Speaking about the health benefits of mushrooms, Scientists at the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo, in New Orleans said that Mushrooms contain riboflavin, selenium, antioxidants and other substances that safeguard immune system and fight cancer.
A researcher at the Food Science and Technology Department at Tennessee University, Dr. Lana Zivanovic, explained that high proportions of beta-glucans present in mushrooms, help in keeping immune cells in a vigilant state, thereby protecting against onset of the disease.
According to Director of Surgical Research at the Beckman Research Institute in California, Dr. Shiuan Chen, mushrooms are rich in cancer-fighting substances. The lab experiments too, have indicated that the cells in mushroom reveal mechanisms that suppress the growth of breast and prostate cancer cells.
Scientists at the Methodist Research Institute in Indianapolis, who have been working on breast-cancer cells, have found evidences indicating the ability of an enzyme called AKT, to control signals that lead to cell growth and development of new blood vessels that lead to formation of tumours.
The scientists reported that their investigations on human breast-cancer cells, revealed ample positive results, including reduced rate of growth in new cancer cells, formation of fewer blood vessels (as cancers tend to construct new blood vessels, known as angiogenesis process). The extracts of white mushrooms reduced production of estrogens by 50%, as estrogens can stimulate growth of breast cancer. Other varieties of mushrooms such as crimini, Portobello and Shiitake also depicted similar actions.
The researchers said that this study could possibly encourage more researchers to explore use of medicinal mushrooms for cancer treatment. Their study has been published in the British Journal of Cancer.
According to researchers, mushrooms contain ‘ergothioneine’, an antioxidant that contributes to immune support and protect eyes, skin, kidneys, liver and bone-marrow.
Studies conducted by Cancer Research UK, reveal that mushrooms stimulate immune functions. The Chemical, Lentinan, present in mushrooms increases lymphocytes, the natural killer cells that help in fighting infections and cancer. It has direct antiviral activity.
A study in Japan reveals that farmers, who regularly ate mushrooms, had 40% lower death rate from cancer than those who ate few mushrooms.
Other benefits of mushrooms:
Mushrooms contain huge amounts of vitamin D, potassium, and Selenium. Particularly, the white button mushrooms contain more copper, potassium, protein, and selenium than shitake or oyster mushrooms. Researchers have also confirmed that it lowers blood pressure, is a potent blood thinner and lowers cholesterol. Tests at George Washington University showed that Adenosine, a blood-thinning chemical in mushroom, depicts qualities “similar to aspirin”.