What are the Benefits of Eating Mushrooms?
Mushrooms come in all different shapes and sizes. The ones that aren’t toxic, taste yummy, and have amazing health benefits! Mushrooms have the unique ability to add flavors in all cultures’ cuisines.
Mushrooms are non-fat, low sodium, low calorie and cholesterol-free. The best thing is, you can find a variety of them at your local grocery store including; Shiitake, Portobello, Button, Enoki, and Crimini.
Mushrooms are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These earthy morsels are packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants can protect you from damaging free radicals which can cause heart disease and cancers.
Antioxidants can boost your immune system and contain anti-aging properties. Mushrooms have an antioxidant called selenium. In fact, mushrooms are the best source of selenium in the produce aisle! They also contain vitamin c and choline (which is believed to help prevent various cancers).
Benefits of Beta-Glucan
Mushrooms contain a soluble dietary fiber called beta-glucan which plays a role in regulating blood sugar and decreases the risks of type II diabetes.
Oyster and Shiitake mushrooms have the highest level of beta-glucan. Beta-glucan can also improve your cholesterol and overall heart health.
Mushrooms are also packed with B-vitamins including riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. These vitamins help get energy from food and form red blood cells.
Copper, Potassium and Calcium in Mushrooms
A mineral that mushrooms have packed in them is copper. Copper helps to make red blood cells supply oxygen to the body. 1 cup of cooked mushrooms is equal to 1/3 of an individual’s recommended daily fiber.
Another mineral that mushrooms have is potassium. Potassium is great for heart, muscle, and nerve function. 2/3 cup of cooked mushrooms have the same amount of potassium as a medium-sized banana. Potassium also helps to regulate blood pressure and lower the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.
Mushrooms also contain a high level of calcium which is crucial to the development of healthy bones. Adding this tasty veggie to your diet will lower your chances of developing bone-related conditions such as joint pain or osteoporosis.
Vegetarian and Vegan
Mushrooms are very beneficial to everyone including vegetarians, vegans and pregnant women! Mushrooms contain vitamin D and are one of the only sources for vegetarians and vegans alike.
Mushrooms can also serve as a meat substitute. While they are missing the proteins, they are still packed with enough nutrients, they also taste good and are filling!
Mushrooms contain folic acid which is great for pregnant women. Usually, it is taken as a pill but consuming mushrooms is a great way to add it right into your diet. Folic acid helps the body produce and maintain new cells, and also helps prevent changes to DNA that may lead to cancer.
Best Mushrooms for Vegans and Vegetarians to Eat
By adding these tasty fungi to your daily diet will have many health benefits as listed above. It is best (and more delicious) to consume cooked mushrooms as it will bring out the nutritional properties. Listed below are the healthiest mushrooms to eat.
- Shiitake mushrooms are packed with amino acids that help with energy, mental focus, and immunity, B and D vitamins which are crucial to our immune system, bone growth, and cell growth. Shiitake mushrooms are particularly good for lowering cholesterol.
- Oyster mushrooms are low in calories and rich in fiber protein and selenium (antioxidants). These mushrooms possess antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. These mushrooms are great for reducing blood sugar. However, the most notable health benefit is the ability to fight cancer cells.
- Morels are arguably the most sought after mushroom. These mushrooms cannot be bought in a store and are farmed. Morels are a great source of protein, copper, potassium, and zinc. They also rank among the highest sources of vitamin D and fiber among edible mushrooms. Morels also have cancer preventative care and have been used in traditional medicine for centuries.
- Porcini mushrooms are also a low calorie, fiber-rich treat! Packed with vitamins and minerals essential for healthy living. They contain iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. Porcini mushrooms also have properties that reduce the likelihood of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
- White Button mushrooms are the most common type of mushroom consumed in the U.S. They are a good source of potassium, vitamin B, calcium, and iron. They also contain selenium, a trace mineral that’s important for cognitive function and a healthy immune system. They increase the production of antiviral proteins that are released by cells while seeking to protect and repair tissue. Not to mention, White Button mushrooms also aide in the prevention of cancer!
If possible, fresh mushrooms are the way to go. Canned mushrooms have a much higher calorie, sugar and sodium level. They have a lower level of protein as well. As mentioned, mushrooms are used in almost any cultural cuisine including American, Chinese, Indian and European.
Mushrooms are also cultivated all around the world! Mushrooms are the perfect little treat to add that extra boost of nutrients into any meal including salads, pastas, or with your favorite source of protein. They can also be added to many sauces and sautés!
Goldman, Rena. “Are Mushrooms Good for You?” Health Line, 2017, www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/are-mushrooms-good-for-you.
Lecklitner, Ian, and MEL Magazine. “Healthiest Mushrooms: Why Mushrooms Are Healthy and What to Buy.” MEL Magazine, 11 May 2020, melmagazine.com/en-us/story/ranking-types-of-mushrooms-by-how-healthy-they-are.
Ware, Megan. “Mushrooms: Nutritional Value and Health Benefits.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 2019, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/278858#benefits.