Magical Mushrooms

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It seems that I can’t open a health magazine or watch a talk show these days without hearing talk about how wonderful mushrooms are for you.  I decided to look further into it since I do like mushrooms and I came up with a few interesting facts about the wild growing fungus.

There are several different types of mushrooms ranging from the typical white button mushroom and portobellos, to toxic mushrooms growing in wild fields.  While some mushrooms are poisonous the different types you can buy at your local grocery store are all perfectly edible.  I have always enjoyed cooking with these types of mushrooms as they add flavor to pastas and soups – plus they are low in calories and high in dietary fiber, amino acids, vitamins, and protein.

Lately dermatologists have clued into the fact that mushrooms are incredibly high in anti-inflammatory and immune-enhancing properties and they have started suggesting to their patients they consume more of these in their diet. Several dermatologists and skin care companies have also started putting mushroom extract into skin creams for topical use, and in ancient Chinese cultures they have been used topically for years.

The best mushrooms to choose for their healing properties are the shitake and oyster mushrooms – both commonly found in grocery stores – because they contain higher vitamin content and anti-inflammatory agents than the rest of the varieties available.   While they are by no means a replacement for sunscreen, regular consumption of mushrooms can actually help protect against free radicals caused by sun exposure and environmental toxins.

So next time you are cooking up a pasta – throw a handful of chopped up mushrooms into it.  If you don’t like mushrooms chop them up really small and you’ll barely taste them.  Or just learn to like them by thinking about the incredible benefits you are giving to your skin every time you eat them!


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