Cancer Diet - 6 Medicinal Mushrooms to Eat Every Day to Beat Cancer

Mushrooms are an amazing, and often overlooked, dietary essential. They enhance the flavors of foods, and deliver a number of health benefits from reduction of tumor size (and some claim cure cancer completely), to regulating the immune system, to adding needed vitamins and nutrients to the diet. They are low in calories, easy to prepare and versatile enough to go into just about any dish you can imagine.

The biggest health concern most people have is with cancer. Cancer will be diagnosed in one out of every 2 people in North America in our lifetime. That is a HUGE number. What is interesting for us to note is that we can help influence those statistics by what we eat.

Cancer cells show up in our bodies all the time. When we are healthy, our immune system and other systems in the body function to destroy the cancer cell. It is only when our immunity is low, our bodies are busy dealing with some other threat, or the immune system is so completely overwhelmed with the job of destroying toxins and fending off viruses that illness takes hold. In the case of cancer, left unchecked, it will grow and spread until eventually it has completely taken over and the body dies.

Cancer is not the only concern though. Many people frequently have cold and flu viruses that trigger a temporary illness, and yet some people, exposed to the same virus won't become sick. Some people have an out of control, over active immune system. These people end up with allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, chemical sensitivities or other auto-immune diseases. (diseases where the immune system has lost the ability to identify a threat, and attacks normal cells or systems. Mushrooms can help keep your immune system running properly so these issues of illness hat plague others don't have to bother you.

So how do you eat mushrooms every day? Don't you get tired of them? Mushrooms are so versatile that you can brew them as a tea, or broth, cut up on salads, or sauteed with onions as a side dish. You can buy dehydrated mushrooms and rehydrate them with water, broth, green tea, vegetable or fruit juices or wine and then use them in just about any kind of dish you could imagine.

Following are just a small handful of the most well known medicinal mushrooms and how they can assist in your goal of optimal health. 
  • SHIITAKE (shitake) - The famed shiitake mushroom had a polysaccharide called lentinan. Lentinan has been isolated from the mushroom and is used as an anti-cancer drug in Japan. Lentinan also boosts immune system allowing it to fight off cold and flu viruses, over come infection, and even improves the immune profile of a patient with HIV. Other substances in the shiitake mushroom have been proven to lower blood cholesterol. Yet another compound in this Asian mushroom, L-ergothioneine, is a very powerful anti-oxidant. Shiitake contain selenium, iron, protein, fiber and vitamin C.
  • ABM (agaricus blazei murill) - The ABM is rich in minerals and fiber, and contains vitamins and amino acids. It helps diabetics control sugar, lowers cholesterol, reduces stress, prevents ulcers, and helps prevent osteoporosis. It also boosts immune function and is a powerful anti-tumor food, helping beat back cancer.
  • REISHI - is particularly helpful in lung illnesses as it helps to strengthen the lungs, and aid breathing in asthma and pneumonia. Reishi also is loaded with anti-oxidants, fiber, selenium. It fights off viruses, relieves inflammation, aids with allergies, and is anti-bacterial. It is also is a powerful anti-cancer agent. As well, Ling Zhi-8, a protein isolated from this fungi helps reduce risk of transplant rejection.
  • MAITAKE - Also called "Hen of the Woods", the maitake is another powerful cancer inhibitor and tumor suppressant. It also lowers blood sugar in diabetics, and helps lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure. It has anti-bacterial properties and immune system boosting which helps ward off viral infections.
  • CHAGA - as with most all of the mushrooms, chaga helps modulate the immune system. It also helps with detoxification, stimulates the central nervous system, and improves elasticity and youthfulness of the skin.
  • OYSTER - The protein quality of the oyster fungus is nearly that of animal protein, making it a great meat substitute for vegetarians. It contains fiber, vitamins B1 and 2, iron and minerals as well as being a potent anti-oxidant. It is also a strong anti-tumor agent, and has anti-viral and anti-biotic properties as well as reducing cholesterol.
These are only 6 of over 300 medicinal mushrooms available. Most are easily obtainable in North America at local grocery stores. Keep cancer and other illnesses at bay. Eat some of these mushrooms every day.

Shelley Penney is a retired registered nurse with a continued, insatiable thirst for health and wellness information. Although Shelley hails from traditional medical training, she is always searching for ways in which the natural world of healing herbs, foods and supplements can intersect with traditional medicine and benefit us all.

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Wildcrafted Siberian Chaga