Who wants to talk fungus?
Not yeast or mold, but mushrooms! Shiitake, Reishi, Maitake, Crimini, and Portobello….just to name a few.
Recognized for centuries, mushrooms have many health benefits including the support of liver and kidney function. They contain between 2-14% protein and essential amino acids. Raw mushrooms have more potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium than canned and steaming is the best method of preparation as this preserves the heat-sensitive nutrients such as Vitamin C (Campbell 2008). Mushrooms are excellent sources of antioxidants….and medicinal mushrooms, such as Reishi, Maitake, and Shiitake have been shown to have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-tumor properties. In fact, I have learned that medicinal mushroom blends have helped dogs and cats with cancer and other chronic illnesses by supporting the immune system. These fungal phenomena contain many different vitamins, minerals, and sterols, are easily administered, and have little to no side effects. (Take note that a small number of dogs did develop a rash or diarrhea). Incorporating mushrooms into your pet’s diet is effortless as well. I look for organic, preferably dried or fresh. Dried have a longer shelf life, but when making my pets’ meals, I will add a handful or two of fresh, diced mushrooms to other veggies and a protein source.
A holistic veterinarian by the name of Ihor Basko (Dr. B Holistic Vet) has a few recipes on his website and an easy idea for a medicinal mushroom extract. Simply soak dried mushrooms (1/3 cup) in fresh cool water (1 cup) for 24 hours, drain and add “extract” to food.
There are a number of different ways to add the benefits of mushroom to your pet’s meals and snacks. So eat your fungus!
(As a side note and probably something I really don’t have to mention, but will anyway…..never, EVER let your pup consume any mushrooms that grow wild. There are too many poisonous types that should not be consumed. Buy your mushrooms in your local grocer or health food store).