Mushrooms: Clean, then Cook, then Eat

Mushrooms are edible fungi. The common scientific name is “Agaricus”, though there are different names for different species.

They are essentially Saprophytes, plants without chlorophyll which thrive by extracting nutrients from dead and decaying plant and animal matter. That’s why they can grow well with no soil and in dark places. They vary greatly in their appearance and properties – as we know.

Edible mushrooms are low in calories, fat and cholesterol-free. They are very low in sodium yet they provide important nutrients; selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin and ergo-sterol which is converted into vitamin D2 with ultraviolet exposure – a good complementary, alternative vitamin D source for vegans and a long time, traditional immune booster.

Most recently, extended trials associated a bioactive agent from edible mushrooms; ergothioneine. It is shown to effectively decrease cardio vascular inflammatory response in humans and tumor inhibiting qualities in animal trials.

The list of edible mushrooms considered safe for raw consumption is quite short.

“Buttons”, the round, white, familiar variety and many other edible mushrooms contain hydrazines, a group of chemical compounds generally considered carcinogenic and are not truly safe for raw consumption.

The composition of mushroom cell walls opposed to cellulose cell walls of plants are difficult for humans to digest. And, for the most part are not a low “Fodmap” food for those that need to follow these diet restrictions. The cooking process does help to break down the fungal cell walls rendering mushroom flesh not only more readily digestible but also releasing the significant nutritional value contained within these cells.

So for most all mushrooms – Clean, then Cook, then Eat!

Is Broth the New Black?

What’s all the buzz? – A functional food with value and whose time has come.

This hot, clear satisfying liquid provides 20 gms. of protein in just 16 ozs. The broth comes in a powder or liquid form and is often combined with sage, ginger, curry and other herbs in these prepared products. It’s available on most grocery store shelves and at most all health food stores. There is also a lot of instruction online how to make your own too.

Clinically important is the hydrolyzed collagen content which is 50% of the total amino acid profile from the prominent amino acids; glycine, lysine and proline.

As we know, collagen is beneficial in replacing the synovial fluids between the joints and secondly, to repair and build cartilage weakened by overuse through impact and stress. Our bodies are made up of 30% collagen of which 70% is connective tissue. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate is part of what the melted down bones, the broth, yield providing a joint healing effect.

There is a considerable amount of calcium and magnesium and trace amounts of other bone building minerals in a serving. And there is a gut healing effect and an overall anti-inflammatory quality.

This collagen is more easily digested and thus absorbed because of its low molecular weight and the delivery format as a liquid creating a quicker absorption rate, within 30 minutes. All of the amino acids collectively are beneficial to cell reproduction, but it is the distinctive amino acid spectrum of this product that impacts the metabolic pathways to healthy tissues.

This is a full serving of protein we can drink without the negative things we face with some prepared foods we often reach for on the run. It’s not fried, there is almost no saturated fats and there’s absolutely no gluten or dairy. It is low in carbohydrates, for 16 ounces, approximately 6 gms.

Perhaps one of the best features is it is quick and easy. Just mix and/or just heat up and sip! As you can see, this is a low calorie, clean choice for many patients for dietary protein.

Fat and Oil Consumption – What’s Wrong?

When considering fats and oils (F/O) there is a particular problem in that we now consume much less of the healthy, anti-inflammatory sources, oils containing Omega-3s and we have increased our consumption of mostly toxic, artery clogging, pro-inflammatory sources of the Omega-6 types.

Probably the first thing that comes to mind is red meat. Is anything good about its consumption? Yes. It is much healthier in smaller quantities and in less frequency than we usually consume it. And always grass fed or wild animals are just much better. Grass fed is very often organic as well and it just decreases the toxic exposure to hormones and the antibiotics significantly and most importantly here, the added Omega-6 fatty acids found in unnaturally high amounts in grain-fed livestock because it is an additive to the grain fed to livestock.

Healthful, non-animal fats are oils; nut oils, sesame and most popular, olive oil. These are for sautéing which means lower cooking temperatures and coconut and avocado oils for higher and frying temperatures. Vegetable oils which we see most often in commercial foods, soy, corn, canola and even cottonseed oil and other blended vegetable oils are often chemically and/or mechanically hydrogenated to yield a partially hydrogenated oil – hydrogen has been added usually under pressure to incorporate extra hydrogen bonds into the molecules of these oils in an attempt to make them more stable and thus preserving flavor. This produces poly (more than one) hydrogenated (adding hydrogen) oils. This process also creates trans type fats (TF) in these oils. TF have been demonstrated to be extremely cardiovascular negative! These man made TFs’ configurations i.e., the structure of these molecules have the ability to stick to the arterial wall and clog. As well, these vegetable sources used are mostly all of GMO origin. These are the same Omega-6 oils added to the animal feed.

Better fat and oil consumption is in the top 4 changes everyone needs to make to truly upgrade their health

That is perhaps the main reason I share and educate on this food issue. Understand, there are other good oils like olive oil that are Omega-6s also. But don’t forget how much you pay for these at the register. To bottle these in proper dark green glass bottles with seal tight lids and grow and process olives costs! As you know. But, these and other naturally processed oils you buy and you use in your whole foods is going to be now much better.

The dilemma; healthy oils vs. profitable oils

Processed Omega-6s are used in most all restaurant and packaged foods. The extra bonds in these oils stabilize them, keep them from going rancid and prolong their shelf life so that they can be bought and stored in bulk.

Examples of foods high in these hydrogenated oils are: French fries, chips, tortillas (chips), take out foods, canned soups, salad and most all other dressings, frozen entrees, processed cheese, commercial bread. I know, it’s everywhere!

Omega-6s are functionally needed by our bodies at a 2/1 ratio : Omega-6s/Omega-3s. But as you are able to see we are very far from this ratio because so many of us eat so much of the above noted foods. We are, on average, now at a 10 – 20/1 ratio. The consequences of eating these oils puts us at risk for an increase in metabolic disease; greater fat, pre diabetes (or type II), accelerated arthritis and higher blood pressure (BP).

here do the Omega-9s fit in to this situation?

“I bought a supplement that had Omegas 3, 6 & 9 and I thought I was doing a good thing by getting all 3, Doc.?”

The answer is; we don’t have to worry about Omega-9s as the body produces them. They are present in most all the oils. And if you are trying to eat better whole, and unprocessed foods especially in the way of the addition of seeds and nuts you will be very adequate in Omega-9s.

What foods can I eat that provide significant omega-3s? Of course, eating more fish. – This goes along way because you can get a whole day’s requirement and then some; 900 – 1300 mgs. of Omega-3s in one serving depending on which fish you choose and serving size. They provide a “whole food” serving of Omega-3s. We could, in general, chose fish much more instead of meat. Doing this on a consistent 3-4x/days per week could create an impact on particularly overall inflammation the root of so many diseases and joint function.

Sardines are a lunch favorite in my house with tart lettuce like Arugula and lemon dressing with organic crostini’s. How about salmon burgers? Do them up with a side of Basmati, parslied rice and green beans.

Other, non-animal sources are nuts and seeds such as chestnuts, cashews, sunflower or pumpkin seeds for snacking are consistently ideal. This is another factor that could contribute to a better Omega-6/Omega-3 ratio.

Holistic and traditional medical approaches alike and across the board contend Omega-3s are a must supplement. They have proven cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory benefits. This came to be understood as they became more absent from the diet in the last 40 years as our food consumption has changed.

So, what can we do to increase Omega-3s and balance my Omega-3/6 intake?

  • Decrease consumption of processed foods.
  • Switching and using more untraditional oils high in Omega-3s; flaxseed and nut oils like walnut.
  • Increase your weekly fish intake.
  • Decrease red meat and especially non grass-fed.
  • Always take an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement.