In Asia, mushrooms have been used as food and medicine for thousands of years. More than 50 species are reputed to have healing properties. In Japan, for example, an extract of the Shiitake mushroom is used clinically as a cancer treatment. Western scientists, however, are just beginning to study the compounds in these distinctive foods.

One substance in mushrooms that may make them a good part of a healthy diet is the mineral selenium. When partnered with another antioxidant, vitamin E, selenium may help neutralize “free radicals” (unstable molecules that damage cells) and prevent genetic damage that leads to prostate cancer.

Out of all compounds identified and studied so far in mushrooms, certain polysaccharides seem to possess the most anti-cancer potential. These polysaccharides are also known as beta-glucans. The betaglucan polysaccharides that have been extracted from mushrooms and used in clinical trials include Lentinan, Schizophyllan, PSK, PSP and Grifron-D.

Some studies suggest that polysaccharides may increase the quality of life of patients and their survival for some cancers, especially when used in combination with conventional treatments; however, it’s not known how these polysaccharides work is not entirely known.



Research continues, but you don’t need to wait to make mushrooms part of your regular diet. Try this simple dish and experiment with the mushrooms you use.



  • 2 teaspoons canola or olive oil
  • 1 package (8 ounces) sliced mushrooms
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1-1/2 pounds bok choy or napa
  • cabbage, rinsed and
  • chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Salt and freshly ground
  • black pepper, to taste

 Recipe Directions

In large skillet or wok, heat oil over medium high heat. Add mushrooms, shallots and garlic and stir-fry until mushrooms darken, about 5 minutes. Add bok choy or napa cabbage and stir-fry for 8 to10 minutes until tender. Sprinkle with soy sauce, lemon zest, salt and pepper, to taste. Serve. Makes four servings.


PER SERVING: 7g carbs, 2g fiber, 4g protein, 3g fat, 197mg sodium, 60 calories


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Christy is a Certified Wellness Coach and has a passion for empowering and educating individuals. She has over 10 years experience in the Health and Wellness industry and continues to pursue health and wellness activities through weight training, aerobics, and dance. Connect with us on our Google Plus Page Active. Healthy. Well.