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Are Mushrooms Ever Medicinal?

Medicinal Mushrooms
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Walking through the produce aisle at the grocery store, you’re likely going to see some bins and trays of bulbous white mushrooms, or packages of sliced gray mushrooms. Commonly mistaken for vegetables, mushrooms are fairly commonplace in many people’s diets. Generally, these are regarded as harmless, but they are nonetheless eliminated on The Kaufmann Diet. 

Most people do not realize the dangers certain fungi can pose to our health. Fungi, molds and yeasts make poisons known as mycotoxins, which have well-documented, seriously deleterious health effects. Fungi do not always secrete the poisons, but under the right conditions, they do. Even certain edible mushrooms are thought to produce poisons under certain circumstances. 

Knowing about the virulent effects of fungi and their poisons, edible mushrooms that are otherwise considered safe––even healthy––to eat, are excluded from The Kaufmann Diet. With a diet aimed at ridding the body of yeast and fungi, it seems counterintuitive to put it back in purposefully. That goes for foods made with yeast too, like bread, and alcohol. It also goes for foods like nutritional yeast, and myco-protein, such as Quorn. 

But what about medicinal mushrooms and their purported benefits? 

There are numerous medicinal mushrooms that claim to have profound health benefits. These include Reishi, lion’s mane, Cordyceps, chaga, turkey tail, shiitake, Maitake and others. The claims surrounding these mushrooms range from profound immune benefit, to anti-aging, to effects for the skin and the stomach. 

No doubt, there are many foods that are not permitted on The Kaufmann Diet that have health benefits. Take a food like grapes––grapes are high in anti-oxidants like resveratrol. Resveratrol has lots of science backing it’s benefits as an anti-oxidant. Still, grapes are something you should avoid on The Kaufmann Diet, due to the sugar content. Or take pineapple, rich in the compound bromelain, a powerful anti-inflammatory. Still, pineapple is excluded from The Kaufmann Diet, because it is high in sugar. Both of those compounds are available in supplement form, should you choose to take them. 

Similarly, medicinal mushrooms are excluded from The Kaufmann Diet, because they are fungi. 

The Kaufmann Diet is an anti-fungal diet, and the goal is to eliminate any potential exposure to fungi––or the poisons they could potentially make. So even if medicinal mushrooms do have some benefit, they are still eliminated. The fact is that yeasts and fungi pose a greater threat to people’s health than most realize, and eliminating them altogether––even the seemingly healthy varieties––seems to make sense for an anti-fungal program.

That said, there is one caveat: Beta glucan. 

Beta glucan is found abundantly in mushrooms and is a powerful immune stimulant. Beta glucan is something that is recommended on The Kaufmann Diet because it potentiates your immune system to fight fungi. Similar to how resvertarol and bromelain are good supplementally, while the foods they are sourced from are not allowed, the same goes for beta glucan. 

On The Kaufmann Diet, you are certainly allowed to use beta glucan. But the medicinal mushrooms should be excluded from your regimen.

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Should You Use Medicinal Mushrooms?

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