Superfood is the buzz word in nutrition. Superfoods are foods which are high in nutrients or phytochemical content and may have health benefits, with few negative properties. The term is used to describe goji berries, mangosteen, kale and other often exotic fruits and vegetables.
There is still so much to learn about nutrients and their interaction within our bodies and scientists are making exciting discoveries all of the time. While we can try to incorporate some so called superfoods into our diets, it is important to remember that through eating a diverse diet, we obtain the widest range of nutrients. Don't think you have to hop on the goji bandwagon, or eat a kilo of kale everyday for optimum health, some of the healthiest foods have always been right in front of us.
A study in the Journal of Nutrition December 1, 2001 vol. 131 no. 123288-3293, entitled "White Button Mushroom Phytochemicals Inhibit Aromatase Activity and Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation", tested the effectiveness of flavone and isoflavone phytoestrogens found in seven common vegetables in the inhibition of cancer cells in breast tissue. The winner in this study was the white button mushroom not celery, carrots, broccoli or exotic mushrooms like reishi or shitake, but the plain white button mushrooms that I remember my mother cooking with.
Funny how that is, I recall a baby food cookbook dating back to the 90's saying there is little or no nutritive value in white button mushrooms. Twenty years later, they may be coined a superfood.
Now, that isn't to say that the other vegetables I have mentioned do not play a part the prevention of breast cancer or other disease, because they do. White button mushrooms act to inhibit aromatase activity, while broccoli contains, indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which seems to alter estrogen levels and may also raise levels of protective enzymes in the body, slowing or stopping the growth of breast, prostate, and other cancer cells (another blog for another time).
The bottom line here is: the body is very complex and prevents disease on many levels, so we need to eat a variety of foods on a daily basis, for the greatest protection against illness and disease.
Throwing a handful of mushrooms into sauces, stews or even your burger patties may not be such a bad idea! How do you like to use mushrooms?
I have shared this at the Frugally Sustainable Blog Hop..