Mushrooms have mega medicinal properties! There are thousands of mushroom species to choose from, and not all are cancer preventative or healing. Reishi, cordyceps, and maitake are known to be packed with anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting compounds. These types have been used to fight cancer for centuries.[i] They inhibit tumor growth and also help the body create new healthy cells, so definitely consider them healthful if you’re undergoing chemo and radiation. It’s the beta-glucan, a naturally occurring chemical in mushrooms, which stimulates cells and improves immune function.
For breast cancer, try ganoderma mushrooms, which suppress tumor growth by altering lipid metabolism and triggering cell death.[ii] For colorectal cancer, try chaga mushroom.[iii]
I interviewed Ocean Robbins, founder of Food Revolution Network, for my book, "Cancer-Free with Food," and he pointed me to a study done in Australia that indicates we should all be eating mushrooms regularly and in conjunction with green tea. In his new book, 31-Day Food Revolution, he highlights a 2004 study of 2,000 Chinese women, roughly half with breast cancer, conducted by the University of Western Australia, Perth.[iv] He writes: The scientists reviewed the women’s eating habits and factored out other variables that contribute to cancer, such as being overweight, lack of exercise, and smoking. They came to a startling conclusion about mushrooms.[v]
Women who consumed at least a third of an ounce of fresh mushrooms per day (less than one typical-sized mushroom) were 64 percent less likely to develop breast cancer. Dried mushrooms had a slightly less protective effect, reducing the risk by around half. What was even more impressive is that women who combined eating mushrooms with regular consumption of green tea saw an even greater benefit—they reduced their breast cancer risk by an astounding 89 percent.
Why are mushrooms so powerful? They are thought to protect against breast and other hormone-related cancers because they inhibit an enzyme called aromatase, which produces estrogen.[vi] Mushrooms also contain specialized lectins that recognize cancer cells and prevent these cells from growing and dividing. (Lectins, a type of carbohydrate-binding protein, have gotten a bad reputation in some circles, but some of them, such as the ones in mushrooms, can be beneficial.)
Mushrooms Are Especially Good For . . .
Doctrine of Signatures: A slice of mushroom resembles the human ear; it also has been found to improve hearing and bone health in the area associated with the ear that lead to the brain.
Caution: Mushrooms are not for everyone and some body types disagree with mushrooms. You can take a DNA or food allergy test to see if mushrooms are healthy for your body or if they aren’t a good match.
Caution: Mushrooms should only be eaten cooked. According to Joel Fuhrman, M.D., some common raw mushrooms have a carcinogen called agartine, which is destroyed by heat.[vii]
Cancer-Free with Food Recipes with Mushrooms
Other Ways to Incorporate Mushrooms in Your Cancer-Healing Kitchen
Nutrition tip: Mushrooms are one of the few edible sources of vitamin D.
Resources from Cancer-Free with Food book:
[i] S. Patel and A. Goyal. “Recent Developments in Mushrooms as Anti-cancer Therapeutics: A Review,” 3 Biotech, vol. 2, no. 1 (March 2012), pp. 1–15, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc3339609.
[ii] J. Li, L. Zou, W. Chen, et al. “Dietary mushroom intake may reduce the risk of breast cancer: evidence from a meta-analysis of observational studies,” PloS One, vol. 9, no. 4 (April 2-014), pp. e93437, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24691133.
[iii] J.H. Kang, J.E. Jang, S.K. Mishra, et al. “Ergosterol Peroxide from Chaga Mushroom (Inonotus Obliquus) Exhibits Anti-cancer Activity by Down-regulation of the β-catenin Pathway in Colorectal Cancer,” vol. 173 (September 2015), pp. 303–12, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26210065.
[iv] “Eating Mushrooms Daily ‘May Cut Breast Cancer Risk by Two Thirds’,” Telegraph (March 16, 2009), as cited in Ocean Robbins. 31-Day Food Revolution: Heal Your Body, Feel Great, and Transform Your World (New York: Grand Central Life & Style, 2019), advance copy provided prior to publication by the author.
[v] M. Zhang, et al., “Dietary Intake of Mushrooms and Green Tea Combine to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer in Chinese Women,” International Journal of Cancer, vol. 124, no. 6 (March 15, 2009), pp. 1404–8, as cited by Ocean Robbins.
[vi] Joel Fuhrman. “Mighty Mushrooms: Boost Immune Function and Guard Against Cancer,” Dr. Fuhrman blog (May 31, 2017), as cited by Ocean Robbins.
[vii] Joel Fuhrman. “Mighty Mushrooms: Boost Immune Function and Guard Against Cancer,” Dr. Fuhrman blog (May 31, 2017), https://www.drfuhrman.com/library/eat-to-live-blog/50/mighty-mushrooms-boost-immune-function-and-guard-against-cancer.
by liana werner-gray
Hi. I am a Health researcher bringing you honest information about cancer healing treatments and foods that kill (and cause) cancer! I love diving into the scientific studies that show this research.