Cancer patients are often advised to include mushrooms in their diet due to the potential health benefits associated with these fungi.
While it’s important to note that diet alone is not a substitute for medical treatment, certain compounds found in mushrooms have shown promising properties that may support cancer patients during their journey.1. Due to its immunomodulatory properties
One of the primary reasons mushrooms are recommended is their immunomodulatory effects. Mushrooms contain beta-glucans, a type of polysaccharide that has been shown to enhance the immune system’s response. For cancer patients undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation, which can weaken the immune system, incorporating mushrooms into their diet may help strengthen their body’s natural defense mechanisms.
2. Mushrooms have anti-inflammatory effect on the body
Chronic inflammation is often associated with cancer and can contribute to the progression of the disease. Certain mushrooms, such as reishi and maitake, possess anti-inflammatory properties. These mushrooms contain bioactive compounds like triterpenoids and polysaccharides that may help reduce inflammation in the body. By addressing inflammation, mushrooms could potentially create an environment less conducive to cancer growth.
3. These are rich in antioxidants
Mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, including selenium, vitamin C, and various polyphenols. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to cancer development. By providing an antioxidant defense, mushrooms may help protect healthy cells from oxidative stress caused by cancer treatments or other factors.
4. They help the body adapt to stressors
Some mushrooms, like reishi and cordyceps, are considered adaptogens. Adaptogens are substances that may help the body adapt to stressors and maintain balance. For cancer patients dealing with the physical and emotional stress of their diagnosis and treatment, incorporating adaptogenic mushrooms into their diet could potentially support overall well-being.
5. They inhibit the progress of cancer
Angiogenesis is the process by which new blood vessels form, and it plays a role in the growth and spread of tumors. Some mushrooms, such as shiitake and maitake, have been studied for their potential to inhibit angiogenesis. While more research is needed, these findings suggest that certain compounds in mushrooms could interfere with the blood supply to tumors, limiting their ability to grow.
6. They are nutrient rich foods
Mushrooms are a low-calorie, nutrient-dense food source. They provide essential nutrients such as vitamins (B vitamins, vitamin D) and minerals (selenium, copper). For cancer patients who may face nutritional challenges due to treatment side effects or loss of appetite, mushrooms can offer a convenient and nutritious addition to their diet.
7. It improves gut microbiota
The gut microbiota plays a crucial role in overall health, including immune function. Certain mushrooms, such as shiitake and maitake, contain fibers and prebiotics that can support a healthy gut microbiota. Maintaining a balanced and diverse gut microbiome is increasingly recognized as important for overall well-being, including for cancer patients.
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