Medical Uses for Mushrooms

Explore the healing powers of these tasty mushrooms, which may improve a host of health problems.

Medical Uses for Mushrooms

The mushrooms you eat may be more than tasty – they may also help to heal some of your most stubborn health problems. More and more studies are showing that mushrooms can be used to improve a multitude of conditions, from heart disease to diabetes. Take a look at these mushrooms to see if one of your favorites could benefit more than just your taste buds.

Shiitake mushrooms
The meaty shiitake mushroom contains a compound called eritadenine, which may be able to lower cholesterol by blocking how cholesterol molecules are absorbed into the bloodstream. Studies suggest that this compound, which is derived from a specific nucleotide in the mushroom's DNA, can help lower total cholesterol. To get the most out of these tasty mushrooms, remove the stems and slice them thinly. Then sauté them at high temperature for five to seven minutes. Try to eat about a cup a day.

Cremini mushrooms
These popular button-type mushrooms contain a ton of antioxidants, which can help your immune system fight off diseases like the common cold and the flu. Cremini mushrooms have long been used in Asian cultures to help prevent colds. They help to balance the activity of different types of white blood cells, and affect the immune system using many different phytonutrients, including beta-glucans. When you start feeling a cold coming on, try to up your cremini intake. Aim for a cup a day. They are also easy to find in most grocery stores and gourmet stores.

Reishi mushroom tea
Mushroom tea? Believe it or not, these mushrooms are best served as a hot beverage, since they may be too bitter or hard to eat whole. Plus, the most beneficial parts of these mushrooms are drawn out when extracted in water. Studies suggest that this mushroom tea can significantly lower blood pressure, possibly by lowering the activity of an enzyme called ACE that may raise blood pressure. This tea has a subtle earthy flavor. Steep the tea for about five minutes to help release its benefits, and aim for a cup a day. Always check with your doctor to make sure it won't interfere with any of your medications.

Oyster mushrooms
These savory mushrooms have been shown to help control blood sugar levels. One study showed that eating these mushrooms dramatically lowered blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Be sure to talk to your doctor to make sure these mushrooms won't interfere with any medications or drop your blood sugar too low.

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