Eating wild mushrooms and fungi? Not anymore for me…

Wild Mushrooms
Photo image: Healthhub.sg

I love to eat mushrooms, any types! Even more since they are so rich in various nutrients – minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, a number of B vitamins, vitamin D, fiber, protein, and polysaccharides! For cooking, they are also a natural flavour enhancers, almost like natural MSG 🙂

According to International Journal of Cancer[1], consuming mushroom once or twice a week can lower the risk of prostate cancer by 8%, and consuming it three or more times a week can lower the risk of prostate cancer by 17%.

In another study conducted by National University of Singapore[2], consuming two portions of mushrooms per week can reduce mild cognitive impairment by 57%!

However, there is also another use for mushrooms… for mycoremediation [3]…!

Mushrooms are not vegetables. They belong to the category of fungi family. They are “absorptive” in nature. Like a “sponge”, they absorb heavy metals, pesticides and insecticides from the environment, in land and in waters. Due to this natural ability, they are used for mycoremediation to eradiate heavy metals, and to decontaminate the environment.

In other words, mushrooms can be heavily contaminated with heavy metal. Consuming mushrooms or fungi grown in the wild no longer seem as good as what I used to think! I used to purchase wild black fungus(野生木耳) as seen in the following picture, or wild cordyceps, thinking they are better than farmed or from cultivation. However, I was wrong.

After knowing about mycoremediation, consuming wild fungi (mushrooms, cordyceps, black fungus, etc) means I am also consuming in high heavy metals, pesticides and insecticides! 🙁 Now I will choose cultivated or farmed fungi instead!

Heavy metals deposition in the environment is a threat to human health. Arsenic, copper, lead, chromium, mercury, and cadmium are some common metals that enter the soil and water by various human (industries, vehicle exhausts) and natural activities. Electronic wastes, preservatives, fungicides, insecticides are other sources of heavy metals. After leaching into the environment, they enter our human body via contaminated food and water. At low concentration, they play an essential role in our metabolic and physiological activities; above a threshold limit, they are carcinogens and can impair our kidney, liver, heart, spleen and reproductive functions.


References

[1] Wiley. (2019, September 5). ScienceDaily. Eating mushrooms may help lower prostate cancer risk.  Retrieved October 23, 2020 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190905080106.htm

[2] 2019, March 12. NUSNews. Mushrooms may reduce risk of cognitive decline. Retrieved October 24, 2020 from
https://news.nus.edu.sg/research/mushrooms-reduce-cognitive-decline#:~:text=A%20team%20from%20the%20Department,mild%20cognitive%20impairment%20(MCI).

[3] Nahid Akhtar, M. Amin-ulMannan. (2020, April 9). Biotechnology Reports. Mycoremediation: Expunging environmental pollutants. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.btre.2020.e00452

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