It’s possible to talk for hours about the delicious taste of different types of mushrooms and the various ways they can be prepared for consumption. However, did you know that they also have positive health benefits? Some studies have shown that they can play a significant role in helping in areas such as: • Stimulating the immune system to fight various forms of infection. • Helping to prevent some types of cancer. • Aiding in the fight against obesity. • Contributing towards the prevention or better management of anxiety, stress and tension. So, what’s going on? The immune system Researchers know that ‘Lentinan’, a form of polysaccharide, occurs in Shiitake mushrooms. This is known to healthily stimulate the immune system and that means it is better positioned to fight virus type infections and some cancers. This has been known about in Asia for millennia but has only relatively recently been picked up in the West. Cancer Mushrooms help here in two different ways: 1. By strengthening the body’s immune system to help fight cancer cells. 2. By helping to prevent cellular damage due to free radicals in the body. This is in part attributable to the fact that Selenium is concentrated in some types of mushrooms, again particularly Shiitake. This contains something called Glutathione Peroxidasewhich is known to help prevent cellular damage. Dietary Selenium is also extremely useful yet again in helping to stimulate the body’s own immune system. Obesity Of course, obesity can have many causes and in some cases a change of lifestyle is required to deal with it but mushrooms have an important part to play in that. Mushrooms typically contain very healthy amounts of vitamin D and B. Both of these are known to be essential for good health and have an important role in helping to prevent the accumulation of unhealthy amounts of fat. That might be particularly important during the winter months where sunshine (another natural source of vitamin D) is in a short supply – something that in part may explain our tendency to put on weight over the wintertime. Stress and tension It has long been known that an insufficient consumption of vitamin B can lead to symptoms such as stress, anxiety, irritability and problems controlling temper. Mushrooms are loaded with vitamin B, even the so-called humble White Button Mushroom, meaning that you can easily keep your daily B intake up to recommended levels by consuming more mushrooms plus other vitamin B foodstuffs. Being sensible As you might imagine, we at Fresh Crop Mushrooms are totally convinced by the evidence that eating mushrooms can have major health benefits. Even so, you should not consider the above to be medical advice. If you are currently experiencing symptoms of illness, do not attempt to self-diagnose but instead consult a qualified medical health care practitioner, such as your local doctor.