Here are 5 reasons your bones love mushrooms. Did you know there are more than 38,000 varieties of mushrooms in the world? It’s pretty astounding. Some are superfoods, some are medicinal, and some are deadly poisons.
But no matter what kind of mushrooms you eat (except the poison ones!) your bones will thank you.
My personal favorite is the shiitake. In Asia, shiitakes are a symbol of longevity because of all their health benefits. The Chinese have used them as medicine for more than 6,000 years.
1. Balance Your Acid
Mushrooms are a great alkaline food. And as you know, alkaline foods are what we need to balance our acid-heavy modern diets of processed foods and not enough vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables. Acidic foods leach minerals like calcium from your bones. So adding some mushrooms to a meal can help bring down the acid.
You don’t need much copper but it’s essential to healthy bones. Copper helps produce collagen, a key fiber in building connective tissues, bones and joints. And although a copper deficiency is rare, it can reduce your bone density.
All mushrooms are a good source of copper but shiitakes have the highest levels. One cup of cooked shiitakes contains about 65% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 900 mcg.
Zinc is a superstar when it comes to building healthy bones. It works two ways. First, it stimulates production of osteoblasts that build new bone. But it also slows down the action of osteoclasts that break down old bone.
The RDA for zinc is only 8 mg. One cup of cooked shiitakes will give you almost 25% of that. But as we get older our zinc levels decline. This is especially true for women after menopause.
You might want to boost your zinc levels even more. In a two-year study of postmenopausal women, those who got between 8 and 20 mg per day had healthier bones than women who got more than 8 or less than 20 mg.[i]
That goes for men, too. A study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found zinc levels were lowest in men with osteoporosis.[ii]
Selenium deficiency may be a risk factor for osteoporosis. It’s already been associated with osteopenia in animals. In humans, it’s linked to osteoarthropathy (diseases of the bones and joints).[iii]
Many of us are deficient in selenium because this trace mineral is lacking in most US soils. Just one cup of shiitake mushrooms will give you a whopping 65% of your 55 mcg RDA.
5. Vitamin D
Mushrooms are the only vegetarian source of ergosterol, a precursor to vitamin D. And as you know, vitamin D is essential to steering calcium into your bones.
Ergosterols are especially abundant in shiitake mushrooms. In fact, according to Annemarie Colbin, just one ounce of dried shiitake mushrooms contains 46% of the RDA of vitamin D for a 55 year old woman.
Put Mushrooms To Work For Your Bones
Next time you go to the store pick up some shiitake mushrooms. Store them in the refrigerator in a loosely closed paper bag. They will keep fresh for about one week. Dried mushrooms will keep six months to a year in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer.
But don’t keep them that long. Put them to work for your bones ASAP. Try this great bone-building mushroom soup from my friend Vicki whose cooking talents are award winning. It has a yummy smooth velvety texture but it’s completely dairy-free.
Leave me a comment and let me know how you enjoy it. I think you’re going to love it!
Velvety Mushroom Soup
Recipe from Vicki Sarnoff’s Intuitive Kitchen.
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