Mushrooms are more than a delicious addition to your meal, they are full of health benefits too. There are over 140 thousand types of mushroom-forming fungi. Whether it is a small button mushroom or a large brown one, it is a wonderful superfood to be added to make meal extra tasty.
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There are close to 100 types being studied for their health benefits and a small number found to be very beneficial for boosting your immune system. Now, let’s learn their 8 health benefits.
8 Health Benefits of Mushrooms
1. Lowers Cancer Risk
The abundant vitamin D in them has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
A white button mushroom contains phytochemicals that inhibit breast cancer. One white button mushroom a day lowered women’s risk of cancer by half, compared to their counterparts who didn’t eat any.
2. Heart Healthy
Adding them to your diet can help to lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases because they are high in potassium, fiber and low in sodium.
3. Full of Vitamin D
The mushroom extract can provide as much vitamin D as supplements.
4. Good for Digestion
They have good dietary fiber and fungal enzymes to help with digestion.
5. Strengthens the Immune System
It was found that one or two servings of the dried shiitake mushroom strengthened the immune system.
6. Useful Antibacterial Properties
Antibiotics like penicillin, tetracycline, and streptomycin all derived from the extracts of fungi.
7. Helps with Weight Loss
Try substituting the white button mushroom for red meat. Studies showed this may support a healthy weight. They contain two types of dietary fiber, chitin and beta-glucans, which help make you feel fuller and eat less.
8. Full of Nutrients
- excellent source of antioxidants
- B vitamins (especially niacin), and vitamin D2
- even have protein
- high in selenium
- good source of vegan iron
- One cup of chopped raw white mushrooms contains 15 calories, 0 grams of fat, 2.2 grams of protein, 2.3 grams of carbohydrates.
“Mushrooms are miniature pharmaceutical factories, and of the thousands of mushroom species in nature, our ancestors and modern scientists have identified several dozen that have a unique combination of talents that improve our health,” says leading mushroom research, Paul Stamets, who has written six books about mushrooms.
- Ancient Romans considered the mushroom “food for the gods.”
- The folklore in China, Russia and Mexico believed that mushrooms give superhuman strength.
- Egyptians thought the mushroom granted immortality.
- China is the world’s largest commercial producer of the mushroom.
- Americans consume about 900 million pounds of them every year.
- 95% of them eaten are the common button mushroom and its relatives, the Crimini and the Portabello mushroom.
Most Common Types of Edible Mushrooms
Chanterelles, Cremini, Morels, Portobello, Enoki, Shiitake, Oyster, Button, Porcini and Hen of the woods.
How to Select, Store and Use Mushrooms
- Select ones that are plump, firm and clean — not ones that have wet slimy spots or are wrinkled.
- Buy organically grown, because they easily absorb harmful contaminants from soil, air and water.
- Don’t pick them in the wild unless you 100% know what you are picking.
- Store them in a paper bag in the fridge. When they begin to expire, they develop a slimy layer on the surface.
Have your own Organic Mushroom Farm
Learn how to grow your own right out of the box in ten days! Just add water twice a day. The neat thing is they grow on recycled coffee grounds. Check out Back to the Roots for more details.
If you don’t like to eat them whole, you can find them in supplement form either as an extract or whole food supplements.
Few Recipes to Get The Mushrooms Health Benefits Into Your Meals
Miso Soup With Spinach & Mushrooms – We have come to think of Japanese food as being tempura, teriyaki, and sushi but it is miso soup that the Japanese will not want to live without. Originally, miso soup was served as a breakfast food. The Japanese insist on this healthy, tasty food.
Shitaki Mushroom Salad with Walnuts – This shiitake mushroom salad is extra delicious with the addition of walnuts. Yum! All the ingredients in this salad are healthy and so it is very good for you. A salad a day is always a good idea as it is a great way to get more vegetables into our diet.
Delicious Wild Rice Risotto with Corn and Mushrooms – This is a delicious wild rice risotto which is very simple to make. The addition of mushrooms and corn makes it extra yummy. The first thing to do before creating the recipe below is to learn how to cook it to perfection by following the recipe: How to Cook Wild Rice.
Learn more about some of the healthiest vegetarian foods you will always want to have in your pantry or growing on your deck.
READ: Superfoods – Over 100 of the Healthiest Foods You Should Have in Your Diet and learn more about the variety of Superfoods we think you should have in your diet.