Discover the 16 shocking health benefits of mushrooms.
Mushrooms are edible mushrooms with various scientific names and their last name is “Agaricus.”
They are essentially Saprophytes, the organisms (plants without chlorophyll) that thrive by extracting nutrients from dead and decomposing plants and animal matter.
They vary widely in color, texture, shape, and properties.
There are approximately 140,000 species of mushroom-forming fungi in the world, but science is only familiar with about 10%, while only 100 species are being studied for their potential health benefits and medicinal applications.
The health benefits of mushrooms include relief from high cholesterol levels, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and diabetes.
They also help you lose weight and increase the strength of your immune system.
Most of us are familiar with mushrooms and their miraculous and beneficial powers.
Particularly those who have read or listened to many fairy tales like Alice in Wonderland, ThreeBears, and a baby or even those who have played the video game Super Mario Bros.
You have probably seen mushrooms making someone bigger or acting as a shield against some dangerous monster.
These are not just popular culture references but are symbolic representations of the actual health benefits of mushrooms.
They can make you grow and protect you against disease and infection, as they are packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antibiotics, and antioxidants.
Mushrooms are not nature’s most glorious, beautiful, or fragrant creations, but mushrooms certainly carry their weight in terms of health.
As unappetizing as budding mushrooms may be, the benefits of mushrooms are incredibly powerful, making them healthy food that can unconditionally elevate yourself to superfood status.
Types of mushrooms
White mushrooms may already be a staple of your diet, but there is a wide range of edible mushrooms available at your grocery store.
Learn about the six most common types and learn how to prepare mushrooms (to wash or not to wash?), And you’ll be ready to use them in a variety of recipes.
• With a fruity aroma, chanterelles range from yellow, orange, and brown to pale white or black.
• The funnel-shaped lids have wrinkles instead of gills on the bottom, which must be washed quickly but carefully before use.
• The most common type, white mushrooms range in size from the small so-called button, which is harvested when young and has the mildest flavor, to the jumbo, which can be stuffed and baked.
• Creamy to pale white, they have a firm texture and a delicate flavor.
• Velvety trumpet-shaped oyster mushrooms have delicate brown, gray, or reddish caps on gray-white stems.
• They have a spicy flavor that becomes very mild when cooked. Small and young specimens are considered the best.
• Up to 6 inches wide, portobellos have a great steak-like flavor and texture; in fact, giant umbrella-like caps are often eaten as vegetarian hamburger substitutes.
• Remove woody stems before eating.
• With meaty brown to dark brown taquitos, shiitakes have a distinctly smoky flavor and taste best when cooked.
• Available fresh or dried, they work well in stir-fries as the flavor doesn’t fade along with the ginger and garlic.
• Although the stems are too difficult to eat and should be removed from the heads before cooking, you can use them to season sauces before discarding.
• Like white mushrooms, but with a firmer texture and a deeper flavor, creminis are immature portobellos.
• Button caps range from light brown to deep brown. The stems are edible.
Important health benefits of mushrooms
The health benefits of mushrooms are plentiful, for thousands of years the health benefits of mushrooms have been revered as a central part of traditional oriental medicine, but only recently have they gained the credit they deserve in the rest of the world.
Of all the mushrooms eaten in the U.S., 90 percent are white button (or crimini) mushrooms.
Mushroom varieties run the gamut, and their taste, flavor, and texture are as nuanced as their health benefits.
White mushrooms will be the focus of this list, considering their popularity, but the benefits of much more unique mushrooms are also highlighted as they bring incredible health benefits and uses to the table.
1.- Reduces cholesterol
• Mushrooms provide you with lean protein as they have no cholesterol or fat and are very low in carbohydrates.
• Fiber and certain enzymes in them also help lower cholesterol levels.
• Also, the high content of lean protein found in them helps burn cholesterol when digested.
• Balancing cholesterol levels between LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and HDL (“good” cholesterol) is essential in preventing various cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.
2.- Treat anemia
• Anemic patients are characterized by low levels of iron in the blood, resulting in fatigue, headaches, reduced neuronal function, and digestive problems.
• Mushrooms are a good source of iron, and more than 90% of the nutritional value of iron can be absorbed by the body, which promotes the formation of red blood cells and keeps people healthy and functioning at their maximum potential.
3.- Helps prevent cancer
• Mushrooms are very effective in the prevention of breast and prostate cancer due to the significant presence of Beta-Glucans and Conjugated Linoleic Acid, which have anti-cancer effects.
• Of these two, linoleic acid is particularly helpful in suppressing the harmful effects of excess estrogen.
• This increase in estrogen is one of the main causes of breast cancer in women after menopause.
• Beta-Glucans, on the other hand, inhibit the growth of cancer cells in cases of prostate cancer, and numerous studies have shown the antitumor properties of mushrooms when applied medicinally.
4.- Prevents diabetes
• Mushrooms are an ideal low-energy diet for diabetics.
• They have no fat, no cholesterol, very low carbohydrate levels, high protein content, and a large number of vitamins and minerals. They also contain a lot of water and fiber.
• In addition, they contain natural insulin and enzymes that help break down sugar or starch in food.
• They are also known to contain certain compounds that help the liver, pancreas, and other endocrine glands function properly, thereby promoting the formation of insulin and its proper regulation throughout the body.
• Diabetics often suffer from infections, especially in their extremities, which tend to last for long periods.
• The natural antibiotics in them can help protect diabetics from these painful and life-threatening conditions.
5.- Improves bone health
• Mushrooms are a rich source of calcium, which is an essential nutrient in building and strengthening bones.
• A steady supply of calcium in your diet can lower your chances of developing conditions like osteoporosis, and it can also reduce joint pain and the general lack of mobility that is associated with bone breakdown.
6.- Helps in the absorption of nutrients
• Vitamin D is a relatively rare vitamin to find in vegetables, and, edible forms, in general, are not particularly common.
• However, mushrooms do, and this essential vitamin can facilitate the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus.
• Calcium and phosphorus are also present in good amounts in mushrooms, so the combined effects of having all of these nutrients make it a good idea to eat them whenever possible.
7.- Stimulates the immune system
• Ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant found in mushrooms, is very effective in providing protection against free radicals and boosting the immune system.
• It’s a sulfur-containing amino acid, which is something many people are deficient in, despite not knowing about it or seeing its effects.
• That being said, the presence of this “master antioxidant” that is unique to mushrooms can give a huge boost to the health of your immune system.
• Ergothioneine helps to scavenge free radicals, which are dangerous compounds released during metabolic processes in cells, and they can float throughout the body causing significant damage and disease.
• Mushrooms contain natural antibiotics (similar to penicillin), which inhibit microbial growth and other fungal infections.
Those same polysaccharides, beta-glucans, can stimulate and regulate the body’s immune system.
• They can also help heal ulcers and ulcerative wounds and protect them from developing infections.
The good combination of vitamin A, complex B, and C found in them also strengthens the immune system.
8.- Helps to lower blood pressure
• Studies of various types of mushrooms, including shiitake and maitake mushrooms, have shown that they are high in potassium.
• Potassium acts as a vasodilator, relaxing the tension in the blood vessels and therefore lowering blood pressure.
• High blood pressure is linked to several deadly conditions, particularly heart attacks and strokes.
• Potassium also increases cognitive function, because increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain stimulates neural activity.
Studies have shown that increasing potassium levels improves memory and knowledge retention.
9.- Increases iron absorption
• Copper has several beneficial effects on the body and can be found in mushrooms.
• Copper can regulate and stimulate the absorption of iron from food, and utilize it appropriately by releasing it from primary storage sites in the body, such as the liver.
• Mushrooms also have high levels of iron, so the two work together to build healthy bones and prevent anemia.
10.- Rich in Selenium
• The selenium content in mushrooms is one of the most beneficial elements that is often overlooked.
• The primary source of selenium is in animal proteins; however, due to their classification as mushrooms that eat plant and animal matter, mushrooms are the best way for vegetarians to obtain the necessary amount of selenium.
• Selenium is found in large amounts in mushrooms and can benefit bone health by increasing bone strength and increased durability.
• It also strengthens the teeth, hair, and nails, in addition, this essential nutrient is a powerful antioxidant, which eliminates the body of free radicals and generally strengthens the immune system.
• The bioavailability of selenium in mushrooms differs by species, but most commonly eaten mushrooms have significant levels of this important mineral.
11.- Weight loss
• Would you believe me if I said that a completely lean protein diet is great for losing fat and building muscle mass? Well, believe it or not, it’s true.
• Most fats are burned to digest the proteins found in our food, especially when the protein is accompanied by a very low carbohydrate count, no fat or cholesterol, and a good amount of fiber, this is exactly the combination offered by mushrooms to help you lose weight.
• Due to their nutrient density, they rank higher than most fruits and vegetables, and some researchers say mushrooms are one of the rare foods that people can eat as often as possible, with no side effects…
• One study replaced red meat with white button mushrooms, about a cup per day, and found that those test subjects who ate these not only lost a significant amount of weight over a standard period but also decreased their waists and better able to maintain their new weight, rather than return to the original weight as in most crash diets.
12.- Regenerates the skin
• For smooth and supple skin, use products that are infused with fungus.
• According to a Chinese study, white button mushroom extract increases collagen fibers and benefits skin regeneration after injury.
13.- Help in patients with hepatitis B
• Maitake mushrooms also aid in the recovery of hepatitis B patients.
• In a study among 32 patients with chronic hepatitis B, there was a 72 percent recovery rate in the Maitake group compared to a 57 percent recovery rate in the control group.
14.- Everyday spice
• You will often see dried mushrooms, such as shiitakes, sold in ethnic food stores or health food stores.
• Grind these dried mushrooms into a fine powder and use them to complement your meals: from soups and salads to scrambled eggs and pasta sauces, their salty flavor brings much more than just delicious flavor to your meals.
• Get the essential amino acids and nutrients mushrooms have to offer in every bite without making them the center of the plate.
15.- Reduces inflammation
• Even compared to other mushroom superstars, such as shiitake, oyster, and maitake varieties, white button mushrooms are exceptionally advanced in reducing inflammation.
• Adding white mushrooms to the diet has been shown to change the body’s microflora and create metabolic changes that ultimately lead to fewer inflammatory cells.
16.- HIV defense
• In a 2004 study funded by the National Institutes of Health and its department of alternative medicine, doctors found that there was a benefit to ingesting a tea made from freeze-dried wood-grown oyster mushrooms on antiretroviral-induced hyperlipidemia in HIV patients.
Seriously, mushrooms can be very dangerous. Most species of mushrooms are inedible, highly poisonous, and look remarkably similar to their edible counterparts.
Never attempt to collect them for forest consumption unless you have been trained to identify them very well.
Mushrooms have the unique ability to absorb the material they grow on, be it good or bad.
This quality is what gives them much of their beneficial power, but also their dangerous aspects.
Many mushrooms, when collected from the wild, contain heavy metals, which can be very toxic, as well as air and water pollutants.
Also, don’t trust any unfamiliar seller when buying mushrooms.
Always trust sealed products from reputable companies or ones that you have grown yourself under controlled conditions after purchasing your seeds (called spawn) from a trusted source.
A single poisonous mushroom, among others, on a plate can threaten a large number of people, causing comas, severe symptoms of intoxication, nausea, vomiting, seizures, cramps, and dementia.
Many species can even be fatal if ingested. Always avoid eating faded colors or those that are a different color than the typically accepted color of your species