years to prevent and cure numerous diseases. What’s more, they’re rich in umami—the uniquely savory fifth taste—without the sodium or MSG. And with around 14,000 varieties, mushroom flavors and benefits range from delicate to pungent, flu fighting to asthma reducing. So if you haven’t already, fight off winter colds by adding one, or all, of these mighty fungi to your plate. 

 Portobello mushroom: Don’t dismiss these common mushrooms; the button and portobello varieties enhance your immune system’s natural killer-cell activity to prevent the flu and provide a healthy dose of antioxidants and B vitamins. Plus, they’re inexpensive and easy to cook. Try out some seriously good Portobello Burgers or make simple Marinated Mushrooms for your next meal.

Chanterelles: Prized by chefs worldwide, these golden goodies offer a delicate flavor perfect in dishes like Squash With Wild Rice and Chanterelle Stuffing and Spicy Chanterelle Tofu Scramble. And if you’re interested in mushroom hunting, try looking at the base of oak, Douglas fir, and western hemlock trees, where chanterelles grow in a symbiotic relationship with the trees.

Reishi: One of the most commonly used mushrooms in Chinese herbal medicine, the reishi is available in syrup, tea, soup, and pill form. Especially beneficial for lung and liver health, this healing mushroom can also be used as a mood and spirit booster—perfect for dark, wintery days.

Morels: Their rich flavor make morels a prized food in French cuisine and a perfect meat substitute in savory dishes such as Wild and Walnutty Mushroom “Sausage” Pizza. Just remember to cook these honeycomb-like caps thoroughly, since some have low levels of toxins that cause gastrointestinal problems when eaten raw.

Truffles: The ultimate delicacy, rare truffles sell for thousands of dollars per ounce. Luckily for us non-millionaires out there, delicious Oregon truffles can be bought for around $20 a pop. Get your five-star chef on and awe all your foodie friends with Black Truffle Bowtie Pasta Salad or Onion Soup Gratineéd with Cream-Truffle Mashed Potatoes.

Maitake: Known as the King of Mushrooms, this medicinal species does it all—fights tumors, restores the immune system, increases production of proteins responsible for fighting infection, promotes healthy digestion… the list goes on! Reap the benefits and add maitake mushrooms to a hearty dish such as Creamy Pumpkin-Mushroom Casserole.

Shiitake: An all-time favorite mushroom in Asian cuisine, try warming your belly up with some Congee or Mushroom Miso Soup. Shiitake extract also contains lentinan, a powerful immune boosting compound, which has also been shown to delay the progress of viruses by increasing antibody levels.
Oyster: These babies are the most aggressive species, growing in giant clusters with their caps at up to twelve inches in diameter. Studies have also revealed that they lower unhealthy cholesterol and have anti-cancer properties. Eat them in a delicious soup or sauté such as Vegan Clam-less Chowder or Oyster Mushroom Stir Fry.


reference

http://vegnews.com/web/articles/page.do?pageId=2862&catId=7
http://vegetarian-nutrition.info/updates/mighty-mushrooms.php


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