In Italy in 2007, a 14-year-old, blind dog uncovered a rare white mushroom. This particular mushroom, known as a white truffle, weighed just 3.3 pounds and was sold to a buyer in Macau for $330,000. An amazing find.
For centuries, the truffle pig was the preferred hunter to seek out this elusive delicacy, which grows at the base of trees as deep as three feet underground. But these days, most truffle hunters use dogs to sniff out these gems. Unlike pigs, the dogs don't try and eat the truffles. A good truffle-snuffling dog will cost you upward of $10,000.
Truffles are a hardy, healthy alternative to meat. And you too can learn to hunt them out in a section of woods near you... without having to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a dog.
There's been a rise in the popularity of truffles among regular folks in recent years, thanks in part to our increasing knowledge of their health benefits. So it's no wonder that the truffle market is projected to grow to over $6 billion in the next decade.
Despite their popularity, if you can't find them on your own, truffles are expensive. But you can reap the same benefits for much less money with a cousin of truffles – mushrooms.
Both truffles and mushrooms are nutrient dense, containing carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and fatty acids. There's also vitamin C, phosphorous, sodium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, plus all nine essential amino acids...
Mushrooms are high in antioxidants. They're also antibacterial, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory. That means eating truffles or mushrooms will offer these seven amazing health boosting effects:
1. Reduces oxidative stress which causes premature aging. Oxidative stress occurs when your body produces too many free radicals. Antioxidants, however, eliminate excess free radicals and protect you from premature aging. Visually, oxidative stress looks like wrinkles, thinning skin, and collagen loss (skin elasticity).
2. Lowers blood sugar, cholesterol, and risk of cardiovascular disease. In a 2007 study, oyster mushrooms reduced blood sugar levels and cholesterol in diabetic participants. And a 2020 study determined the anticlotting factors in mushrooms help keep the blood vessels and heart unobstructed.
3. Protects against liver damage. A 2019 study found mushrooms to improve outcomes for patients with fatty liver disease. The study's volunteers (with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) who ate mushrooms ingested bioactive molecules from the mushrooms. Those molecules reduced the inflammation in their livers, improved their gut microbiota (thereby reinforcing the intestinal barrier), decreased their low-density lipoprotein ("LDL") cholesterol, and increased their high-density lipoprotein ("HDL") cholesterol.
4. Reduces inflammation and aids in weight loss. Inflammation is considered the underlying cause of many problems – from obesity to heart disease to cardiovascular problems. And studies show that the chemical extracts of mushrooms significantly decrease the cellular inflammation creating activity of compounds like nitric oxide, cytokines, and prostaglandins.
Reishi mushrooms have been studied for their effectiveness in aiding weight loss. A 2015 study out of the Catholic University of Louvain, in Belgium, found modulating the gut microbiome with reishi mushrooms reduced obesity in mice.
5. Fights bacterial infections and boosts immune system. Thanks to anti-microbial properties, mushrooms fight harmful bacteria and support the immune system. Mushroom polysaccharides both stimulate and suppress antibody production (the immune system's bacteria and virus killer).
6. Cancer prevention. Reishi mushrooms have demonstrated anti-tumor effects, which is great news for cancer treatment and prevention. A 2013 study found reishi mushrooms suppressed the growth and metastatic potential of breast cancer cells. Reishi mushrooms offer two mechanisms for inhibiting cancer growth.
First, polysaccharides (sugar molecules) stimulate the immune system. Then, triterpenes (naturally occurring plant chemicals that produce aroma and taste) unleash a toxic effect on the cancer cells. These two mechanisms effectively prevent cancer cells from reproducing. So, if you're living with cancer, you may want to start eating reishi mushrooms.
7. Improves mood. Psychedelic mushrooms are considered a promising treatment for treatment-resistant depression. A study published this month in the Nature Medicine journal found participants with major depression experienced a rapid improvement in depressive symptoms after receiving oral psilocybin – the active ingredient in mushrooms.
Mushrooms also provide a healthy (and delicious) alternative to meat… providing lots of vitamin D (which improves calcium absorption, immune function, bone strength, muscle health, and heart health), potassium (which helps lower blood pressure), and selenium (which protects you from premature aging).
An easy way to do that is to do what I do... Make a delicious, juicy burger by adding a cup of chopped mushrooms into your meat mixture (one cup of mushrooms to one pound of beef). Then throw that sucker on the grill and enjoy it a few minutes later with a delicious red from Eifrig Cellars.
What We're Reading...
- History of the truffle.
- Something different: Twice accused of murder, this writer later foresaw the sinking of the Titanic.
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
April 27, 2022