Monday, October 19, 2009

Magic Mushrooms?!?

I guess the old adage you are what you eat really holds true now more than ever.  These days it is difficult to figure out just exactly what you are eating unless you start from scratch yourself or only shop at Whole Foods.  As a cancer survivor, I am more careful now than ever about what I eat and I take a lot of antioxidants.  Interestingly enough, I started taking a dietary supplement of organic mushrooms just because a fellow breast cancer survivor left me a bottle of these mushrooms in my mailbox when I was sick and I am not one to scoff at alternative therapies.  Now, two years later, I find out that there is some good hard research to support my taking those supplements everyday and I am so thankful that Karen took the time to drop that bottle of pills in my mailbox.

A friend of mine forwarded me a link that was picked up by Reuters Health touting the health benefits of mushrooms and green tea for women.  The study found that women who get plenty of both in their diets may have a lower risk of developing breast cancer.  The study was conducted in China and included 2,000 women.  Women who ate the most fresh mushrooms a day, which was 10 grams or more, were about two thirds less likely to develop breast cancer than women who did not consume mushrooms. 

In addition, lab research has shown that mushroom extracts have anti-tumor properties and, in animals, can stimulate the immune system's cancer defenses.  In a study done in mice in 2006, researchers found that mushroom extracts interfered with the action of aromatase, an enzyme that helps the body make estrogen.  While this study was conducted with animals and in the lab, the findings seem to be in line with the current findings.

What does it all mean to me?  Well, I am putting mushrooms in everything I cook.  I made linguine with broccoli and mushrooms, I am sauteing mushrooms and I am putting them on my salad.  I am trying to figure out ways to slip it in my children's food as well.  I will be serving them "mushroom burgers" and "spaghetti and mushrooms."  In the end, I may just have to give everyone a mushroom supplement and call it a day, but it is certainly worth a try.  As my mother always said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."     

For more information on mushrooms go to: -cancer

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