THE MAGIC OF MUSHROOMS
Mushrooms are often called the new white meat. In ancient times, they were believed to promote stamina and longevity. Maybe because of the protein packed quality and because this fungi has medicinal purposes that can prolong life. The modern world has used mushrooms as sources for potent antibiotics such as penicillin and streptomycin. In today’s healthcare, the magic mushrooms have been used for treating everything from ordinary skin diseases to even curing AIDS and cancer prevention.
The magic lies in the mushrooms antioxidant properties. It is anti-cholesterol, anti-allergic, anti-tumor and anticancer properties. Edible mushrooms fight hypertension, inflammation, liver disease and diabetes. They also accelerate weight loss because it revs up metabolism while inhibiting the absorption of fat and carbohydrates. They are packed with protein with almost no caloric content. Eat more mushrooms for lesser weight. These delectable mushrooms can be eaten with your breakfast omelettes, as topping on your almond biscuits and cheese bites, as appetizers and salad toppers, a delightfully warm creamy soup or simply dinner garnished with vegetables. Try using mushrooms as the main entree with steak cubes as garnishing instead of the usual mushroom bits on your gravy steak sauce.
White Button – These mushrooms have selenium which aids weight loss but also found to have good effects against prostrate cancer.
Portobello – Aside from having the carbohydrate that stokes metabolism and maintais blood sugar levels like the white buttons, they have higher protein content.
Shitake – These umbrella shaped brownish mushrooms have the highest cancer-preventing properties than others. They contain lentinan, a natural antitumor compound.
Maitake – These are the “therapeutic” mushrooms that contain beta-glucans. They have several anticancer functions such as stimulating production of white blood cells, that is critical for patients undergoing chemo or radiation therapy. They also reduce unpleasant side effects of treatment like nausea, fatigue and immune suppression.
Oysters – These whitish fan-shaped oyster mushrooms have quite high in anti-oxidant compounds. They are being studied as defense against HIV and as medicinal prevention against colon and breast cancers.
Cordyceps – These elongated shaped mushrooms are good to enhance exercise performance. Supplement or health products with cordyceps extract are popular for their ability to render energy to the muscles. Elderly traditionally use cordiceps to reduce fatigue, boost energy and sex drive.
Porcini – An anti-inflammatory agent and may also decrease the symptoms of asthma. They are also chunkier like the portobello and good as meat subtitutes with lesser calories and more protein.
Reishe – These orange-red and brown fungi contains gandodermic acid, which helps reduce cholesterol and lower high blood pressure. It is good for heart protection with an anti-inflammatory function. It is linked to longevity for its immune function and ability to enhance mental clarity.
Cremini – Sometimes called the “Baby Bellas.” They are firmer and flavorful than white buttons. They have same weight loss benefits and good sources of Vitamins B6 and B12.
THE SCIENCE: How To Identify Poisonous Mushrooms
“ Every mushroom expert repeats the same mantra: “ Never eat a mushroom unless you can positively identify it.” Identification is not easy. There are 14,000 species worldwide. The genus Amanita is a case in point. It includes the poisonous Destroying Angel ( Amanita virosa), the delicious Caesar’s mushroom ( Amanita caesera) and the hallucinogenic Fly Amanita or toadstool (Amanita muscaria). Identification includes not just appearance, but also the location, season and growing conditions. Mushrooms with white gills are often poisonous. So are those with a ring around the stem and those with a volva. Because the volva is often underground, it is important to dig around the base of a mushroom to look for it. Mushrooms with a red color on the cap or stem are also either poisonous or strongly hallucinogenic. The most notorious red-colored mushroom is the Amanita muscaria.”
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Aris Mycropia: Mushrooms
US Department of Agriculture: Field Guide to Common Macrofungi in Eastern Forests and Their
“ How to Identify Poisonous Mushrooms, “ Author Chris Deziel , Masters of Humanities, writing
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Written by: Loudette Hizon Guevara