The Incredible Health Benefits of Mushrooms and Why We Need to Add More to Our Diets –
Mushrooms are low in fat and carbohydrates, so they are naturally low in calories as well. They are rich in vitamins, proteins and minerals, making this one of the vegetables we should eat more of.
Mushrooms are also rich in antioxidants and antibiotics. However, not all mushrooms are edible and many are actually dangerous. Below are some picks for the mushrooms that are not only edible, but very healthy and delicious.
Top 5 of Our Favorite Mushrooms –
Did you know – The mushrooms we eat and what’s sold in the stores are edible fungi. They are neither vegetable nor fruit. Mushrooms are saprophytes, plants without chlorophyll and organisms that grow by obtaining nutrients from decaying and dead animal or plant matter.
There are more than a hundred thousand species of fungi that can form into mushrooms. Less than fourteen thousand are scientifically identified and only a hundred species have been studied for their medicinal and health benefits. Very few mushrooms are edible and one should never pick up wild mushrooms unless one has enough training to identify which ones are safe and edible.
A vast majority of mushrooms are inedible and they are actually harmful. Many types of mushrooms are poisonous and can be fatal when consumed. These poisonous or harmful mushrooms look similar to those that are eaten so one can get drawn to them without knowing the difference. Mushrooms extract good and bad nutrients so they absorb heavy metals, pollutants and other toxic materials when they are exposed during the growth phase. As we explore the incredible health benefits of mushrooms, the forewarning should be taken into account in all seriousness. Most of the incredible health benefits are owing to the macronutrients of mushrooms, including vitamins D and C, germanium, selenium, copper, potassium, niacin, phosphorous, iron, dietary fibers soluble beta glucans and insoluble chitin.
• Mushrooms can reduce bad cholesterol. Mushrooms have lean proteins but don’t have much fat or carbohydrates. The dietary fiber helps in the absorption of bad cholesterol. The lean proteins facilitate the burning of bad cholesterol which is eventually got rid of from the body. Since mushrooms can reduce bad cholesterol and in effect maintain a healthy level of good cholesterol, they are good for the heart. They can prevent cardiovascular diseases.
• The iron in mushrooms can help people suffering from anemia. Iron promotes the generation of red blood cells, which is pivotal to curing anemia. Mushrooms are not the only food rich in iron but other sources usually have some nutrients that the body can do without. For instance, red meat is a good source of iron but it is also rich in fat and does not help in reducing bad cholesterol. More than 90% of the iron contained in mushrooms is absorbed by the body, which is better than what can be obtained from most other foods rich in iron.
• Mushrooms can prevent diabetes. They are also essential for those suffering from diabetes. Diabetics are recommended not to consume foods that are rich in sugar or carbohydrates and fats. Mushrooms don’t have any trans-fat, which is the worst type of fat. There is very little carbohydrate content, nothing that would have any impact on blood glucose levels. Mushrooms can actually reduce blood glucose levels. This is achieved without causing any nutritional deficiency as mushrooms are rich in essential vitamins, minerals and proteins. Perhaps the most important fact about mushrooms, in regards to diabetes, is that they contain natural insulin. There are enzymes that can help in the breakdown of sugar. Mushrooms can be eaten with other foods and the starch or sugar obtained from such foods can be broken down for absorption by the cells by the enzymes available in mushrooms.
• Mushrooms are rich in calcium and hence strengthen bones. Mushrooms can help lessen conditions such as osteoporosis. People who have joint pain or any existing skeletal problems will benefit from a diet comprising of mushrooms. They also prevent general bone degradation. Mushrooms facilitate the absorption of nutrients owing to calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D. They can strengthen the immune system with powerful antioxidants. One of them is ergothioneine. The antioxidants in mushrooms fight free radicals in the body, getting rid of the toxins and many unhealthy elements that grow naturally inside the gut. Mushrooms can limit the growth of unhealthy bacteria and other microbes in the intestines. They can reduce blood pressure due to the potassium content. Potassium is a vasodilator. It can reduce tension in the blood vessels and hence lower the blood pressure. Potassium also enhances flow of oxygen to the brain and hence improves neural activity, cognitive function and memory.
• Copper in mushrooms helps in the absorption of many nutrients including iron. Selenium in mushrooms contributes to bone health, hair, teeth & nails. It is also an antioxidant and strengthens immunity. Those trying to lose weight will benefit with a healthy dose of mushrooms every day. The wonder food is not only low in fat and carbohydrates but also facilitates fat burn by improving the metabolic rate. Mushrooms have anti-carcinogenic properties owing to conjugated linoleic acid and beta-glucans. They can even help to prevent some prostate cancers and breast cancers.
A healthy diet that includes mushrooms has been known to improve overall health. It’s easy to add more mushrooms to your diet by making a healthy side dish of Mushrooms and Onions or an easy dinner of Mushrooms and Noodles.