303 West Hastings St Vancouver BC
5pm-11pm 7 days a week
Nutritional Properties of Mushrooms
Many species of mushrooms are highly nutritious to animals, humans included. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially designated mushrooms as "healthy foods.". Andrew Weil, MD, author of Natural Health, Natural Medicine (1998) strongly encourages the ingestion of medicinal mushrooms to help prevent or treat disease. The late diet celebrity Robert Atkins, MD, promoted mushrooms as healthy foods for weight management in more than 100 of his selected recipes in his books and literature. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) are funding research into the medicinal properties of mushrooms. Doctors worldwide are recognizing that mushrooms are a medicinal food rich in nutrition.
Nutritionists often misunderstand mushrooms as a food. Although most fresh mushrooms are 90% water, they can vary in their individual moisture content, so it's best to look at them in terms of dry weight. Mushrooms are rich in protein, very low in simple carbohydrates, rich in high molecular weight complex carbohydrates 9polysaccharides), high in antioxidants, and very low in fat. They lack cholesterol, vitamin A, and vitamin C. They are a good source of some B vitamins - riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and pantothenic acid (B5) - as well as ergosterols (which upon exposure to ultraviolet light convert to provitamin D2). they're high in dietary fiber, with edible varieties ranging from 20% fiber (by dry weight) for Agaricus species (such as button mushrooms) up to 50% for Pleurotus species (such as the phoenix oyster). Mushrooms are good sources of essential minerals - especially selenium, copper, and potassium - elements important for immune function and for producing antioxidants to reduce free radicals (some mushrooms hyperaccumulate selenium). Mushrooms also contain numerous medicinal compounds such as triterpenoids, glycoproteins, natural antibiotics, enzymes, and enzyme inhibitors that fortify health.
Excerpt and images from Paul Stamets' (2005) Mycelium Running, (pp. 201-203, 207)