Mushrooms may help prevent breast cancer

Mushrooms are known for their nutritional value and culinary versatility. Now, there’s a new reason to buy these fabulous fungi: They may help prevent breast cancer. 

Shiuan Chen, PhD, a professor of tumor cell biology at the City of Hope in Duarte, Calif., was among the first scientists to study how white button mushrooms offer protective benefits

“Diet is a key consideration for prevention because it is something that everyone can control,” he says. “Our research shows that women may benefit from a balanced diet that includes about 3.5 ounces of mushrooms per day.” 

Initial lab studies found that ingredients in  mushrooms suppress the effects of aromatase, a natural enzyme that helps synthesize the hormone estrogen. This is a critical finding for women’s health, as 75% of postmenopausal women with breast cancer have tumors that rely on estrogen to grow. 

City of Hope clinical trials are now under way to further test the benefits of white button mushrooms. As for other mushrooms, you can count on them to deliver vitamins D and B, as well as powerful antioxidants like selenium. 

Mushrooms are also low in sodium and calories, fat- and cholesterol-free, and can be an effective substitute for meat. 

In fact, studies have demonstrated that substituting 4 ounces of mushrooms for 4 ounces of meat once a week, for one year, could save you more than 18,000 calories and nearly 3,000 grams of fat. In the average woman, this translates to a loss of more than 5 pounds.

3 Delicious Organic Recipes 

  1. Braised Mushrooms with Herbs
  2. Sautéed Mushroom Salad
  3. Stuffed Mushrooms 

Photo courtesy of the Mushroom Council