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Learn more about the latest evidence-based research on mushrooms below.

Only one way of eating has ever been proven to reverse heart disease in the majority of patients: a diet centered around whole plant foods. If that’s all a whole-food, plant-based diet could do—reverse our number-one killer—shouldn’t that be the default diet until proven otherwise? The fact it may also be effective in preventing, treating, and arresting other leading killers seems to make the case for plant-based eating simply overwhelming.

But, what about mushrooms? They aren’t even plants at all; they belong to an entirely different biological classification and may contain nutrients (like ergothioneine) not made anywhere in the plant kingdom.

Thousands of edible mushrooms grow naturally, with worldwide annual commercial production in the millions of tons. Check the nutrition label on a carton of mushrooms, however, and you won’t see much beyond some B vitamins and minerals. Is that all they have? No. What you don’t see listed is the array of unique myconutrients that may boost our immune function and trigger a dramatic rise in antibody production.

Mushrooms may also have an anti-inflammatory effect. In vitro studies have shown that a variety of mushrooms, including the plain white button variety, appear to blunt the inflammatory response, potentially offering a boost in immune and anticancer function without aggravating diseases of inflammation.

So, when I talk about a whole-food, plant-based diet, perhaps, technically, I should be referring to a whole-food, plant- and fungus-based diet!

My Daily Dozen recommendation is for at least one serving of cruciferous vegetables and at least two additional servings of other vegetables a day, cruciferous or otherwise, and mushrooms are included as a delicious, healthy option.

 

Image Credit: decisiveimages / Thinkstock. This image has been modified.

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