23 January 2009

Mushroom advice from Dr. Weil!

I know I love mushrooms....always have and I lovelovelove finding out that a food I eat a lot of is good for me! (I do know that a lot of folks don't care for them; be it their texture or taste, I've heard complaints about either or both lots. I also realize that they don't agree with everyone's digestive system. My husband and one of my bff's have allergic like reactions when they eat them.)

Here is what Dr. Weil has to say about them:

Mushrooms are a big favorite of mine because they're delicious and often have medicinal properties. If you're not allergic and don't find them hard to digest, try these:

Cordyceps: A Chinese mushroom used traditionally as a tonic and restorative. You can add whole, dried cordyceps to soups and stews, or drink tea made from powdered cordyceps.
Maitake: This delicious mushroom provides anti-cancer, anti-viral and immune-enhancing properties, and may also reduce blood pressure and help regulate blood sugar. Find it dried or fresh in Japanese markets, gourmet stores or upscale supermarkets.
Reishi: Too woody and bitter to eat, reishi mushrooms are available in tea bags, capsules and liquid extracts. Animal studies have shown that reishi improves immune function and inhibits the growth of some malignant tumors. It also acts as a natural anti-inflammatory agent.
Shiitake: The shiitake has been found to have immune modulating, anti-viral and cholesterol-reducing properties. Certain extracts of shiitake mushrooms are used in Japan as adjunctive therapy to strengthen the immunity of cancer patients during chemotherapy and radiation. Find it - fresh or dried - in grocery stores and Asian markets.
Note: I advise against the regular consumption of cultivated white or "button" mushrooms because they contain natural toxins that may act as carcinogens.


Shiitake mushrooms are commonly sold dried in preserved packages. All you need to do to re-hydrate them is to soak them in water prior to using. You can hydrate them with any liquid really...get creative hydrate them with a broth! I prefer the fresh shiitakes myself, they have a better, more full-flavoured taste.

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