Mushrooms are a bit like Marmite - you either love'em or hate'm. But are they actually healthy?! With the great variety of mushrooms popping up at this time of year it begs the question – Are mushrooms good for you?
Mushrooms have become a bit more popular recently since the medicinal properties of some mushrooms like shiitake have been associated with cancer healing effects.
There are 100 000 different kinds of mushrooms worldwide - 2000 of which are actually edible. 500 have been proven to affect the human organism in one way or another. That doesn't even include the microscopic sized yeasty organisms that we use to make bread, cheese or soya sauce.
What's really fabulous about mushrooms is that you can quickly whip up a meal with them in no time
What You're Going to Learn on this Page:
- The Health Benefits of Mushrooms
- 6 Delicious Recipe Ideas (including, vegan, gluten free & paleo)
- Can You Eat Mushrooms On the Candida Diet?
Let's first look at how mushrooms can improve your health. Then I'm going to show you some quick & tasty mushroom recipes.
If you have Candida and you are concerned that you cannot eat mushrooms, you can skip right to my explanation how mushrooms affect Candida. Including my recent shroomy food experiments and their outcomes.
Ready? Lets get to it!
Nutritional Benefits of Eating Mushrooms
- Virtually No Calories (helps to keep you looking at your best
- High in Potassium, zinc and other minerals (regulates blood pressure and metabolism in general)
- High in Zinc and other Minerals (good for skin/ wound healing & hormone regulation)
- High in B-Vitamins (good for nerves/ dealing with stress))
- Antioxidant Rich (boosts your Immune system)
- Suppresses tumor growth (cancer)
According to Prof. Dr. med. R. Beliveau and Dr. med. D. Gingras (authors of the international bestseller cookbook for cancer prevention "Krebszellen moegen keine Himbeeren") the more exotic mushrooms like Shiitake, Maitake and Enoki are favourable, as they have the best health benefits with the least amount of side effects.
Which Mushrooms Are Best?
Shiitake have a strong flavour, but contain Lentinan which is excellent at fighting infections and inhibiting cancer. Shiitake are also known to lower Cholesterol & boost libido; not just the Asians swear by it
- White Button Mushrooms, Cremini, Chestnut & Portobello
Portobello mushrooms have a mildly nutty flavour; always cook them well to remove as many of the naturally present toxins in it.
These mushrooms are a real immune system enhancer - with a mild flavour that works well in salads and added to soups before serving.
- Maitake (means "dancing mushroom")
Maitake mushrooms have been traditionally used in China & Japan for centuries for optimum health & longevity) - good to control blood sugar levels and blood pressure; cancer fighting & strongest immune stimulant of them all.
Don't Miss These 6 Super Quick & Delicious Recipe Ideas for You Using Fresh Mushrooms - Enjoy!
Whether you lightly fry them in olive oil with some salt, black pepper and garlic and serve them on a rustic buttered slice of toasted wholemeal soda bread or you create a creamy sauce with a bit of chicken or bacon to enjoy them with rice pasta or green vegetables. Mushrooms also taste lovely as vegetarian pizza topping with lightly fried red onions...mmmh.
VEGAN RECIPE IDEA: Try Mini Chestnut Mushrooms fried in Olive Oil with Garlic on Rustic Bread
Use yeast free & home baked wholemeal or gluten free bread with a sprinkling of salt & freshly ground black pepper. (candida diet advice: from phase 3 of the candida diet onwards, if it agrees with you and you are feeling well. If you suffer from a lot of symptoms don't eat mushrooms just yet.)
VEGGY & GF-RECIPE IDEA 1: White Button Mushrooms fried with Garlic on Scrambled Egg & Garlic butter Soda Bread Toast
For a super quick lunch option chop & saute a handful of mushrooms until brown and crisp. Then serve alongside scrambled egg or inside an omelette. (candida advice: from phase 3 onwards you can have buttered yeast free soda bread sprinkled with some fresh garlic with it. Towards the end of the diet you could also have a slice of wild rye sourdough bread - delicious!)
GF-RECIPE IDEA 2: Red Onion & Mushroom Veggy Pizza
Spiced tomato puree, fried red onion mushroom slices make a fantastic pizza topping. You can also add raw or fried bell pepper rings or other veg of your choice and a few bits of feta (goats cheese) and mozzarella if it agrees with you. I seem to react to mozzarella, so I stick to goats cheese, personally.
This is great fun to make for all the family. Why not make it even healthier by making your own yeast free pizza dough using gluten free flour?
(candida note: A mini gluten free pizza with little goats cheese, served with a green salad should be fine in phase 3 of the candida diet. The bigger the base and the cheesier the topping the less healthy of course
GF-RECIPE 3: Pies & Pastries
Both Paleo Suggestions below (Creamy Mushrooms with Bacon and the Chicken & Mushroom Stroganoff sauce lend themselves beautifully as a filling for gluten free pastries and pies
PALEO-RECIPE IDEA 1: Creamy Mushroom Pasta Sauce with Bacon
Lightly fried mushrooms with a few chopped bits of organic unsmoked bacon make a quick & tasty sauce for rice pasta or soba noodles.(candida note: again this is a phase 3 meal because of the carbs in the pasta; only eat when no hypersensitivity present).
PALEO-RECIPE IDEA 2: Chicken & Mushroom Stroganoff (also works with cod or tuna)
Make extra creamy mushroom sauce to go with steamed cod or tuna - makes a great quick supper. Alternatively you can add chicken stock and lightly fried spiced organic chicken pieces to your sauce to make a Chicken & Mushroom Stroganoff type dish. (candida advice: technically a phase 2 meal as there's no carbs - I'd suggest to wait until your symptoms are way more under control before eating mushrooms.)
Do You Know How to Prepare Shrooms?
Tip for Preparing Fresh Mushrooms:
I tend to peel off the outer layer of the mushrooms and also chop and disregard the bottom bit of the stems. Due to their high water contents and smooth porous surface mushrooms are impossible to wash. So you can either brush the dirt off or do as I say
How to Use Dried Mushrooms Instead of Fresh Ones:
Put the dried mushrooms in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Cover and soak for 30 minutes or according to instructions. Then remove excess liquid (this is high in nutrients, don't throw it - use it as aromatic base for stock or soups). Then chop or use how you would normally.
Thanks for reading this far The rest of this information deals specifically with the topic how mushrooms affect people with Candida health problems. So, if you don't have Candida they might not be so relevant to you...
Can you Eat Mushrooms on the Candida Diet?
Candida does not feed on fungus, only on carbs (sugars). Since mushrooms don't contain any sugar you could argue that they are fine to eat on the Candida Diet. But that's not the case.
Pretty much everyone with Candida has initially got some sensitivity to moulds, yeast, fungus, and any pickled or fermented food.
If your immune system has been operating on low for a while chances are that you react to certain foods, being it dairy, wheat or in this case mould/ fungus.
That's why candida sufferers are generally also hypersensitive to mould spores in the air and mushrooms in food. As a consequence eating mushrooms can lead to IBS like digestive disorders and bloating or fatigue.
Are mushrooms good for you if you have candida? A Real Life Experiment!
Throwing caution out of the window and totally embracing risk & daredevilishness I went and bought a whole load of different mushrooms over the space of 2 weeks, ate them and observed the effects. I'm at the tail end of phase 3 of the diet now btw, so I eat carbs from whole grains, just no sugar, fruit or most dairy products.
First Mushroom Experiment & Observation (after eating a handful of button mushrooms stir-fried in garlic butter with scrambled eggs on yeast free bread) : Totally loved the flavour. No noticeable side effects. Felt really good. Result!
Second Mushroom Experiment & Observation (after eating a punnet of small chestnut mushrooms on veggy pizza for lunch):
Right after eating: felt a bit tired, it had been far too much dough though, and a little under-done.
Next day: slight onset of more candida symptoms (but to be honest, I reckon it was more to do with the pizza base and the mozzarella and creme fraiche topping rather than the mushrooms themselves)
Third Mushroom Experiment & Observation (after eating 2 big portobello mushrooms sauteed with 1 big red onion and a tiny bit of fresh tuna for dinner after eating virtually no carb during the day to eliminate that as cause for my symptoms):
About an hour after eating I felt completely knocked out - I was ridiculously tired. It felt very pleasant though. Next day, lots more symptoms.
My conclusion: Caution! Mushrooms are Ok to Eat on the Candida Diet, but ONLY under these circumstances:
- if you like the look & taste of them - no point forcing yourself to eat something you despise!
- if you feel good & are well on your way to recovery (no allergies or hypersensitivity symptoms present)
- in Small Amounts with a Light & Easily Digestible Meal (preferably lunch)
- if you avoid other commonly known allergens like gluten, eggs, wheat or dairy if you have reacted to them in the past
Moderation is key here. A few mushrooms added to a scrambled egg, salad or soup are nothing to worry about in the later stages of phase 3 where your immune system is less sensitive to allergic responses.
In phase 1, 2 and whenever you feel under the weather or you are experiencing any type of lower abdomen discomfort or infection - a definitive no go!
But it very much depends on what else you are eating. Like in my case, I'm pretty sure I had been fine had I not eaten too many mushrooms lagged with olive oil, garlic and fried onions last thing at night.
All in all it felt like they were having a positive effect on my health, specifically on my bowel regularity - excuse my french
Mushrooms are super healthy and they truly enrich your autumn cuisine. So if your immune system is up to it, do try a few meals with them - they are ever so good for you.
Remember the info on this page is not meant as serious health advice. It's just insights from my own health journey - I still hope they might help you, too, to become healthier and feel good all the time.
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