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All mushrooms are edible – once

June 24, 2009

We’ve had almost a month where it has rained at least part of each day. This has been wonderful for my water bill as I have not had to water the garden once. One additional outcome is a bloom of mushrooms in the front yard.  Not sure what kind of mushrooms these are, or whether or not they are poisonous.

Most mushrooms that are sold in super markets have been commercially grown on mushroom farms. The most popular of these, Agaricus bisporus, is generally considered safe for most people to eat because it is grown in controlled, sterilized environments, though some individuals do not tolerate it well. Several varieties of A. bisporus are grown commercially, including whites, crimini, and portobello. Other cultivated species now available at many grocers include shiitake, maitake or hen-of-the-woods, oyster, and enoki.

There are a number of species of mushroom that are poisonous, and although some resemble certain edible species, eating them could be fatal. Eating mushrooms gathered in the wild is risky and should not be undertaken by individuals not knowledgeable in mushroom identification, unless the individuals limit themselves to a relatively small number of good edible species that are visually distinctive. Ref 1.

In 2009, a case-control study of the eating habits of 2,018 woman, revealed that women who consumed mushrooms had an approximately 50% lower incidence of breast cancer. Women who consumed mushrooms and green tea had a 90% lower incidence of breast cancer. Ref 2. Human clinical studies are currently being conducted in the United States to investigate if the common table mushroom can limit breast cancer. Ref 3.  The reason scientists believe the table mushroom may inhibit breast cancer is due to the fact it possess anti-aromatase activity (and therefore possible anti-estrogen activity in the human body) as well as immune system enhancing properties.

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