Filed under: Chronic Disease, Mushrooms | Tags: cordyceps, enoki, maitake, Mushrooms, shiitake
The more we study mushrooms, the more amazing they become. Mycologists are now finding that such humble varieties as oyster mushrooms and garden giant mushrooms are capable of everything from cleaning up oil spills to filtering wastewater to possibly even decontaminating the area surrounding Fukushima. And they can do wonders for our health, too.
Mushrooms contain a host of proven disease-fighting chemicals, like polysaccharides, glycoproteins, ergosterols, and triterpenoids, in addition to antimicrobial and antiviral compounds. Some of the best mushrooms with strong medicinal qualities are shiitake, maitake, enoki, and cordyceps. Shiitakes encourage body tissues to absorb cholesterol and lower the amount circulating in the blood, and are also seen as helping to prevent cancer. Maitakes are also anticancer, have immune-boosting effects, and may help control both high blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Enoki are generally great for the immune system. And Cordyceps, often sold dried or in tea form, are believed to be a general tonic for good health.
Mushrooms also have the ability to make vitamin D if you let them sit out in the sun for a few hours before consuming them. Given how few foods contain this essential vitamin, this is great news.
So slice up some shiitakes as part of a side dish. Throw maitake or enoki mushrooms into a stir-fry. Or cook up a mushroom barley soup. It doesn’t matter how you make them—just eat more mushrooms!
I’m in Stockholm right now, trying to type on a keyboard that is very similar to the U.S. keyboard, but which also has such keys as “ö” and “ä” where I expect other characters to be, so it’s messing me up a bit.
The highlight of my trip so far has been going into the woods in Ädelsö (I think that’s where the umlauts are supposed to be) to hunt for chanterelle mushrooms. It is a bit early for mushrooms, we were warned, but then my husband’s aunt showed us a good spot to begin our hunt. Sure enough, right next to the trunk of a birch tree, there were our first two chanterelles, which I found after carelessly kicking aside some dead leaves. We were told to look under leaves, but I certainly wasn’t expecting to find anything in this first random place I looked. But there they were, and once you find one, there are almost always a bunch more right nearby.
Chanterelles seem to like to spring up near tree trunks and next to large rocks. In all, we found about 25, a really good haul. We folded them into a giant omelet for dinner. Succulent.
Filed under: Food/Health Blogs, Mushrooms | Tags: Dr. Andrew Weil, Mushrooms, Vitamin D
Looking to get more Vitamin D into your diet? It turns out Vitamin D–which helps create strong bones, boosts our immune systems, and helps ward off cancer, autoimmune diseases, and hypertension–is created by mushrooms (even picked or dried ones) that have been exposed to sunlight. Place your mushrooms gills up in the sun for six hours, and they’ll provide you with a megadose of this crucial vitamin.
For more nutrition surprises, visit Dr. Andrew Weil’s site, where, in addition to offering this mushroom advice, he extols the virtues of orange tomatoes, crushed garlic, and more.