Mushroom is a kind of fungus that is widely common and consumed in various parts of the world, including India. They are of different shapes, sizes, varieties, colors, and textures and are popular for their delicious, delicate taste. Along with a good taste and texture, mushrooms also possess a good number of essential medicinal benefits that are not found altogether in many fruits and vegetables we regularly consume in our diets. Mushrooms are added to many recipes that not only help to provide a good taste to those dishes but also add some vital vitamins and minerals into your diet.
All You Need to Know About Mushrooms:
Mushrooms are a type of fungi that are available in a variety of forms. White mushrooms, button mushrooms, and shiitake mushrooms are the most consumed mushrooms. The other kinds of mushrooms include the following:
There are some other types of wild mushrooms too, but they are not consumed because they are mostly poisonous. While buying mushrooms it should be positively assured that those which are meant to be consumed should be felt firm, they are not too much moisture, and they should be certainly mold-free.
Nutrient Contents in Mushrooms:
One cup or approximately 96 grams of fresh button mushrooms consists of the following nutrients (5):
- Calories: 15 to 21
- Carbohydrates: 2.3 to 3 grams
- Fiber: 0.7 to1 gram
- Protein: 2.2 to 3 grams
- Fat: 0 to 0.2 grams
- Folate: 4% of the DV
- Vitamin D: 33% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Selenium: 16% of the DV
- Sugar: 1.4 grams
- Phosphorus: 12% of the DV
Besides, there are certain types of mushrooms, particularly maitake mushrooms that are beneficial for your health in the following ways:
- Contain very low or negligible amounts of fat
- Low levels of sodium content
- Low in net calorie
- Free from cholesterol
It is very much evident from the nutritional profile of mushrooms, that they are extremely low in calorie content, which is very much beneficial for your health. Apart from these, there are some other nutritional components in mushrooms too, those are listed below:
Antioxidants are the most essential components present in mushrooms that are very much beneficial to prevent damage of body cells and tissues due to the oxidative function caused by the diseases causing free radicals. This further helps to prevent the risk of occurrences of harmful diseases like chronic inflammatory disorders, heart, and cardio-vascular-related diseases, and also prevents cancer. Moreover, the powerful antioxidant extracts in mushrooms like selenium protect your body cells from signs of early aging and help to boost up and strengthen your immune system.
A form of soluble dietary fiber called ‘Beta Glucan’ is abundantly found in mushrooms, particularly in shiitake mushrooms. Experts suggest that these types of soluble fibers are exceptionally potential to control your cholesterol levels and will also help to keep your heart healthy by lowering the risks of developing harmful heart diseases. Mushrooms are also beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes because beta-glucan helps to control spikes in your blood sugar levels.
Vitamin B Complex
The rich B complex vitamins present in mushrooms in the form of riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid are very much crucial for keeping your heart healthy and improving the overall functioning of the cardiovascular and circulation system. Riboflavin in mushrooms keeps your red blood cells healthy, while niacin helps improve the functioning of the digestive system and is also beneficial for your skin. On the other hand, pantothenic acid helps to boost up the nervous system and regulates the proper secretion of necessary hormones.
Copper is one of the most essential minerals our body needs for proper functioning. Having enough mushrooms in your diet ensures the correct proportion of mushroom contents in your body. Apart from iron, vital minerals like copper are beneficial to manufacture red blood cells in your body in optimum proportions, which are necessary for enough oxygen content in all the body cells and therefore throughout the body. Apart from these, copper also helps to keep your bones and nerves healthy. It has been scientifically found that around 1-cup of cooked mushrooms can provide about one-third of the daily recommended amount of copper.
Mushrooms are rich in potassium that ensures heart health. This mineral is also important to maintain the functioning of different systems of your body like the heart, muscle, and nervous system.
Besides, mushrooms contain vital nutrients like protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that help to fight diseases like Alzheimer’s, heart and circulation-related diseases like heart attacks, heart failures or cardiac arrest, cancer, and diabetes.
Health Benefits of Mushrooms
1. Keep Your Heart Healthy
Results of a 2013 study have revealed that mushrooms, particularly maitake mushrooms contain essential health extracts that are significantly known to lower down the levels of bad or LDL cholesterol and keep the levels of good or HDL cholesterol at an optimum in the body. These are also beneficial to regulate the proper functioning of arteries and the cardiovascular and circulatory system of your body, thus helping you to have a healthy heart. Moreover, these health extracts have notably been shown to boost up the levels of energy in your body by improving the functions of fatty acids. The rich sources of potassium in mushrooms significantly reduce the negative impact of sodium in your body. This helps to dilate the blood vessels and considerably lowers down high blood pressure levels. This in the long run reduces the risks of developing cardiovascular diseases like a heart attack or heart stroke.
2. Supports Your Immune System
Mushrooms are known to contain essential health extracts that reduce the chances of occurrences of inflammatory diseases like heart diseases, chronic disorders, and also fight cancer. They help to reduce the number of disease occurrences in your body and thus help to strengthen your immune system. Several experts opine that the vital components in mushrooms are notably found to help in the synthesis of macrophages in the immune system of your body, which in the long run increases your body’s ability to combat harmful diseases and several species of antigens and this will reduce the chance of getting into further diseases. A recent study (10) shows that those people who consumed mushrooms in their regular diet daily for almost a month, have significantly developed anti-inflammatory properties with components like polysaccharides in some types of mushrooms, like shiitake mushrooms (1), and their bodies have shown a considerable boost in their immune system and have developed combat mechanisms against several harmful diseases.
3. Contains Anti- Cancer Properties
A recent study is suggesting that D-Fraction in certain types of mushrooms, like the maitake and button mushrooms contain enough anti-carcinogenic properties that are potential enough to treat several types of cancer including the treatment of breast cancer by increasing the effectiveness of the proteins and also helps to kill cancer cells in human bodies. Moreover, recent studies have been (2) revealing that mushrooms contain properties that are beneficial to prevent abnormal cell division in your body and check the spread of cancer cells into different parts of your body and thus preventing the growth of tumors in the body. Lentinan has been found to prevent the growth and spread of leukemia cells in certain recent experiments (3).
4. Supports Low-Calorie Diet
It has been suggested by many healthcare experts that mushrooms are very low in calorie content (contains almost 15 to 21 calories) and are rich in powerful dietary antioxidants. These components lead to a reduction in calorie consumption through your regular diet, which further causes easy weight loss by improving the BMI (Body Mass Index) and circumference of the stomach.
Potential Side Effects of Mushrooms:
We already know that mushrooms provide a good number of essential health benefits. But despite being packed with all the vital nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, mushrooms still have some serious downsides, and some people should strictly limit or avoid consumption of mushrooms or do so with the advice and prior suggestions of a registered medical caregiver.
For instance, studies (4) have shown that lentinan in shiitake often leads to severe skin conditions known as dermatitis.
Mushrooms, when stored and consumed for a prolonged period may lead to severe digestive problems, including stomach, upset, and sensitivity to sunlight (5) or in some cases, lead to high urine levels among people with symptoms of gout.
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