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When is eating fungus beneficial?

Mushrooms prove to contain beneficial antioxidants in the fight against cell death and cancer.

Mushroom sales got a big boost by the recent reporting of a 1999 study published by researchers out of Penn State University. The group developed a more sensitive testing approach then previously used for fungi and found that white button mushrooms, the most commonly consumed mushroom in the United States, has 12-times more of the antioxidant ergothionene than wheat germ and four-times more than chicken liver - the previous top two sources for ergothionene. Other research groups who have found that mushrooms are a top source of ergothionene have supported their findings.

The antioxidant ergothionene is a unique metabolite produced by fungi that has been shown to have strong antioxidant properties and to provide cellular protection against DNA oxidation, cell death, and to be protective against certain forms of cancer. The Penn State group found that in humans, ergothionene kept cells and their DNA safe from harm.

If you donít particularly enjoy white button mushrooms, ergothionene is found high in most mushroom types, including portabellas and criminis. Eating mushrooms is a healthy, natural way to protect your cells from potential oxidative damage.

Written by Dr. Sternlicht for www.seniorsafety.com 10.25.05