All about mushrooms
About mushrooms: Mushrooms have been eaten and used as medicine for thousands of years. They are highly regarded for their healing and cleansing properties. All varieties of mushrooms are low in calories and fat, and contain modest amounts of fiber plus various nutrients. Although they are considered a vegetable, they are actually a type of fungus. There are more than 10,000 known types that vary in appearance, but generally they have a stem, a fleshy, rounded cap, and gills underneath the cap.
Nutritional value of mushrooms: Mushrooms are a source of B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, folate, B5), vitamin C, choline, phosphorus, selenium, zinc. copper and potassium. They also contain vitamin D if they are grown in sunny conditions or under a UV lamp.
Types of mushrooms: The most common type in North America is the button mushroom. It is the mildest tasting and can be eaten raw or cooked. Other available types of mushrooms include chanterelle, cremini (brown or baby bella), maitake, morel, oyster, porcini, portobello and shiitake.
Note: some people pick wild mushrooms, but it is essential to know which are edible, as some contain deadly toxins.
Health benefits of mushrooms:
- Boost your immune system: Chronic inflammation is associated with heart disease, cancer and other medical conditions. Mushrooms contain antioxidants that help protect your body from stress and prevent cell damage. Mushrooms activate substances in your immune system that can enhance its ability to protect you against infection and disease.
- Lower blood pressure: Mushrooms are rich in potassium which may help lower high blood pressure, and also reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
- Protect brain health: Mushrooms, rich in polyphenols and antioxidants, may help protect against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
- Lift your mood: A study of almost 25,000 people found that those who regularly ate mushrooms had a lower risk for depression; this is thought to be due to the antioxidants mushrooms contain.
- Promote gut health: The microbiome (in your gut) contains trillions of bacteria, and consuming mushrooms, which contain probiotics, may help populate your gastrointestinal (GI) tract with the right balance of bacteria to keep your GI tract healthy and strengthen your immune system.
- May support bone health: Mushrooms with a high vitamin D content can be very helpful in supporting bone health, since vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining healthy bones.
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Disclaimer: The suggestions and recommendations in this article are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.