The popularity of mushrooms has soared in recent times. From gourmet cuisines to home cooked meals, mushrooms are a much-revered food group. They are highly valued by Chinese for its medicinal properties.
According to Chinese medicine, mushrooms contribute to increased immunity and promote conversion of cancer cells to normal cells. This is because they contain a compound called betaglucan, which is a proven immune stimulant. So anyone with low immunity problems should definitely add mushrooms into their diet.
Types of Mushrooms
They are found in thousands of varieties but many of them are toxic and unfit for consumption. Thus, it is wise to purchase the safe and edible varieties of mushrooms available in the market.
These are white or brown in colour and cooling in nature. They help reduce cholesterol levels and eliminate excess mucus from the body. This makes them particularly beneficial for people prone to coughs, flu, and general respiratory problems.
They also contain antibiotic properties that help boost immunity levels by increasing the white blood cells and help the body fight against disease-producing microorganisms. Further more, button mushrooms assist in reducing heat conditions such as nose bleeds and boils on the back brought about by the excessive intake of non-vegetarian food.
Ranging from dark brown to a tan colour, these meaty textured are rich in phytochemicals and immunity-boosting properties. Available in fresh and dried forms, they contain the protein ‘interferon’, known to induce an immune response against viral diseases and cancer.
Lentinan, the phytochemical present in Shiitake mushrooms, is an effective immunity booster that helps curtail the spread of lung, stomach and cervical cancer. They also help reduce cholesterol, enhance blood circulation and eliminate toxins that accumulate due to excess consumption of non-vegetarian food. Their selenium content helps protect the liver and the presence of the mineral germanium enhances immunity.
These exotic ones are widely used in the production of herbal medicines. The presence of the phytochemical ‘D-fraction’, known to curtail the growth of tumors, is what enhances the value of Maitake mushrooms. Furthermore, they bolster the immunity system and reduce blood pressure and blood sugar, which makes them particularly beneficial to diabetics.
Also known as the black tree fungus, these are popular in Chinese medicine due to their favorable effects on the blood, which includes reducing clumping of the blood-platelets thereby thinning the blood. In turn, this greatly reduces the risk of coronary artery disease. The anticoagulant properties of this
The anticoagulant properties of this variety act like aspirin by impeding the growth of cancerous tumors. The Chinese usually cook black ones along with garlic, onions, and ginger, all of which have potent blood thinning properties, which probably explains the low rate of heart disease among the Chinese.
There are a number of ways to include mushrooms in your diet. For instance, if you are preparing a pasta you could saute in some mushrooms along with garlic and olives. They can also be stir-fried along with other vegetables such as cabbage, capsicum, baby corn, etc.
You could also try sauteing a few of them in a bit of low-fat butter with some dried herbs, and have it as an evening snack during while in your office.