Mushrooms belong to the fungus family, but they are categorized as vegetables because they are edible in nature. They taste great and have numerous health benefits.
Mushrooms are packed with lots of essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients – they can significantly boost your wellness while adding flavor to various recipes.
Whether folded into an omelet, in a spinach salad, or sauteed in a stir-fry, mushrooms are quite flavorful and nutrient-packed. If you have been ignoring this nutritious food up until now, these 6 amazing health benefits of mushrooms will change your mind.
Boost Immune System
One of the well-known superpowers of mushrooms is to help regulate the immune system. They contain beta-glucans, powerful polysaccharides that help to not only fight inflammation but also balance the immune system.
Also, mushrooms help activate macrophages in the immune system, boosting its ability to fight foreign bodies and making the body less susceptible to severe diseases. Consuming multiple kinds of mushrooms is more effective and beneficial than using just one.
Mushrooms are full of antioxidants that mitigate the effect of free radicals. Raw or cooked mushrooms contain an antioxidant called selenium (not found in most vegetables or fruits), which can prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, cognitive decline as well as thyroid disease.
Mushrooms also have glutathione and ergothioneine, two antioxidants important for taming anti-aging effects by preventing oxidative stress. Also, a study reported in Science Daily confirms that consuming plenty of these two antioxidants lowers the chances of neurodegenerative diseases.
Help with Weight Loss
The research found that combining mushrooms with exercises and other lifestyle changes can significantly impact weight loss. For instance, a group of adults was asked to substitute 20% of their beef consumption with mushrooms. There was an improvement in their body mass index (BMI) and belly circumference within a few weeks.
If weight loss is your goal, you need to add mushrooms into your daily balanced diet. They will make you feel fuller for longer, helping you control your eating habits and maintain healthy body weight.
Looking for a natural source of healthy fibers and potassium for your heart? Include some mushrooms in your diet. Nutrients in these excellent fungus vegetables improve the health of the heart by reducing blood pressure.
Potassium is responsible for electrolyte balance (lowers the negative side effects of sodium) in the body as well as lessens the tension in blood vessels, potentially assisting in lowering blood pressure.
Can Help Prevent Cancer
The National Cancer Institute claims that the antioxidants contained in mushrooms might prevent lung, breast, prostate, and other types of cancer. Choline, an antioxidant present in mushrooms, can lower the risk of some kinds of cancer by regulating the growth cycle of cells.
According to a 2012 study, mushrooms can help complement chemotherapy and radiation therapy by warding off the side effects of cancer like nausea, anemia, and bone marrow suppression.
It is important to differentiate between eating mushrooms as part of your meals and using supplements or extracts for medical purposes during cancer care. Consult your oncologist for more info on using medical mushrooms.
Great Source of Vitamin D
A 2018 study found that mushrooms could provide about 50-100% of daily vitamin D requirements. Approximately 40% of adults in the United States are vitamin D deficient, which can affect bone health, body weight and increase the risk of different types of cancer.
Sunlight is the primary source of vitamin D, so eating mushrooms can boost its supply during the winter and for people who do not get their 10-15 minutes in the sun daily.
Types of Mushrooms
Mushrooms can be harvested from the wild or farm-grown. There are more than 2,000 species of edible and medicinal mushrooms, and most are eaten raw while others taste delicious when cooked.
Suppose you purchase yours at the farmers’ market or grocery. In that case, you will most probably come across popular mushroom varieties such as white or button, portobello, cremini, shiitake, oyster, enoki, maitake, or hen of the woods, and king oyster, or royal trumpet.
Grow Mushrooms at Home!
Did you know that mushroom growing at home is actually very easy and can be done in a small space? If you’d like to learn how to grow amazing-tasting, nutrient-packed, organic mushrooms free of pesticides, check out Mushroom Growing 4You – a step-by-step guide including videos that will make mushroom growing super easy and super fun: