Isn’t nature amazing? The more I know about nature, the more I am confident that we don’t need man made anything.
If you’ve read my post on vitamin D, you know that this vitamin is exploding in the science world. It is now recommended that every person know what their vitamin D blood level is, and supplement to maintain blood levels of 35-70 ng/dl. It has been shown that a large percentage (some studies say 50%) of the population is deficient in vitamin D and that it can lead to increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, and cancer. Supplementation is widely recommended to correct this because human aren’t getting the healthy recommended sunlight exposure they should. To make it worse, there are not many plant-based vitamin D food sources.
There is now evidence that you can turn your store bought mushrooms into vitamin D factories just by exposing them to sunlight! It turns out that ordinary store-bought mushrooms, which contain some vitamin D, can absorb and hold enormous amounts of vitamin D2 or ergocalciferol and provide that vitamin to you when you eat them. Mushrooms are rich in the vitamin D precursor ergosterol, which ultraviolet B, or sunlight, converts to ergocalciferols, also called provitamin D2. This is the substance that vitamin D2 supplements are made from and it is this ergocalciferol that converts to Vitamin D in your body and raises your blood level.
Mammal skins, which is what vitamin D3 supplements are made from, contains cholecalciferol. Cholecalciferol is what vitamin D3 supplements are made from. (Other animal food sources of vitamin D are fish and eggs.)
ergocalciferol = plant-based vitamin D or D2 supplements
cholecalciferol = animal based vitamin D or D3 supplements
I have to admit, I was among those who thought that the vitamin D3 supplements were better because they were better utilized in the body, but it turns out I was wrong. While cholecalciferol remains in the system longer than ergocalciferol, they both do an equal job of raising the vitamin D blood levels. And if you’re taking supplements, it won’t matter if one remains in your body for weeks or days because you will be getting a fresh supply daily through supplementation.
So back to the mushrooms….
New evidence shows that your can expose your mushrooms to sunlight and they actually absorb vitamin D for your body to use. Mushrooms are my favorite cancer fighting foods anyway because they pump up immunity with their beta glucans. (I take dried mushroom capsules daily) And now it turns out they help with cancer fighting vitamin D too!
Sunlight is the easy way to do it, but to increase the vitamin D content ten-fold, expose the mushrooms to UVB light via light lamps.
Since most of us don’t have UVB lights in our spare closets, here’s how to do it the easy way:
- Obtain fresh Organic shiitake, maitake, button, oyster, shimeji or other mushrooms.
- On a sunny day in June, July or August, slice the fresh mushrooms. Place them evenly on a tray exposed directly to the sun from 10 am to 4 pm. (slice thin to get as mush surface area as possible)
- Before nightfall, cover the mushrooms with a layer of cardboard to block moisture from dewfall.
- The next clear day repeat exposure to the sun from 10 am to 4 pm.
- Remove the mushrooms and use in cooking or finish drying if desired (if necessary in a food dehydrator until they are crispy).
- When thoroughly dry, store in a glass jar or sealed container. Adding a tablespoon of uncooked rice as a moisture absorber will help keep the mushrooms dry. The mushrooms should be good for a year or more, depending upon conditions.
- Take 10 grams daily per person, about a small handful. Rehydrate in water for one hour. The mushrooms will swell. Then cook as desired.
More sun exposure is not better, though as you can over do the sunlight, so 2 days is the perfect amount of time.
The good news is the vitamin D doesn’t leak out of the mushrooms and will retain their vitamin D level up to 1 year! If you don’t want to take supplements, and you would like to get your vitamin D just from mushrooms, you would need to eat them every day.
I plan on using sun exposure for my mushrooms to enhance my diet, but I will probably still take the vitamin D supplements to maintain my blood level. I have been thinking about getting a dehydrator for a while now…maybe this is a sign for me to go get one already! I certainly could eat mushrooms every day!
Awe provided by Mother Nature.