The mushroom is a spongy fleshy fungus, consumed from thousands of years due to its therapeutic properties. You must have seen in the Super Mario video game mushrooms making someone bigger or act as a shield against some dangerous monster. Well, this is not only depiction but actually the truth. They protect against diseases and infections, as they are full of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
The name “mushroom” is the cultivated white button mushroom, Agarics bisporus. It is grown in a sterilized environment and considered edible. The word “mushroom” is most often applied to those fungi that have a stem, cap, and gills present on the underside of the cap. They are essentially Saprophytes, the organisms (plants without chlorophyll) which live by extracting nutrients from dead and decaying plant and animal matter. There are many varieties of mushrooms that vary greatly in color, texture, shape and properties. The wild varieties are very poisonous. China is the largest producer and consumer of mushroom in the world.
The health benefits of mushrooms include lowering high cholesterol levels, preventing cancer risks mainly breast cancer, prostate cancer, and from diabetes. It also aids in weight loss and increases the strength of your immune system.
There are approximately 140,000 species of mushrooms in the world, but only 10% are known to us, and only 100 species are being studied for their health benefits and medicinal applications.
Nutritional value per 100g
Health Benefits of Mushrooms
Mushrooms have no cholesterol or fat and are very low carbohydrates. Moreover, the fiber and certain enzymes in mushrooms also help lower cholesterol levels. The high lean protein content found in them burns cholesterol when they are digested. Balancing levels of cholesterol are essential for prevention of various cardiovascular diseases.
Anemic patients generally suffer from fatigue, headaches, and digestive issues. Mushrooms are a great source of iron which promotes the formation of red blood cells and keeps people healthy and functioning.
3. Breast Cancer & Prostate Cancer
Mushrooms contain Beta-Glucans and conjugated Linoleic Acid and both have anti-carcinogenic effects and inhibit the growth of cancer cells in both breast and prostate cancer. Moreover, linoleic acid is particularly helpful in suppressing the harmful effects of excess estrogen because the increase in estrogen is one of the causes of breast cancer in women after menopause.
Mushrooms are an ideal diet for people suffering from diabetes. They have no fats, cholesterol, low levels of carbohydrates, high in protein content, vitamins and minerals with water and fiber. Moreover, they contain natural insulin and enzymes which help in the breaking down of sugar in the food. They also help in proper functioning of the liver, pancreas promoting the formation of insulin and its proper regulation throughout the body.
Mushrooms are rich in calcium, which is essential in the formation and to strengthen bones. A supply of calcium in diet reduce your chances of developing conditions like osteoporosis and also keeps you away from joint pain and bone degradation which makes walking difficult.
6. Nutrient Absorption
Vitamin D is the rarest vitamin to find in vegetables, and in fact, edible forms are not particularly common. But, mushrooms have this essential vitamin, which facilitates the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous. The combined levels of these two nutrients along with other nutrients make mushrooms a powerful source and healthy option to eat.
7. Immune System
Mushrooms contain Ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant, providing protection from free radicals as well as boosting the immune system. It is basically an amino acid containing sulfur, which is something people are mostly deficient in. the presence of this antioxidant which is unique to mushrooms can give you a major boost to immune system health, by eliminating free radicals which are dangerous for health.
8. Blood Pressure
Mushrooms are high in potassium content. Potassium acts as a vasodilator, relaxing tension in blood vessels and reducing blood pressure which prevents severe conditions of heart attacks and strokes. Moreover, potassium also promotes cognitive function as increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain stimulate the neural activity.
The selenium content in mushrooms is one of the most beneficial elements having great benefits to health. The primary source of selenium is in animal proteins, but mushrooms are the best way for vegetarians to obtain the necessary amount of selenium. Selenium benefits to bone health by adding to bone strength increasing enduringness. It also helps strengthen the teeth, hair, and nails. Well, this magic element is and antioxidant too, which rids the body from free radicals and strengthens the immune system.
10. Weight Loss
Mushrooms due to their nutrient density, they actually rank higher than most fruits and vegetables. It has been researched that most fats are burnt to digest proteins found in our food. Mushrooms have lean proteins accompanied by no fat, a good amount of fiber, and low carbohydrate count, a combination that mushrooms offer to help in losing weight.
Hyaluronic acid moisturizes body from inside and plumps up your skin. It also helps to reduce wrinkles and fine lines. Mushrooms contain a polysaccharide that is equally beneficial and function in hydrating and plumping your skin up.
12. Hair loss
The iron deficiency in body i.e. anemia is one of the most common causes of hair loss. Mushrooms are a great source of iron which involved in the formation of red blood cells, can help combat hair loss thus strengthening your hair.
13. Skin Lightener
Some of the mushrooms contain kojic acid which is a natural skin lightener. Kojic acid inhibits production of melanin on the surface of the skin. This makes the new skin cells lighten formed after the dead ones are exfoliated. This has been proved to be a great alternative to chemical lighteners like hydroquinone that has the risk of causing skin cancer.
Kojic acid is used in creams and lotions as a remedy for signs of aging. Mushrooms work by enhancing the natural defenses of the skin and improving its appearance by making it healthy and supple.
15. Respiratory problems
Consuming mushrooms strengthen lungs and also cures the respiratory disorder, like asthma. Mushroom capsules or its extract are advised to people with respiratory problems to make breathing easy.
16. Healthy sperm
Mushrooms contain selenium and zinc, which are essential for healthy and fertile sperms. The richness of folate in mushrooms makes it popular among expecting mothers. It is advised to include this nutritious food in your diet if you are trying to conceive a baby.
17. Strengthens Nails
Well, again a benefit of selenium here, which is generally not found in other vegetables or fruits. Selenium content in mushrooms keeps nails healthy and makes them stronger preventing their breakage.
18. Energy booster
Mushrooms being a good source of vitamin B, fill your body with instant energy. So if you are up for an exercise of tired with work then have some mushroom pasta or any mushroom dish to energize yourself.
Mushroom have a great calcium content that helps strengthen the teeth and also protects them from cavities. Hence, it is good to consume mushroom to prevent bacterial infections
Mushroom extracts are used extensively in the skin care products and acne removal creams. Mushroom provides a large number of benefits for skin problems. For acne problems, vitamin D gives mushroom the healing properties that effectively treats acne and also keep them away.
Quick tips to serve
- You can try out mushroom burger. The patty filling in between can be combined with mushrooms, lentils, tomatoes making a healthy meal.
- You can also try fried button mushrooms dipped in a rich gravy of tomatoes, cream, cashew paste with a little touch of shahi garam masala.
- Mushroom samosa makes a great snack for the evening. Just replace your potato filling with mushrooms and enjoy the healthy snack.
- Another snack is your all-time favorite pasta. Combine your pasta with mushrooms which add on taste making it more delicious.
- Toasts make up your great breakfast. Combine the filling with mushrooms to make it healthier.
- Most species of mushrooms are not edible, are highly poisonous. They look strikingly similar to their edible counterparts. Don’t try picking mushrooms yourself for consumption from the woods unless you are trained and identify them well. Many wild mushrooms contain heavy metals, which can be very toxic and can cause allergies on touching.
- Always buy sealed products from reputable companies. Do not trust any unknown vendors when you buy mushrooms. Poisonous mushroom affects people’s health, resulting in comas, nausea, vomiting, convulsions, cramps, insanity.
- They can cause problems for people with low blood pressure, causing loss of consciousness. It is better for people to stay away from them.
- Mushrooms are also not suitable for everyone. It may cause dizziness, headaches. Please refer to a doctor before consuming them.