MUSHROOMS FOR WEIGHT LOSS: NATURE’S SECRET STRATEGY IN A SMALL PACKAGE (ISSUE 52)
By Diane Gold
What has lots of nutrition, including protein, can be used in facials, brewed as tea, strewn on pasta, blended into smoothies, eaten alone, and used as medicine? You guessed it: MUSHROOMS. Yes, these versatile, wonderful living things that they are!
It is almost incredible to think that mushrooms, members of the Kingdom Fungi, can be so tasty, interesting looking, distinctive in smell, have 14 thousand species with several thousand edible, be so diversely nutritious and have considerable medicinal properties.
RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCES (RDAs)
The Institute of Medicine (IoM) is part of the National Academy of Sciences, which is non-governmental, commissioned with setting the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) that we all use as some measure of correctness, for nutritional values, even though we rarely question what criteria is tested and by whom. According to one of the editors of these measurements, Professor Robert Reynolds, from University of Chicago, the system has many flaws because a small amount of money is allotted to studying this information. He says that only half of us fall into the “average” category and we have to eliminate the top 3% healthiest people to boot. The measure does not apply if we are sick, if we are overweight, if we are over 60, if we are stressed, if we take medication, if we smoke, if we eat refined and processed, unhealthy food that does not consist of 2,000 calories a day.
Makes me wonder how much to coordinate a redo of the RDA program using already existing research data with values for all the people the current system leaves out. Studies are massively expensive when done from scratch, so using secondary data would cut the costs.
The following nutrients make white mushrooms quite valuable and unique. The numbers in parentheses represent percentage of daily needs in an average person.
B Vitamins, aside from all their other benefits, are being looked at to reduce ADHD and slow Alzheimer’s.
Thiamin(e), B1, helps metabolize sugars and amino acids. (4%)
Riboflavin, B2 metabolizes carbs into energy. (17%)
Niacin, B3, increases the level of high density lipids (HDL), the good cholesterol, in the blood. (13%)
Pantothenic Acid, B5, turns carbs and fats into usable energy and assures healthy fats in cells. (10%)
Pyridoxine, B6, balances sodium (Na) and potassium (K). (4%)
Folic Acid, B9, is needed for DNA synthesis and repair and for cell growth. (3%)
Choline helps in cell membrane synthesis.
Betaine regulates fluid movement across cell membranes (osmosis), assists in membrane work and neurotransmission of acetylcholine.
Omega-6 Fatty Acid is one of the 2 essential fatty acids required for cellular processes and must be in balance with Omega-3 Fatty Acids to keep inflammation down and cell function up. Both are essential and must be consumed. Therefore, get those walnuts and flax seeds to balance with Omega-3s.
Copper assists with iron uptake and cell metabolism. It also protects our cardiovascular system. (11%)
Phosphorus forms part of the structure of living molecules (DNA,RNA). (6%)
Potassium helps the body process sodium. It is also important in preventing muscles from contracting. You’ve heard someone recommend that you go eat some dried apricots or a fig if you have leg cramps, right? They’re high in potassium. (6%)
Selenium helps with cell function.
Vitamin D, which is produced by changing a sterol, ergosterol, into Vitamin D2, with ultraviolets present in the sun. (This is similar to the way we get vitamin D from the sun, except that we use 7-hydrocholesterol and synthesize Vitamin D3. (3%, which may be higher if the mushrooms were exposed to ultraviolet light)
Mushrooms also contain 2% of the RDA for Vitamin C, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese and Zinc.
Mushrooms are about 15 calories for a cup, with 2 grams of protein and 2 grams of carbs, with only 1 counting since 1 of those grams is total indigestible fiber that helps with digestion and does not turn to glucose before it gets to the colon.
1) Research from Beckman Research Institute, Duarte, California, found that white mushrooms contain conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which reduces high estrogen level risks like breast cancer. Other studies at the same institution showed that white mushrooms have a similarly beneficial effect on prostate cancer.
2) Eating white mushrooms seems to block production of inflammatory molecules, good for reducing many types of inflammation which is basically any type of immune compromise or sickness.
3) Mushrooms, in general, are known for their anti-oxidant properties. L-ergothioneine, one of the anti-oxidants that is found in white mushrooms can be found in shiitake mushrooms with 5 X as much. So, different species are known to have different health accolades.
4) Mushrooms have a low glycemic load (2), which means that they don’t cause sugar levels to change rapidly. Their fibrous material is, in part, responsible for this.
5) Inflammation Factor is low (-4) which suggests that they will not contribute to inflaming the body. Mushrooms are also known for reducing it.
6) Mushrooms are known to improve the immune system and cognitive function.
7) The last and most important benefit for the WarriorsOfWeight.com Community is that THEY MAKE US FEEL FULL AND SATISFIED while we ingest very few calories and much nutritional value.
COOKED VS. RAW
Many of us profess that raw foods have to have higher nutrients when raw. With mushrooms, according to research cited in Scientific American by Sushma Subramanian, some veggies, including mushrooms, when boiled or cooked for a short time, increase antioxidants and other properties as the cell membranes break down and release the nutrients. Check out the recipe below, the way I’ve been eating mushrooms for years. And work the stems in somehow, even if they don’t taste quite as creamy. Full of nutrition.
TOXICITY CAUTION: MUST READ
Mushrooms from the Agaricus Bisporus species, which is the species to which white mushrooms and many others we eat belong, reveal the presence of small amounts of hydrazine compound derivatives, agaratine and gyromitrin. These substances are known carcinogens when delivered to mice in extremely high doses in short time periods. There has never been a proven case that cancer has been caused by eating mushrooms.
Most researchers recommend that consideration be given to this fact and point out that cooking the mushrooms reduces the contents of the toxins.
Confirm that you do not feel allergic or headache-y from eating a small amount of mushrooms before you eat a larger portion. Sometimes, people can have adverse reactions to eating them. I had a small headache from adding a mushroom supplement once. It was mild but lasted several days.
It should also be noted that, according to Joshua Rosenthal’s Integrative Nutrition, mushrooms are in the top 15 foods with least residue from pesticides, although I have no knowledge of how he got this number. It’s always better to eat organic food which means it was not sprayed.
1) Take a little time to read more on mushrooms. They are fascinating.
2) Add a recipe of a small serving of mushrooms to your daily food several times this week, using caution as advised. Notice how the mushrooms fill you up. Or just eat one mushroom a day.
3) Make my special mushroom recipe, available right here. See if it suits you.
There are so many benefits to mushrooms. They can be used in so many ways: as antioxidants, antivirals, an anti-migraine remedy, for anti-cancer treatment, as anti-psychotics, for daily nutrition, improved memory and beauty care.
The wealth of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and overall healthy properties make it a super food. After seeing all of what it does, consider telling everyone you’re adding it to your day.
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DIANE GOLD, AUTHOR
Diane Gold, Founder of Warriors of Weight, Moms For Healthy Daughters, is a mentor in tai chi, kung fu and meditation, a music, fitness and stress expert and a dedicated mom.
She wants to learn more about the nutrition in food. But, sadly, one of the things she learned was that the Recommended Daily Allowances, more than using old information, have been using very sparse information. But it is still useful. She says,
“The nutritional information that we see on packaging in the United States is accurate for healthy people who eat right, don’t smoke, don’t weigh too much and don’t get stressed out. And these values, themselves are increased by about 25% as a buffer for the nutrition lost in cooking.
“Use the numbers with this in mind, and the values become useful. The nutrition field is booming and changing. There’s a great opportunity for a career or a career change. Especially for anyone who wants to do research to make our nutritional information up to date. It’s a big job, just waiting to be done.”
Don’t forget to check out the mushroom recipe.
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