By Amy A. Miller, APThe golden teacher mushroom is a perennial favorite among educators in Arizona.
But a new study from the Arizona Department of Education (ADOE) has identified its nutritional value as one of the most underappreciated aspects of teaching.
“It’s just so important,” said Julie Folsom, director of the Education and Career Development Program at the Arizona Office of Science Education.
“You don’t just get the benefit of that, you get the potential for growth and creativity and you also get a ton of education.”
Topping the list of reasons the golden teacher mushrooms are so valuable is that they contain vitamin C, which is essential to the brain and nervous system.
“We know that when we have a vitamin C deficiency, we’re more prone to anxiety, depression, irritability and hyperactivity, and we’re also more prone than others to mood disorders,” Folsum said.
And when you add to that the fact that it also contains a lot of the essential fatty acids in the human body, it’s really important to be taking those, especially if you’re a young person.
“A lot of times when we look at a vitamin deficiency, that’s one of those things that’s overlooked because it’s not like we can really diagnose that,” she said.
Folsom says the golden mushroom has a long history in Arizona, dating back to the 1800s when students in the state were given a chance to participate in the experiment of growing them in jars, and the number has only increased since.
It’s not just the students that have been growing it, but the teachers as well, she said, adding that there’s a lot more research going on on its nutritional and nutritional value.
“That’s one thing that I think that’s really encouraging to teachers, that we’ve found that it’s one aspect of teaching that people don’t really get to see or appreciate because it is really one of these things that we know really well,” she added.
“There’s also a little bit of a stigma in terms of it being for the adults, it being something that’s just for kids, but I think it really is really great.”
Folsum says she’s been working with the ADOE to study its nutritional content for years and hopes to release the findings in the near future.
So far, she says, she has found it has a lot in common with the mushrooms of other parts of the world, including Japan and Australia.
“They are actually very similar to what we find in the U.S. because they’re really high in antioxidants and protein,” she explained.
Fillsom said she also hopes to see the state continue to add more educational and enrichment activities to the school year to help kids get an education and make it a more rewarding experience.