U of A students stunned by mushrooms' disease-fighting capabilities

BY TAYLOR BENDIG, EDMONTON JOURNAL

Kaila Hauck was never a fan of fungi. So when she and three other University of Alberta students chose mushrooms for a class assignment, it was more out of curiosity than affection.

"It was really just an interesting topic," said Hauck, a fifth-year student in the school's nutrition and food program. "I'd never personally heard of any health benefits about mushrooms."

That would soon change. After reviewing about 60 scientific papers on the compounds found in edible fungi, her team found "so many health benefits, it was kind of astonishing."

Hauck said researchers have found things in mushrooms that can prevent heart disease, reduce allergic reactions and fight viruses. For their research, her team focused on two kinds of compounds: antioxidants and cancer-fighting agents.

The potential for mushrooms to treat and prevent cancer is remarkable, Hauck said. Her research found numerous clinical trials aimed at fighting the disease using active fungi compounds, including selenium, which kills off tumour cells, and aromatase inhibitors, which stifle the excess estrogen production that can cause breast cancer.

To read the full story visit the Edmonton Journal website.

posted by Brittany

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