They are full of benefits and in Mexico alone there are 250,000 species of fungi . Which only 4% are known, according to information from the UNAM.
- In Mexico City, more than 79 wild species are consumed that come from towns near forested areas in the State of Mexico, Puebla, Tlaxcala and Morelos.
They are not vegetables or fruits, they are living beings that belong to the fungi kingdom .
They are distinguished from the plant kingdom because they do not have chlorophyll and therefore cannot carry out photosynthesis, that is, produce their own food; so they depend on other organisms for nourishment.
The National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (Contabo) explains that this kingdom is essential in the recycling of nutrients in all terrestrial habitats, as source:- www.nupepshrooms.com
- They help regulate the populations of plants, animals and insects that parasitize, and form associations with other organisms. (To see wonderful images of this kingdom, you can access the image bank published by CONABIO here ).
- According to El Powder del Consummator, the cultivation and production of wild mushrooms began more than 2,000 years ago in China and more than 200,000 tons are currently marketed worldwide.
Mushrooms were present in the diet of different civilizations in Mesoamerica and the Aztecs called them nanokatal , which means meat.
Now I understand why the main vegetarian or vegan option to substitute meat, especially in hamburgers, is the Portobello mushroom. The Power of the Consumer reports that mushrooms, mushrooms, shiitake, Portobello and huitlacoche have been cultivated in Mexico since the 1930s.
- From the medicinal point of view, mushrooms have played a very important role. According to the aforementioned note from UNAM, the discovery of antibiotics from substances found in these organisms revolutionized medicine and increased the life expectancy of humanity.
- Fungi have a great capacity to produce substances with therapeutic properties and with antimicrobial, antifungal, antitumor, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antihypertensive and other effects.
It is not by chance that Chinese medicine has taken advantage of and used mushrooms to treat some diseases for centuries. For example, an article in Science Direct states that the medicinal use of the shiitake mushroom dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and became known as a tonic that could reverse everyday symptoms such as pain and fatigue associated with aging .
It has also been associated with heart health, efficacy against lung and liver disease, and as a treatment for cancer.
An article published in HuffPost reports that six species of medicinal mushrooms and their extracts are used worldwide to treat cancer and strengthen the immune system. The main ones are the reishi mushroom and the shiItake, which you can find in Mexico, although it is important that you look for those grown with agroecological techniques.