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Mushrooms are good for you

  • by JW

“What we eat has a major impact on both our physical and mental health.”


The Daily Mail carries a piece covering the latest evidence that mushrooms are good for you:

Eating a medium-sized mushroom a day can reduce your risk of CANCER 45% | Daily Mail Online


The Brits, however, have always been a bit funny about eating fungi – as suggested in this piece from down under, where it is now mushroom-picking season:

Although Indigenous Australians have one of, if not the longest traditions of mushroom foraging in the world, many Australians may have inherited a distinctly British hangover in their attitude to fungus.  

“A lot of us originally came from British heritage, which was traditionally regarded as mycophobic,” Dr Pouliot says. “Because [mushrooms are] so ephemeral — they pop up and they’re gone — [in Britain] they were associated with things that were considered negative, like crime and witchcraft.”

The risks and rewards of our growing love of mushroom foraging – ABC News


As well as indigenous Australians, central Europeans and east Asians have a long tradition of collecting mushrooms – and appreciating not only their culinary value, but their medicinal merits:

Experts: Best to Eat Mushrooms Shortly After Picking | Science in Poland

BLOG: Want longevity, eat mushrooms |

Why Germans go crazy for wild mushrooms in the autumn months – The Local

Benefits of Mushroom: When And How to Eat, How Much to Add in Your Diet |


In the English-speaking world, on the other hand, much of the interest in mushrooms is considered rather ‘fringe/hippy’, as this foraging group in California perhaps demonstrates – but, actually, they have a point:

It’s not a secret that what we eat has a major impact on both our physical and mental health. While some people feel that they cannot eat healthily due to their financial situation or their lack of time, there are quite a lot of affordable and convenient foods out there. Many of these healthy options grow right under our noses!

Feel Good About Eating Fungi: The Amazing Health Benefits — Book Wild Food Foraging Classes Online | ForageSF


This prejudice of eating different types of fungi as a weird sort of thing is unfortunate, as the science reported in the piece from the Mail makes very clear:

Higher Mushroom Consumption Is Associated with Lower Risk of Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies | Advances in Nutrition | Oxford Academic

Ergothioneine is associated with reduced mortality and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease | Heart

ERGOTHIONEINE: Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews


They really are good for us:

7 Surprising Health Benefits of Mushrooms |


To finish, this is from a helpful overview of the benefits:

Mushrooms are fat-free, low-calorie, low-sodium, and completely cholesterol-free. Each type of mushroom is different, of course, but they are packed with fiber, antioxidants, B-vitamins, copper, potassium, and some protein. They also contain beta-glucan, a form of soluble dietary fiber that’s been strongly linked to improving cholesterol and boosting heart health by regulating blood sugar. 

Mushrooms contain the antioxidant selenium, which can help protect your body from damaging free radicals. Mushrooms have also been cited as complementing the effects of chemotherapy and radiation in cancer treatment, according to NCBI. They do this by countering the side-effects of cancer, such as nausea, bone marrow suppression, anemia, and lowered resistance. 

Are Mushrooms Good for You? |