Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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Magic Mushrooms can ‘Reset’ Depressed Brain

A hallucinogen found in magic mushrooms can “reset” the brains of people with untreatable depression, raising hopes of a future treatment, scans suggest.

The small study gave 19 patients a single dose of the psychedelic ingredient psilocybin.
Half of patients ceased to be depressed and experienced changes in their brain activity that lasted about five weeks.

However, the team at Imperial College London says people should not self-medicate.

There has been a series of small studies suggesting psilocybin could have a role in depression by acting as a “lubricant for the mind” that allows people to escape a cycle of depressive symptoms.
But the precise impact it might be having on brain activity was not known.

The team at Imperial performed fMRI brain scans before treatment with psilocybin and then the day after (when the patients were “sober” again).

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, showed psilocybin affected two key areas of the brain.

  • The amygdala – which is heavily involved in how we process emotions such as fear and anxiety – became less active. The greater the reduction, the greater the improvement in reported symptoms.
  • The default-mode network – a collaboration of different brain regions – became more stable after taking psilocybin.

Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, head of psychedelic research at Imperial, said the depressed brain was being “clammed up” and the psychedelic experience “reset” it.

He told the BBC News website: “Patients were very ready to use this analogy. Without any priming they would say, ‘I’ve been reset, reborn, rebooted’, and one patient said his brain had been defragged and cleaned up.”

However, this remains a small study and had no “control” group of healthy people with whom to compare the brain scans.

Further, larger studies are still needed before psilocybin could be accepted as a treatment for depression.

However, there is no doubt new approaches to treatment are desperately needed.

Prof Mitul Mehta, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, said: “What is impressive about these preliminary findings is that brain changes occurred in the networks we know are involved in depression, after just a single dose of psilocybin.

“This provides a clear rationale to now look at the longer-term mechanisms in controlled studies.”

By James Gallagher    Health and science reporter, BBC News website    14 October 2017
 
source: www.bbc.com
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Fun Fact Friday

  • You’re chances of dying are greater in the taxi cab on the way to/from an airport than on the actual flight itself.

  • Having excessive body hair is linked to higher intellect.

 

  • When digested, cheese releases casomorphin, a compound that stimulates fat intake, slows digestion, and may even have a narcotic effect.

  • The population of Japan spends $300 million a year on mushrooms alone.


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The Healthiest Way to Cook Mushrooms Is Totally Surprising

Scientists have revealed the best way to cook mushrooms — and it’s not in a frying pan.
Mushrooms are healthy because of the significant amount of dietary fiber, protein, amino acids, vitamins (including B1, B2, B12, C, D and E) and trace minerals that they contain, as well as the fact that they’re low in fat and calories.

But, according to researchers from the Mushroom Technological Research Center of La Rioja in Spain, mushrooms’ composition, antioxidant capacity and nutritional content can be negatively affected by the cooking process.

For the study, which was published in the International Journal of Food Sciences, the team evaluated the influence of boiling, microwaving, grilling and frying white button, shiitake, oyster and king oyster mushrooms. After cooking the four types of mushrooms, which were chosen because they are the most widely consumed species of mushroom worldwide, the samples were freeze-dried and analyzed, with the results compared to raw versions.

The researchers concluded that the best way to cook mushrooms while still preserving their nutritional properties is to grill or microwave them, as the fried and boiled mushrooms showed significantly less antioxidant activity. The fried mushrooms in particular revealed a severe loss in protein and carbohydrate content, but an increase in fat.”Frying and boiling treatments produced more severe losses in proteins and antioxidants compounds, probably due to the leaching of soluble substances in the water or in the oil, which may significantly influence the nutritional value of the final product,” said Irene Roncero, one of the study’s authors, in a statement.

Kate Samuelson     May 22, 2017     TIME Health
 
source: time.com


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8 Reasons to Add Shiitake Mushrooms To Your Diet

Sure shiitake mushrooms are savory and delicious, but now there are scientifically proven reasons to eat them every day. If you are one of the lucky people who ate shiitake mushrooms at breakfast this morning, you are well aware of the tasty reasons to eat them.

Shiitake mushrooms are one delicious variety of fungi that not only taste good, but that help heal your body. Let’s look further at the edible bounty of shiitake mushrooms and why science has proven that eating them every day is deliciously good for you.

8 SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN REASONS TO EAT SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS EVERY DAY
A half cup of shiitake mushrooms only has 41 calories and packs the following nutritional daily values:

  • Copper 72%
  • Pantothenic acid 52%
  • Selenium 33%
  • Vitamin B2 9%
  • Zinc 9%
  • Manganese 8%
  • Vitamin B6 7%
  • Vitamin B3 7%
  • Choline 6%
  • Fiber 6%
  • Vitamin D 5%
  • Folate 4%

1. SCIENCE HAS PROVEN THAT SHITAKE MUSHROOMS CAN KILL BACTERIA THAT CAUSE DISEASE.
Chitosan is a type of natural sugar that is found in a few foods, including the shells of crabs and the stems of shiitake mushrooms. The chitosan found in shiitake mushrooms has antimicrobial properties that kill bacteria.

Researchers in one study found that chitosan from shiitake stems showed excellent antimicrobial activities against eight different species of disease-causing bacteria. Scientists also discovered that shiitake chitosan was more effective at killing bacteria than the chitosan taken from crab shells.

2. SCIENCE HAS PROVEN THAT SHITAKE MUSHROOMS CAN KILL TUMORS
Keeping yourself cancer-free is certainly a great reason to eat shiitakes and the scientific research backs up this claim. The same study mentioned above also found that the chitosan in shiitake mushroom stems helped prevent tumors from spreading.

Chitosan can also be found in crab shells, but the researchers found that shiitake chitosan was better at stopping the spread of tumors than the chitosan taken from crab shells. Although we can’t say that shiitake mushrooms prevent cancer form occurring in the first place, reducing the spread of tumors is a great reason to add them to your meal plan every day.

shiitake mushrooms

3. SCIENCE HAS PROVEN THAT SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS CAN REDUCE INFLAMMATION AND IMPROVE IMMUNITY.
Yet another scientific study showed that eating whole dried shiitake mushrooms in a daily diet helped reduce the inflammation for 52 male and female study participants over 4 weeks. Scientists were able to show an improved immune function for the people who ate the mushrooms every day. An improved immune response is yet another incredible health benefit of eating shiitake mushrooms.

4. SCIENCE HAS PROVEN THAT SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS CAN HELP FIGHT OBESITY.
In a study of mice that were fed a diet of shiitake mushrooms, scientists showed that the mice that ate the mushrooms had much healthier body weights than those that did not. The shiitake-fed mice had reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels and also had fewer fatty liver deposits.

The researchers say that supplementing diet with shiitake mushrooms could be a way to help control obesity in humans as well. Whether you suffer from a weight problem or not, adding shiitake mushrooms to your diet is a way to add a healthy, high-nutrient, low calorie food that you will enjoy.

5. SCIENCE HAS PROVEN THAT SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS CAN PREVENT INSOMNIA.
Some scientists believe that Vitamin D deficiency is responsible for many of the chronic insomnia sufferers in the world. 100 grams of fresh shiitake mushrooms provide 100 IU of Vitamin D daily, which helps your body repair itself at night while you get restful sleep.

6. SCIENCE HAS PROVEN THAT SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS CAN PREVENT AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES.
Adding shiitake mushrooms to your diet can decrease the risk of autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia and arthritis. Shiitake naturally contain beta glucans, which are a type of natural sugar.

Beta glucans have many health benefits including protection from colds and flu.

Gaining resilience against autoimmune diseases and preventing the immune system from attacking the body is a scientifically proven reason to eat shiitake mushrooms every day.

7. SCIENCE HAS PROVEN THAT SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS CAN IMPROVE OVERALL NUTRITION IN YOUR DIET.
Science has shown that those who have mushrooms in their diet are more likely to have a higher quality diet with respect to total nutrient content than people who do not have mushrooms in their diet. Nine years of data were analyzed and measurements of healthy eating were checked for groups of people who either had mushrooms in their diets or did not. The mushroom-eating group surpassed the others for total vegetables, dark greens and grains.

8. SCIENCE HAS PROVEN THAT SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS CAN PREVENT AND CORRECT HYPERTENSION.
Researchers evaluating alternatives to high-blood pressure medication say that ‘Synthetic anti-hypertensive drugs have been blamed for side effects of various sorts. Thus, the search for natural, safe, and food-based anti-hypertensive agents has gained momentum. Mushrooms, abundant in bio-active components, had been recognized for its use as therapeutics in alternative and complementary medicine as well as functional food.’

Mushrooms contain terpenoids, peptides, lentinan, pipecolic acid and potassium, which researchers have shown can actually prevent a high-cholesterol diet from causing high blood pressure. The compounds in shiitake mushrooms also have the potential to reverse hypertension for patients who prefer a non-drug therapy.

source: www.powerofpositivity.com     Feb. 20 /2016


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Lacking Vitamin D? Mushrooms Can Sunbathe For You This Winter

By: Joe Leech    January 19, 2016    Follow Joe at @DietvsDisease

Have you been advised by your doctor to get more vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin”?

It has become a major health concern in recent years, with the occurrence of vitamin D deficiencies slowly on the rise. In fact, almost half (41.6 percent) of the U.S. population is deficient in this crucial vitamin according to data from 2005-2006.

Considering we rely very heavily on the sun’s UV light to manufacture vitamin D, winter months can make it even more difficult to meet requirements. But research shows that mushrooms can actually do it for you…extremely well.

Mushrooms Produce Vitamin D

Much like humans, mushrooms naturally produce vitamin D when they are exposed to sunlight (or another source of UV light). Their natural ergosterol gets converted to ergocalciferol (vitamin D2), which human bodies can use.

mushrooms

A 2015 analysis of mushrooms from five cities showed that store-bought mushrooms contain on average 2.3 mcg of vitamin D per 100 grams (about 3-4 mushrooms), which is 23 percent of your daily needs. However, this number can be greatly increased when they get some sun.

A study by the University of Sydney found that mushrooms left in the midday sun for about one hour produced roughly 10 mcg of vitamin D per 100 gram serve. Another found that a short burst of UV-B rays increased vitamin D2 levels to 17.6 mcg per 100 grams, equal to levels found in other food sources of vitamin D, like fatty fish (2, 3).

Considering our daily requirements are 5-15 mcg (depending on age), this is significant dose of the sunshine vitamin.

Of course you should not replace vitamin D supplements with natural alternatives without first consulting your doctor, but mushrooms are a great way to boost your levels naturally.

How To Prepare Them

Simply allow your mushrooms to sunbathe outside or on an open windowsill for 1-2 hours to create your  own natural vitamin D “supplement”… one that actually tastes good too.

As though you needed any additional reasons to eat more mushrooms.


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The Healthiest Mushrooms

Certain fungi are potent disease fighters and a wise addition to your diet. Though some are more effective than others, we’ve sorted out which mushrooms pack the most powerful – and healthy – punch.

White button mushrooms: Studies have shown that this popular mushroom has been effective in preventing breast and prostate cancer in both animal and human cells. Not getting enough? Nix the chips or crackers for dips, and try using white button mushrooms to dip instead. They’re the perfect bite-sized substitution and can be easily found at any grocery store.

Crimini mushrooms: These mini-Portobello mushrooms have a delicious meaty flavor. If you’re trying to lose weight, blending crimini mushrooms with ground turkey is a great way to cut half the fat without losing taste. The high-fiber mushroom mixture works well for any meat-based dish — tacos, meat sauce, hamburgers and more.

Maitake mushrooms: Loaded with antioxidants and potassium, these hearty mushrooms have been known to lower the risks of high blood pressure and stroke. Also known as “Hen of the Woods,” Maitake mushrooms have a nutty, woodsy flavor that’s perfect for soups and sides. You can even drink them! There are mushroom-based coffees that taste the same as the regular stuff, but are packed with Maitake’s disease-fighting nutrients.

mushrooms

 

8 Types of Mushrooms and Their Health Benefits

There are many types of mushrooms that offer a long list of health benefits. Mushrooms are an odd looking group that goes by the name of fungi pronounced, fun gee or fun guy. Essentially it is neither a plant nor an animal it is a fungus, hence the group name. Although mushrooms may not be a number one menu favorite you may think twice about pushing them aside during your next encounter.
Note: If you have gout do not eat mushrooms.
White Mushroom for Weight Loss and Prostate Cancer Prevention- This category includes the familiar button mushroom, cremini and the Portobello. The white mushroom has a special carbohydrate that stokes the metabolic fire and maintains blood sugar levels. A strong metabolism means more burned fat. Three ounces per day for four to six weeks has been said to yield substantial weight loss (this does not mean that exercise and healthy eating is not required). These mushrooms are also high in selenium which not only aids weight loss but is showing to have positive effects on prostate cancer.
Shiitake Can Fight Tumors- These flavorful, meaty mushrooms contain lentinan which is a natural anti-tumor compound. It has been developed by the Japanese into a beneficial anti-cancer treatment. In turn, it is an excellent source of vitamin D and fighting infection. Four to five ounces per day is recommended.
Reishi: The Super Anti-‘Shroom- This mushroom that looks like a large brown and white flower made of wood, has the following properties: anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal. In addition, reishi mushrooms contain gandodermic acid which helps reduce cholesterol which in turn can lower high blood pressure. A few ounces per day is a good addition to a meal.
Maitake Mushrooms for Breast Cancer- A half of a cup per day of maitake mushrooms is said to be able to sweep the system, find abnormal cells and cause them to self-destruct. At the same time, these trumpeting bushels can trigger the body to release killer immune system cells.
Oysters for HIV – Oyster mushrooms are being studied as a possible defense against HIV. Due to its high anti-oxidant compounds, these mushrooms can be a life saving ingredient.
Chanterelle: The Other Anti ‘Shroom – Looking like a single mini-trumpet this mushroom has been associated with anti-microbial, bacterial and fungal properties. They are also high in vitamin C, D and potassium.
Porcini for Anti-Inflammation- A meaty mushroom similar to the Portabello has been used as a successful anti-inflammatory. It contains the compound ergosterol which is capable of cytotoxicity which is the process of attacking enemy cells.
Shimeji Fights Tumors Asthma and More- These are the tiny capped, long stemmed species that can be found in many Asian soups or as a garnish. Be sure and pay close attention to this one as it contains beta-glucans. According to the National Cancer Institute of Japan this compound is a successful remedy for retarding and destroying growing tumors. Shimeji mushrooms can also help diabetes, asthma and certain allergies by enhancing the immune system and boosting its healing capabilities.


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7 Fruits and Vegetables That Boost Your Immune System

With cold and flu season just around the corner, now it’s more important than ever to get your immune system in the best shape you can. Getting enough sleep and exercise, and keeping your stress level down, can really do a lot for your health. But having a right diet is just, if not more, important. Luckily, there are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables out there that have immunity-boosting properties.

Tip: Look for foods that are rich in color — that’s a surefire sign that they’re also high in immunity-boosting antioxidants. Red, yellow, purple, blue, and orange fruits and vegetables really fit the bill here.

1. Sweet Potatoes.

And just in time for Thanksgiving! Sweet potatoes owe their orange hue to beta-carotene, an antioxidant that the body converts into Vitamin A, an essential nutrient for fighting against disease. Sweet potatoes are actually one of the best fresh sources of immunity-boosting properties out there.

2. Berries.

Packed with Vitamins C and E,berries truly are a nutritional powerhouse. Some of your best bests are common berries like raspberries and blueberries, as well as less common ones like acai and goji. Try eating berries with yogurt, another great-immunity boosting food.

3. Mushrooms.

Mushrooms are one of, if not the best, vegetarian foods for preventing and fighting disease. That’s because mushrooms help the maturation of your white blood cells, and, as some research suggest, might actually help them ward off disease better!


4. Carrots.

Though they probably won’t help you see in the dark, carrots might just help you ward off seasonal colds and flus. Like sweet potatoes, carrots are full of beta-carotene. For the best immune system-boosting results, stick to eating raw carrots.

5. Garlic.

People have been using garlic to ward of disease for thousands of years. And, more and more research suggest, it’s more than just folk medicine. One  prominent study (PDF) found that people who took garlic supplements got few cold symptoms, and, if they did get sick, they were ill for less time than the placebo group.

If you can handle it, try eating a clove of garlic every day. But it doesn’t just have to be the hard way — adding some minced garlic, fresh or cooked, is beneficial.

6. Kiwi.

Kiwifruit is a great natural source of vitamin E, a key nutrient for your immune system. Vitamin E helps protect your body from viral and bacterial infections. Though the jury is still out on whether or not vitamin C helps boost immunity, kiwifruit does have more of the stuff than most citrus fruits, including oranges!

7. Spinach.

Like kiwi, spinach is loaded with vitamin E. But that’s not all. Spinach really packs a huge nutritional punch. it has loads of beta-carotene, folate and vitamins A, C and K, as well as minerals like copper and iron — all nutrients vital to maintaining a healthy immune system.

Katie Waldeck     November 23, 2013