In the world of food, mushrooms are included in the category of vegetables but technically, mushrooms are plants and they are a part of the fungi kingdom. We all are aware of the fact that the key to receiving enough minerals and vitamins in the diet is by eating a colorful variety of fresh vegetables and fruits. But as we mentioned the word ‘colorful’, that doesn’t mean that foods which lack color also lack nutrients and mushroom is one such example of a food which might lack the bright color but which is rich in nutrients. If you consider the health benefits of different types of popular foods, mushroom will definitely be included in the list.
So, now that you have already heard that mushrooms are beneficial for your health, you should also know that that they are often used as medicines as well. Mostly all ancient civilizations all over the world had used mushrooms due to their immensely powerful healing properties. In fact, the Egyptians called them the plant of immortality.
Mushrooms are a powerfood – Know why
It is surprising to note that humans are closely linked with fungi than with any other category or kingdom. Few of the vital molecules that are found in mushrooms are also present in the human diet for such a long time that now our bodies are almost dependent on them. This could be the reason behind mushrooms being so good for human health.
Mushrooms are called superfoods and they’re also called one of the most health promoting foods that you find on the planet. More than half of the mushrooms which are edible are considered as functional foods which mean that they have a positive impact on your health apart from just offering the basic nutrition.
There have been several scientific studies which revealed multiple ways in which mushrooms can be useful for treating serious health issues and also preventing them. They have an overall improving impact on human health. There are several researches also which have identified more than 200 conditions which can be improved with the consumption of mushroom.
Mushrooms – What are they?
Mushroom is a type of fungi which is edible and it comes with different scientific names like Agaricus. Mushrooms are plants without chlorophyll or saprophytes which are organisms which live by extracting nutrition from decaying and dead animal and plant manner. Mushrooms differ in texture, color, properties and shape. There are around 140,000 species of fungi which form into mushrooms in the whole world but scientists are just familiar with 10% of them and 100 species have been studied for their health advantages and other medicinal properties.
What makes mushrooms so powerful?
Medicinal mushrooms derived their name because they were mostly utilized for treatment and prevention of different types of diseases. Mushrooms usually comprise of beta glucans which are responsible in fighting inflammation and helping the immune system. It is also said that mushrooms can protect you against hormone or breast-related cancers as they leads to enzymes like aromatase which in turn produces estrogen. Mushrooms even comprise of lectins which can identify cancer cells and which prevent these cells from dividing and growing. Let’s take a look at the names of the most common medicinal mushrooms.
- Turkey Tail
- Lion’s Mane
The most commonly consumed mushrooms like the button mushrooms also have medicinal properties.
Health benefits of mushrooms – A sneak peek
As it has already been established in the article that there are several health benefits of mushrooms, here are few that you should take into account. The supplements like Superfeast also carry the same benefits like actual mushrooms.
- Mushrooms have abundant of selenium
As per what the USDA has to say, mushrooms are one of the richest sources of selenium. This mineral called selenium has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and antioxidant properties and they may also help in reducing heart issues, cancer, cognitive impairments and thyroid issues. Nevertheless, there are several other clinical researches and trials which have to be done to confirm this.
- Prevents diabetes
Mushrooms are probably the best form of low-energy diet for patients with diabetes as is reported by Functional Foods in Health and Disease. They don’t contain cholesterol, fats and they also have low level of carbohydrates, multiple minerals and vitamins and extremely high protein content. Mushrooms also contain fiber and water. As mushrooms contain enzymes and natural insulin, they help in breaking down of starch or sugar. Mushrooms also have few compounds which help the liver to function properly, the endocrine glands and pancreas.
- Reduces bad cholesterol levels
Mushrooms offer you with enough lean protein as they don’t have fat or cholesterol and because they’re rich in carbs. The enzymes and the fiber that is there in them also reduce the bad cholesterol levels. The high content of lean protein also burns down the cholesterol whenever they’re digested. For preventing cardiovascular diseases, you need to balance levels of cholesterol between HDL and LDL. This can be done easily by consumption of mushrooms along with taking other precautions.
- Improves health of bones
Mushrooms are also rich in calcium, which is yet another vital nutrient in the formation and strengthening of bones. If you have a proper supply of calcium in your diet, this can reduce chances of developing few conditions like osteoporosis and can also reduce joint pain which leads to lack of mobility and degradation of bones.
- Boosts immune system
One of the powerful antioxidants found in mushrooms, ergothioneine is extremely effective in offering protection from radicals and also for boosting the immune system. This is often referred to as master antioxidant as they are unique and are only found in mushrooms. These can give a huge boost to the health of your immune system. Did you know that mushrooms also contain natural antibiotics which prevent microbial growth and all other sorts of fungal infections?
- Absorbs nutrients
We all are aware of the fact that Vitamin D is a rather rare vitamin to be found in vegetable and its edible forms are totally uncommon. Mushrooms usually have it and this Vitamin D can increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. These are the 2 elements that are totally present in mushrooms and hence the combined impacts of all these nutrients can make them one of the best ideas to eat them whenever it is possible for you.
- Reduces high blood pressure
There have been too many studies which show that mushrooms are high in potassium content. Potassium plays the role of vasodilator, thereby relaxing the tension in blood vessels and thereby reducing blood pressure. We all know that high blood pressure or hypertension is usually related to several deadly conditions like strokes and heart attacks. Potassium also boosts cognitive function due to the increased oxygen and blood flow to the brain. Studies show that increased levels of potassium improve knowledge retention.
- Boosts absorption of iron
Copper has several beneficial impacts on human body and this can be found in mushrooms. Deficiency in copper can lead neutropeni and anemia. Copper regulates and also stimulates the absorption of iron from food and it properly utilizes by releasing from primary storage spots like the liver. Mushrooms also have high content of iron and the two works together for healthy bones and also for preventing anemia.
- Reduces weight
A complete lean protein diet is ideal for shedding those extra pounds and building muscle mass. Majority of the fats are burnt to digest proteins which are found in the food and more so when protein is accompanied by low carb count, no cholesterol or fat and good amount of fiber. Due to the density of nutrients, they rank higher than most vegetables and fruits and there are few researchers who say that mushrooms are one of the rare foods which people eat as much as they can without any kind of side-effects.
- Boosts longevity
Antioxidants can let you live longer and can help you live a healthier life. If you can follow a diet which is rich in antioxidants, this protects your cells from free radicals and helps the body to cope with oxidative stress which damages all sorts of healthy cells. While any edible mushroom will help you get a boost in nutrients, there are 7 mushrooms which have proved to have highest level of antioxidants which might let you live longer. They are Golden Oyster, Porcini, Pioppino, Lion’s Mane, Oyster, Shiitake and Maitake.
- Improves digestion
Mushrooms are gut-friendly foods and they are prebiotics which clearly imply that they nourish good bacteria inside your git. They also balance beneficial bacteria of microbiome like Bifidobacterium and Acidophilus.
Therefore, if you’re wondering about why you should be adding mushrooms to your diet, take into account the above mentioned benefits of mushrooms. Get them from the best stores which sell premium quality mushrooms which are supremely good for your health.