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Mushrooms can help in the treatment of cancer

Mushrooms can help in the treatment of cancer

Edible mushrooms are fungi with species from different parts of the world. Although not very consumed in Brazil, they are healthy and low in calories.

The food has good amounts of protein, fiber, phosphorus and vitamin C and few fats. In addition, mushrooms have antimicrobial, anticancer, antioxidant action and there are still preliminary studies that point to fungus as a powerful ally for HIV virus carriers and for controlling diabetes and cholesterol.

Although all are very beneficial , the mushrooms that stand out are the Agaricus brasiliensis , better known as the sun mushroom, which is being studied as an ally in the treatment and prevention of some types of cancer and the shitake that counts on action antioxidant, antimicrobial and contributes to the immune system.

The main nutrients of mushrooms

All edible mushrooms are rich in various nutrients, however, there are some variations depending on the species. Mushrooms have good amounts of protein, which are necessary for the development of the organism. Champignon is one of the types with the highest amounts of this nutrient.

These fungi also have many fibers, especially shitake. The nutrient contributes to the best intestinal transit, provides satiety, helps to lower cholesterol, improves immunity and can prevent diabetes.

The food has few lipids and considerable amount of phosphorus which is a mineral that acts on the metabolism aiding in the activation of B vitamins and also has the function of strengthening bones and teeth along with calcium.

Folic acid is present in mushrooms, especially in shitake. The lack of this substance can lead to cardiovascular diseases, cancer and mental disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, in addition to resulting in poor fetal formation and bad congenital formations. Vitamin C is also present in mushrooms. It is interesting for health because it improves immunity and has antioxidant action.

The nutrient is essential for pregnant women because it helps prevent neurological malformations in the fetus, since it helps in the construction of the baby's neural tube. In addition, a study published by the University of California, USA, noted that taking folic acid supplements during pregnancy reduces the chances of a baby being born with autism.

Some types of fungus rely on ergosterol, a substance that reacting with ultraviolet radiation forms vitamin D. This nutrient is important for the development and maintenance of bone tissue, cellular processes, hormone secretion, immune system and various chronic non-communicable diseases.

Not all of these nutrients , the fungus still has polysaccharides, mainly beta-glucans, that count with strong antioxidant activity. Thus, they act against premature aging, longevity, control of sugar rates, modulate the immune system and inhibit tumor growth.

Nutrition table of the most cultivated mushroom species in Brazil

NutrientsShitake - 43 gShimeji - 43 gChampignon of Paris - 43 g
Calories14 kcal15 kcal13 kcal
Proteins0.68 g0.94 g1 g
Lipids0.17 g0.17 g0.17 g
Fibers1.7 g1.5 g0.64 g
Phosphorus38.27g47.3g48.6 g
Folate0.3 g0.34 g0.43 g
Vitamin B10 mg0.017mg0.013mg
Vitamin B20.025mg0 mg0.1 mg
Vitamin C3mg2.79 mg2.7 mg

Source: Regina Prado Zanes Furlani (Doctoral thesis Nutritional value of cultivated mushrooms

Check out the percentage of Daily Value * of some nutrients that the recommended portion, 43 grams, of mushroom carries:

  • Shitake has 7% of fibers, Shimeji and champignon has 7% phosphorus, Champignon has 2% protein, Shitake has 6.6% vitamin C.

* Daily Values ​​of reference for adults based on a 2,000 kcal or 8,400 kj diet. Your daily values ​​may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs.

The Benefits of Mushrooms for Health

The Mushroom and Cancer: Preliminary studies point to the relationship between mushroom and cancer treatment, because the food is rich in beta-glucans, especially lentinana. This substance stimulates the immune system, especially cells called natural killer, that destroy cancer cells.

Shimeji is good for health - Photo: Getty Images

The mastologist and oncologist Jorge Laerte Gennari, former professor of Faculty of Medicine of the Amazon, uses mushroom tablets as part of the treatment of breast cancer. "I have 400 patients under observation to find out if the mushroom helps in the treatment of this cancer, but this does not invalidate the conventional recovery, such as surgery and chemotherapy, it is not miraculous." beta-glucans is the mushroom,

Agaricus brasiliensis . Antimicrobial action:

Some mushrooms stand out because of the antimicrobial action and so they can fight against some microorganisms that are harmful to the body. This is because in their natural environment mushrooms require antibacterial and antiviral compounds to survive. Certain species have been noted for their antimicrobial action. Pleurotus salmon has this proven activity against certain bacteria because it contains the substance pleurotina. According to biologist Sascha Habu, shitake, funghi and the golden mushroom also have antimicrobial action.

Mushroom and HIV:

Beta-glucans may also be of interest for the treatment of HIV virus carriers. In addition, the mushroom has an antimicrobial action that can act against the virus, preliminary research has shown improvement of the symptoms of HIV after consumption of the fungus . Further studies are needed to prove this benefit. It is important to emphasize that the mushroom may only be an ally in the fight against HIV, so it is still necessary to maintain the traditional treatment of the disease. Antioxidant action:

Mushrooms have a strong antioxidant action, ie, fight against free radicals of the organism. This positively implicates in various diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, cirrhosis, arteriosclerosis, as well as degenerative processes associated with age.

The antioxidant action occurs because the mushrooms are rich in vitamins A and C, beta carotene, phenolic compounds, terpenes, among other substances that have this effect. The main types that stand out for this positive action are: champignon de Paris, portobello, mushroom, shitake, hiratake, king mushroom and salmon mushroom. Lowers cholesterol:

Initial studies relate mushrooms with the decrease of cholesterol. One of the issues that could contribute to the benefit is that some mushrooms, such as shimeji and oudemansiella canarii, are rich in vitamin B3, which helps in lowering bad cholesterol, LDL. Another possibility is the fact that the fungus is rich in fiber which also contributes to lower LDL levels. Some mushrooms, especially shitake, have eritadeine, this substance also helps reduce cholesterol levels.

Combat diabetes: Another interesting point of mushrooms is that they help in the control of diabetes. Several species have hypoglycemic properties, which lower blood sugar, due to the amount of fibers, polysaccharides and other compounds present in the food.

Beta-glucans would also have an antidiabetic effect. A number of preliminary studies with rats, including one made by Gimhae University in South Korea, showed that after consuming the sun-mushroom, which is rich in beta-glucans, there was a reduction in the glucose concentration of the animals. > Good for people with thyroid disease: Some studies point out that certain types of mushrooms have compounds that act on metabolism and can help control some hormones. Some of them are those secreted by the thyroid, so food consumption is interesting for those with thyroid diseases such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

Recommended amount of mushrooms

There is no exact recommended amount of mushrooms. Some experts target around 250-300 grams per week, about 43 grams per day, for a balanced diet. Risks of overconsumption

There are no risks in mushroom consumption, but it is important to insert it on a balanced diet.

How to consume mushrooms

All edible mushrooms have interesting nutrients to make up a balanced diet. Food can be consumed in many ways as stewed, sauces and salad.

In the case of the champignon of Paris avoid the canned version. This is because it has many chemical additives that can be harmful to health. So always try to consume fresh champignons.

As for the funghi secci, which is basically the dried mushroom, it is interesting to note the way it has been dehydrated. Do not exceed the temperature of 60 degrees, because the food keeps its active ingredients.

Note the appearance of the mushroom is important before consuming it. This food has an expiration date and when it is bad it releases a dark water and a characteristic odor. It is also important to consume only fungi grown by properly registered farmers.

Compare the mushroom with other foods


Shitake - 43 g

Shimeji - 43 g

Champignon 100 gCalories14 kcal15 kcal13 kcal
153 kcalCarbohydrates2.5 g3.9 g1.8 g
0 g0 gProteins0.99 g0.94 g
1g30.7 gLipids0.17 g0.17 g
0.17g0.4 gFibers1.7 g1.5 g
0.64g0 mgPhosphorus38.27g47.3g
48.6 g237 gVitamin B10 mg0.017mg
0.013mg0 mgVitamin B20.025mg0 mg
0.1 mg0.04 mgVitamin C3mg2.79 mg
2.7 mg0 mgSource: Regina Prado Zanes Furlani (Doctoral thesis Nutritional value of cultivated mushrooms in Brazil? Faculty of Food Engineering? UNICAMP) and Brazilian Table of Food Composition (TACO) - version 2, UNICAM P.Although it contains good amounts of protein, mushrooms can not be considered substitutes for meat. This is because the meat has considerably larger amounts of this nutrient.However, the mushroom has fibers, which help in intestinal transit, vitamin C, which contributes to the best immunity, and beta-glucans that have as main benefit the action anticancer.

In addition, the product of animal origin has more fats, including saturated fat, which favors cardiovascular diseases, whereas the fungus does not have this lipid.


Some people may be allergic to mushrooms, food for this group is not recommended.

Mushroom recipes

Mushrooms can help fight diabetes - Photo: Getty Images

Lasagna with shimeji

Mushrooms can be found in vegetables, grocery stores and the supermarket.

Mushroom pie

Noodles with mushrooms and ricotta

Sources consulted:

Biologist Arailde Fontes, PhD in biology and fungus researcher

Oncologist and Mastologist Jorge Laerte Gennari

Biologist Sascha Habu , Master of Science in Food Science and Professor of nutrition at the Federal University of São Paulo.

Denise Abackerli, mushroom producer of Zucca Mushrooms

Biotechnologist Priscila Credendio, Master in Food Science. nutritionist Cátia Medeiros.

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