9 Amazing Health Benefits of Mushrooms
Mushrooms are fungi that grows and lives in the soil. Although mushrooms are often classified as a vegetable or an herb, they are actually fungi. There are over 2,000 types of edible mushrooms that come in different shapes, sizes, and colors.
Mushrooms are a delicious additive to many dishes and provide numerous health and nutritional benefits. They have been used as medicine for thousands of years in some countries, particularly in China and Japan.
Countless scientific studies have revealed that mushrooms can be useful in preventing and treating serious health conditions and improving overall health. In fact, research has identified more than 200 conditions that may benefit from mushroom consumption.
Nutritional value of mushrooms
Mushrooms are packed with many essential vitamins and minerals that that will keep you healthy. They are an excellent source of vitamins like B vitamins and vitamin D. Mushrooms are also great sources of protein, fiber, calcium, and selenium, which helps support the immune system and prevent damage to cells. Moreover, mushroom also contain ergothioneine, a naturally occurring antioxidant that provide protection from free radicals as well as boosting the immune system.
Health benefits of mushrooms
1. Prevent cancer
Mushrooms are very effective in preventing breast and prostate cancer due to the presence of beta-glucans and conjugated linoleic acid, which both have anti-carcinogenic effects.
The beta-glucans inhibit the growth of cancerous cells in cases of prostate cancer, and linoleic acid is particularly helpful in suppressing the harmful effects of excess estrogen. This increase in estrogen is one of the prime causes of breast cancer in women after menopause.
2. Reduce cholesterol
The high lean protein content in mushrooms helps burn cholesterol when they are digested. Also, mushroom contains fiber and certain enzymes which can help lower cholesterol levels. This in turn helps to prevent various cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.
3. Control blood sugar
Mushrooms are a low glycemic food as they contain very low levels of carbohydrates and high protein content. Eating foods with a low GI may help to control blood sugar levels and lower the likelihood of getting type 2 diabetes. Moreover, they contain certain compounds which help proper functioning of the liver, pancreas and other endocrine glands, thereby promoting the formation of insulin throughout the body.
4. Boost immune system
Mushrooms contain natural antibiotics like polysaccharides and beta-glucans that can stimulate and regulate the body’s immune system. Additionally, some studies have shown that a powerful antioxidant called ergothioneine found in mushrooms can boost the immune system and provide protection from free radicals.
5. Support bone health
Mushroom contains calcium which is very vital for bone health and when supplied in sufficient amounts, it helps reduce the risk of bone fracture. This fungus also contains an excellent source of vitamin D, which helps calcium absorption. This drastically reduces the chances of developing conditions like osteoporosis.
6. Treat anemia
Mushrooms are a good source of iron, and over 90% of the nutritive iron value can be absorbed by the body, which promotes the formation of red blood cells, thereby helping to treat anemia caused by iron deficiency.
7. Weight loss
Mushroom is one of the best foods to eat if you’re looking to lose weight. A new study found that swapping meat for mushrooms can make you feel fuller for longer.
In the study, researchers gave people two servings of mushrooms or meat for 10 days. They were given either sliced mushrooms or 93 percent lean, 7 percent fat ground beef. The results showed that mushroom-eaters reported feeling significantly less hungry and more full after eating a vegetable-based breakfast compared to the carnivores.
8. Maintain healthy hair
Mushroom is rich in protein, copper, and selenium, which are necessary for healthy hair. Aside from promoting hair growth, selenium also prevents dandruff as it has the ability to kill fungus on your scalp. Combining selenium with zinc can also prevent hair loss.
People suffering from anemia most likely experience hair loss. Mushrooms are also rich in iron that helps fight hair loss. Likewise, iron is also important for the production of red blood cells that also makes your hair strong.
9. Good for the skin
The selenium in mushroom may help to maintain healthy skin. This mineral improve the skin texture and elasticity, which help maintain a young, soft and radiant skin.
How to select and store mushrooms
When choosing mushrooms, look for ones that are firm to the touch, smooth texture, and are mold-free. Avoid any wet or slimy spots and those with wrinkles.
Store mushrooms in the refrigerator in a paper bag or wrap them with a damp cloth. This allows them to breathe so they stay firm longer. Do not store them in a plastic bag as this produces condensation and causes mushrooms to deteriorate quickly. Brush the dirt off and rinse them lightly when you’re ready to use them.