Dr Weil – Do Not Eat Raw Mushrooms

I was speaking with a friend of mine, who agrees with Dr. Weil, about not eating raw mushrooms. However, her reasoning did not come from Dr. Weil himself, but from her local mycological society in Washington state. he said, “Almost all of the avid mycology supporters I know will tell you ‘Do not eat raw mushrooms!’”

I asked her why they do not eat raw mushrooms, but I will quote Dr. Weil instead, because his answers were the same as hers, but he is a known expert, so do not take it from me, or my mycology friend!

Reasons why you do not eat raw mushrooms – try dried or cooked instead

According to Dr. Andrew Will, MD, you should not eat raw mushrooms because they  have “very tough cell walls and are essentially indigestible if you don’t cook them. Thoroughly heating them releases the nutrients they contain, including protein, B vitamins, and minerals, as well as a wide range of novel compounds not found in other foods.”

The term “medicinal mushrooms” are a relatively new term, coined because mushrooms have so many medical uses. In Asian traditions and other areas around the world for millennia, mushrooms are regarded as both food and medicine, and are known to boost the immune system (but they do not eat raw mushrooms either, typically, since drying them is often the preferred choice).

Dr Weil continues about not eating raw mushrooms and why they should be cooked. He said, “Raw mushrooms contain small amounts of toxins, including some compounds that are considered carcinogens. These are destroyed by cooking them thoroughly.”

You can boil, broil, grill, or even dry mushrooms (dried varieties are commonly found in Asian food markets) to kill the toxins and carcinogens in mushrooms. But know that the health benefits of cooked or dried mushrooms are amazing for your health, including these examples that Dr. Weil gave:

–         Shiitaki enhances immunity and reduces the risk of cancer

–         Maitake contain beta-glucans that have immune-enhancing effects

–         Oyster mushrooms contain compounds that help lower high cholesterol

–         Cordyceps mushrooms support lung function and increase aerobic capacity

–         Reishi can help fight cancer

–         Lion’s Mane has a nerve-growth compound to help treat nerve disorders

Mushrooms typically like to grow in shady areas, but occasionally the sun streams through tree branches and hits the tops of the mushrooms; those that have been exposed to the sun contain much higher amounts of vitamin D. Interestingly, you can increase dried mushrooms’ vitamin D amounts by setting them in sunlight.

Remember not to eat raw mushrooms…and even Dr. Weil takes dried mushroom complexes as a daily supplement to enhance his immune system. I take medicinal mushroom supplements as well, and have yet to catch a cold or get the flu.

Medicinal mushrooms are absolutely fantastic—just don’t eat them raw.

The author of this story is a freelance contributor to National Nutraceuticals’ online news portals, such as Amino Acid Information Center at http://www.aminoacidinformation.com and Vancouver Health News at http://www.VancouverHealthNews.ca.  National Nutraceuticals, Inc. also owns and operates a third health news portal focusing on medicinal mushrooms at http://medicinalmushroominfo.com, plus our newest portal at http://todayswordofwisdom.com.

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Sharon Cornet


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