Washington, July 5 : Mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, nutrients, and vitamins that may help fight cancer, say researchers.
While addressing the health benefits of mushrooms in a session Monday at the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo in New Orleans, several scientists pointed out that this food item contains antioxidants, selenium, riboflavin, and other healthful substances that protect the immune system and fight cancer.
Dr. Lana Zivanovic, a researcher in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Tennessee, said that mushrooms contained high amounts of beta-glucans, compounds that help keep immune cells in a state of vigilance and thereby guard against disease.
Dr. Shiuan Chen, director of surgical research at the Beckman Research Institute in California, revealed that mushrooms were rich in cancer-fighting substances.
He said that lab experiments had found mushrooms' cells to contain mechanisms that suppress breast and prostate cancer cells.
He even revealed that he was following up his study with clinical trials funded by the Mushroom Council, the results of which should be out in a year.
The researcher said that, so far, his team had discovered that mushrooms contain an antioxidant called ergothioneine, which contributes to immune support and protection of the eyes, skin, liver, kidneys, and bone marrow.
Dr. Joy Dubost, principal nutritionist at PepsiCo, said that her studies had shown that stressful growing conditions might help mushrooms produce more of the antioxidants.
The scientists making presentations at the even also pointed out that mushrooms contained robust amounts of selenium, vitamin D and potassium.
Dr. Robert Beelman from the Department of Food Science at Pennsylvania State University said that white button mushrooms had more protein, potassium, copper, and selenium than oyster or shitake mushrooms.