Mushrooms are Healthy in Many Ways
Huge benefits from eating mushrooms can be yours! Like vegetables, mushroom fungi come in many different varieties, shapes, and sizes. However, in general, many studies have shown that there are some great reasons to make mushrooms a part of your regular diet. Whether you prefer oyster, shiitake, morel, lion's mane, portobello, enoki, or others, there are some good reasons to consider them for good health and nutrition.
Antioxidants to Lower Stress
According to a Penn State Study, mushrooms contain high levels of two antioxidants, ergothioneine and glutathione. In fact, the study stated that mushrooms are the highest dietary source for ergothioneine.
These two antioxidants, when both are present, help to protect the body from physiological stress. This stress is a major cause of visible signs of aging, meaning those wrinkles.
Protection for Your Brain
The same two antioxidants just mentioned were reported to help in the prevention of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Some experts recommend eating mushrooms daily to take advantage of this protection as you age.
One variety of mushroom, lion's mane, can help to prevent or reduce the symptoms of dementia in older adults. Two compounds in the mushroom, hericenones and erinacines, are said to provide this protection, as well as protection against Alzheimer's found in animal studies. The plaques that cause Alzheimer's that build up in older brains are believed to be reduced with regular consumption of lion's mane.
Another study at the National University of Singapore found that eating two ¾ cup servings of cooked mushrooms each week may help to reduce your risk of mild cognitive decline.
Healthy Heart Maintenance and Blood Pressure Control
Though incredibly low in sodium, using mushrooms in cooking reduces the need for salt because they contain a salty substitute, glutamate ribonucleotides. These compounds add a savory taste that takes the place of extra salt.
Since they provide protein, mushrooms can replace the need for red meat in many dishes. Check out grill restaurants where grilled portobello mushrooms are the main item on the plate in place of meat. Mushrooms are extremely low in fat, calories, and cholesterol.
Mushrooms help the body to use energy from the other foods you consume. They do this through high levels of B vitamins, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. They help the body to produce red blood cells for more oxygen in the blood.
Good bone health and strength are enhanced through the consumption of vitamin D. As little as 3 ounces of mushrooms can provide the daily requirement of vitamin D. The catch is that you must buy mushrooms labeled as UVB. This means that they were exposed to sunlight during their growing cycle, as opposed to mushrooms grown completely in the dark.
Other Daily Requirement Nutrients from Mushrooms
Beyond the benefits already stated from consumption of mushrooms, they also help you to meet the minimum daily requirements for healthy eating by being rich in:
- Beta-glucan - a form of dietary fiber that aids in good heart health and lowers bad cholesterol
- Copper - helps your body make red blood cells
- Potassium - for heart, muscles, and nerve functions
With the variety of mushrooms available and the many ways to prepare them, you should be able to find some that you like and enjoy better body and brain health while eating right.