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28 August, 2007

Health Tips-6: 'Mighty Mushrooms' - Health, Supplement to The New Indian Express

Mushrooms have health benefits that many people are unaware of. They contain natural ingredients to naturally help prevent certain types of cancer and other life-threatening medical conditions.

Mushrooms have been used for thousands of years both as food and for medicinal purposes. They are often classified as a vegetable or a herb, but they are actually fungi. While there are over 14,000 mushrooms, only about 3,000 are edible, about 700 have known medicinal properties, and fewer than one percent are recognized as poisonous.

Mushroom extracts are increasingly being used in nutraceutical products and sports drinks. Mushrooms contain about 80 to 90% water, and are very low in calories (only 100 cal/oz). They have very little sodium and fat, and eight to ten percent of the dry weight is fibre. Hence, they are an ideal food for persons following a weight management program or a diet for hypertensives.

Mushrooms are an excellent source of potassium, a mineral that helps lower elevated blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke. One medium portabella mushroom has even more potassium than a banana or a glass of orange juice. One serving of mushrooms also provides about 20 to 40% of the daily value of copper, a mineral that has cardioprotective properties.

Mushrooms are a rich source of riboflavin, niacin, and selenium. Selenium is an antioxidant that works with vitamin E to protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals.

According to studies, consuming just three and a half ounces of the white button variety each day, can decrease the risk of developing prostate cancer and breast cancer.

Shitake mushrooms are also said to inhibit tumour growth. They are natural disease fighters, and like other natural foods, mushrooms can help keep the body healthy for many years to come.

(Courtesy: Health, Supplement to The New Indian Express, Madurai, Aug.28, 2007)

1 comment:

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