When talking about the health benefits of mushrooms, nutritionists often refer to common everyday food mushrooms such as straw mushrooms, button mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, dried wood ear fungus etc. rather than other types of mushrooms. Medicinal mushrooms are rare and less common.
Mushrooms are a food that provides many micronutrients and is low in calories. Mushrooms are rich in antioxidants and fiber. It is especially a good source of B vitamins, selenium, zinc and copper – substances important in the production of energy in cells, necessary for a strong immune system. Mushrooms also help reduce the risk of metabolic diseases, support weight loss and improve cognitive health. So what effects do mushrooms have on human health?
Mushrooms have significant antioxidant properties due to their bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols, polysaccharides, vitamins, carotenoids and minerals. These substances help promote a healthy immune system.
When exposed to UV rays in sunlight, mushrooms produce more vitamin D. This makes mushrooms an excellent plant-based source of vitamin D for the body. Vitamin D plays an important role in the immune system and bone health.
Regularly consuming mushrooms can help keep the right bacterial balance to keep your digestive tract healthy and boost your immune system. Mushrooms contain prebiotics, which are nutrients needed for probiotics to grow. Therefore, prebiotics from mushrooms can support the growth of these beneficial bacteria.
Probiotics are live microorganisms, or bacteria, that can benefit the body’s health, as they aid in digestion and nutrient production.
- MUSHROOMS ARE GOOD FOR BLOOD PRESSURE
Most popular edible mushrooms contain the important mineral potassium. According to the American Heart Association, potassium helps support blood pressure control by counteracting the effects of sodium and improving blood vessel function. Adding potassium in your diet will promote sodium excretion in the urine.
- MUSHROOMS ARE LINKED TO CANCER PREVENTION
People who ate mushrooms regularly had a 34% lower risk of cancer than those who ate the least, especially in the case of breast cancer, in a meta-analysis of 17 studies in the journal Advance in Nutrition was announced in September 2021. Mushrooms are high in antioxidants, especially ergothioneine and glutathione, which can protect cells from damage.
- MUSHROOMS SUPPORT EFFECTIVE WEIGHT LOSS
Mushrooms are often included in weight management menus due to their low carbohydrate and calorie content. Many mushrooms like portobello have a meaty flavor, making them a favorite choice among vegetarians and vegans. The low calorie content of mushrooms can also make them a preferred choice for people looking to control their weight.
- MUSHROOMS ENHANCE BRAIN HEALTH
We all want to stay sharp as we age, but 12-18% of people 60 and older have mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a condition that is sometimes a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease and affects affects memory, thinking skills and judgment.
In a study of adults aged 60 and over in Singapore, those who reported consuming more than 2 servings of mushrooms per week had a 57% lower incidence of MCI compared with those who reported consuming mushrooms less than once a week. , according to a study published in March 2021 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Researchers suggest that the ergothioneine found in mushrooms is not only an antioxidant but also has anti-inflammatory properties, both of which can protect against nerve cell damage.
- PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION WHEN EATING MUSHROOMS
Most inedible poisonous mushrooms look very similar to edible species. If you eat mushrooms containing toxins, it can cause hallucinations and dangerous poisoning symptoms such as coma, vomiting, convulsions, and even seriously affect your life leading to death.
Therefore, when choosing mushrooms for your diet, you should keep in mind the following:
Avoid eating mushrooms that have changed color or have unusual colors.
Always choose sealed products from reputable companies or those that you have grown yourself under controlled conditions after purchasing seeds from a trusted source. Do not trust any unknown supplier when you buy mushrooms.
Absolutely do not pick mushrooms from the forest unless you have been thoroughly trained to identify the type of mushroom.
Many mushrooms, when picked in the wild, contain heavy metals, as well as air and water pollutants, which can be hazardous to health.
Mushrooms should be stored in a paper bag or damp towel in the refrigerator or cool place. Use mushrooms within a few days of purchase.