What Are the Health Benefits of Eating Mushrooms?
“You either love ‘em or hate ‘em”. How many food items have we heard being described in this way? Well, to my knowledge, mushrooms are high on the list. They have many descriptive adjectives attached to them. Delicious, magical, deadly, intoxicating, and the list goes on. But what are the health benefits of eating mushrooms?
Mushrooms are more popular than they have ever been, not only for their palate pleasing taste and versatility in recipes but for their medicinal value. Usually thought of as kin to vegetables, they are actually a type of fungus, as gross as that sounds.
First, Please Don’t Die
The plump, soft, cream colored ones you buy in the store are delicious. But the ones growing wild must be foraged very carefully. Some are delectable but others are deadly. Bottom line: Don’t hunt for mushrooms without a knowledgeable mushroom guide.
Many Types of Mushrooms
We are going to list what the health benefits of eating mushrooms are, but we’ll do it by type. The benefits of each type are similar, but certain types are stronger in some areas than others, and vice versa.
Some types include lions mane, portobello, chaga, agarikon, cordyceps, maitake, reishi, oyster, porcini, shiitake, truffle, portobello, crimini and turkeytail.
Let’s go through a few of these medicinal mushrooms’ health benefits, and we’ll show you where you can buy them:
Medicinal Mushrooms Health Benefits
These babies have become one of the most expensive foods in the world. They grow near oak, beech, hazel, and chestnut trees and are sniffed out by, believe it or not, dogs and pigs that have been trained to recognize their distinct odor. Truffle farmers are trained to be very careful with these treasures. It is forbidden to touch a truffle with their bare hands, causing the fungi to rot. Hence the hefty price tag.
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms Health Benefits
Probably the best known of Lion’s Mane Mushrooms’ health benefits are their ability to increase cognitive function, like focus and memory. But it is even known to help repair nerve damage. They can defend against dementia, as well as depression and anxiety.
Lion’s Mane mushrooms can help reduce the risk of heart disease, as well as aiding in the control of blood sugar levels and symptoms of diabetes.
Lion’s Mane mushroom is known to also help with reducing Inflammation, repairing liver damage, and building immunity.
Shiitake Mushrooms Health Benefits
Shiitake mushrooms’ health benefits include the promotion of a strong immune system, improved circulation and blood pressure reduction.
They are also said to help fight bacteria, viruses and even cancer, as well as helping with energy and brain function.
Portobello Mushrooms Health Benefits
Portobello mushrooms contain lots of L-ergothioneine and conjugated linoleic acid, which make them particularly good at helping to prevent cancer and other conditions that tend to show up when we age. They attack free-radicals in the body and are very good at eliminating toxins.
Crimini Mushrooms Health Benefits
Crimini mushrooms are the most common and are an excellent source of zinc, which is vital for the optimal growth of infants and children. They also contain a good amount of vitamin D (as do all mushrooms), iron and copper. Crimini mushrooms are also high in fiber and very low in calories.
Another of crimini mushrooms’ health benefits is that they improve metabolism, due to their high vitamin B content.
And then there are the bad dudes. Hallucinogenic mushrooms are usually associated with 60’s culture. However archaeological evidence proves that centuries ago these types of ‘shrooms’ were actually used in religious ceremonies in ancient Mexico.
Mushrooms of all varieties are low in calories but pack a nutritional punch. Those raised with exposure to ultraviolet light are an excellent source of vitamin D.
They are also excellent sources of potassium which reduces the negative impact that sodium can have on the body.
Mushrooms Good For Weight Loss
Weight loss is another benefit of consuming these cream colored beauties. A research group, after substituting twenty percent of their beef consumption with mushrooms showed a marked improvement in their BMI index and belly circumference.
Helpful hint: Exchange beef patties for a plump, seasoned, grilled portobello mushroom cap in your burgers. Delicious.
A Chinese study found that certain types of mushroom/fungus varieties boost exercise performance, especially for seniors. Animal studies suggest that the consumption of these versatile little guys and gals can alleviate non-alcoholic fatty liver disease due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These same properties help reduce inflammation of the brain which is one cause of neurodegeneration.
Mushrooms are also great sources of selenium, copper, thiamine, magnesium, and phosphorous. There just seems to be nothing this miracle food is missing. And, ya wanna talk nutrition, one cup of criminis, for example, contains a mere fifteen calories but packs a nutritional value as follows:
– protein – 2.2 grams
– fat – 0.2 grams
– carbohydrates – 2.3 grams
– fiber – 0.7 grams
– sugar – 1.4 grams
Suggestions for adding mushrooms to your meals might be helpful to you, so here they are:
– sprinkled raw over your everyday meals to add texture and flavor
– add to homemade pizza (way healthier than store bought)
– saute with garlic and butter for a delicious side dish (mmmm…with steak and baked potatoes)
– add to homemade pasta sauce
– cream of mushroom soup (from scratch, of course)
– add to stir fries
– pop into a nice fluffy omelet for a healthy and tasty breakfast.
– can I interest you in an appetizer consisting of stuffed mushroom caps
There, now you can rush to your local grocery store or outdoor market and stock up on these versatile, nutritious, and crazy beneficial little guys. Just be sure to wash them very well. Or maybe you could go to your local health food store while you are out and purchase mushroom coffee, cocoa, and teas, as well as bottles of supplements guaranteed to make you click your heels together. Well…maybe just walk with a bounce in your step.
We Recommend the Following:
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