Why Mushrooms Are Important For Our Health AND Our Environment

 The following is a guest post by Mia Russo Stern.  Her bio follows.
Did you know that funghi absorb and eat pollutants in the environment?  Studies have shown that mushrooms will eat petroleum and other toxins in the environment.  The EPA is even looking into using mushrooms to help clean up oil spills.
So how can this translate to the human body?
Mushrooms act in their native environment as a method of purification.  They grow from a very sophisticated and intelligent web of fiber and  vegetation called mycelium and have been used in medicine by many cultures for thousands of years.

Turkey Tail Mushroom

Mushrooms have been documented in many ancient writings, in Traditional Chinese Medicine it is written in the Compendium of Materia Medica by Li Shizhen that Turkey Tail (Coriolis) or the Cloud Mushroom “…if taken for a long time will give you long life.”  This mushroom has been the center of extensive research, most importantly as an important tool in the fight against breast cancer.
Turkey Tail has been called one of the best medicinal mushrooms in the world.  It is a tree mushroom,  that is a grown on the trunks of dead trees or logs. It is not a mushroom that you would cook with, however it is great powdered and sprinkled into recipes.
Turkey tail contains two unique polysaccharides;  It contains PSP and PSK which are incredibly potent antiviral beta glucans,  specifically against viruses that are related to cancers.
Turkey tail mushrooms helps to increase the NK (Natural Killer) Cells to help protect against reoccurrence of cancer, and or to build up the immune system post treatment.
One of the best ways to use Coriolis or turkey tail mushrooms in your daily routine, is either by capsule, or you can also find powdered Coriolis that you can make a tea out of or add it to your morning smoothie.

Oyster Mushroom

 Another amazing mushroom is the Oyster Mushroom or Hiratake Mushroom, this mushroom is fabulous to cook with and very tasty.  It has been said by mycologist Paul Stamets that oyster mushrooms could clean up all of the oil spills on earth.  Research has discovered that mushrooms eat toxins, pollutants, and petroleum. They will clean up whatever is around them, they have been called the Guardians of the Forest – or The Great Purifiers or Filters.  This is what they do in their own natural ecosystem, so just imagine what they do when they are inside your personal ecosystem.
oyster mushroom flickr 0507
Because mushrooms will absorb all that is around them, and the soil they are in, you must be sure to eat organic mushrooms to avoid ingesting toxins and chemicals.  Oyster mushrooms are very good at pulling out  heavy metals and pollutants, so these can be very detoxifying.
Additionally, they contain something called lovostatin which has been studied to lower bad cholesterol.  They also have a protein in them called ubiquitin which attached itself to other bad proteins and has shown in research to inhibit cell division of HIV cells.

Why Eat Mushrooms?

Aside from all of the amazing benefits that mushrooms can offer us (and we are only just scratching the surface), they are very simply put, delicious.  They are low in calories and offer an amazing robust depth of flavor and texture.   Mushrooms contain mycotoxins, and should be quickly cooked, never eaten raw, the heat of a quick sauté will kill them.
Here is a simple and quick way to start your day off with an amazing breakfast:
Sauté a little ghee or coconut oil in pan, add 1 cup of chopped oyster and shiitake mushrooms, pinch of salt and pepper.   Add 1 cup of shredded kale.  Add 1 teaspoon brown rice miso paste and a few tablespoons of water. Cook on medium for about 3-5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds.  Serve this over 1 cup of cooked quinoa and enjoy!

About the author

 mia guest post author pic
Mia Russo Stern is a Certified Holistic Wellness Counselor, Natural Food Chef, Recipe Developer, Founder Organically Thin and CEO Brooklyn Culinary Academy
Hungry for a few more tidbits on mushrooms?  Check out this video!

Image credits.

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.