A mushroom is neither a vegetable nor a fruit; in fact, you cannot even call it a plant. Mushrooms are actually a type of fungus, and this often makes many people think they cannot include mushrooms in their diet. The truth is that mushrooms can be a good addition to your diet and are quite delicious too.
Are Mushrooms Good for You?
You can find mushrooms in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. You have to be a bit careful because some of them can be toxic. The ones that are not toxic are not only tasty but are quiet healthy as well. People have been relying on mushrooms to add flavor to their dishes for ages now. You can include mushrooms in your recipes and get a good flavor without having to use additional fat or sodium.
However, if you want to include mushrooms in your diet, ensure that you buy them from a reliable store or market. The reason is that it is quite tricky to identify non-toxic mushrooms out in the wild. You can always opt for oyster, shiitake, crimni, Portobello, beech, enoki, maitake, and white mushroom. They all have their own distinctive taste and look. When making a purchase, opt for the ones that feel firm and have no mold on them. It is also important to buy mushrooms that do not feel moist to the touch.
Ways to Enjoy Them
Are mushrooms good for you? Yes, they are, but that is not the only reason to include them in your diet. They are quite versatile and you can enjoy them in many different ways. You can cut mushrooms in small slices and toss in your salads. You can grill, roast, or sauté mushrooms. They also work great when added to sandwiches, soups, casseroles, wraps, and Italian dishes. Portobello mushrooms have a meaty texture and are often served as steaks or burgers.
Health Benefits of Eating Mushrooms
Are mushrooms good for you? Yes they are and they are quite easy to include in your diet. However, you may be wondering exactly what makes mushrooms so healthy. Here are some of the reasons.
1. Lowered Cholesterol Levels
Include mushrooms in your diet and you will be able to lower your blood cholesterol levels. They do not contain any fat or cholesterol and are very low in carbs. They are rich in fiber and have certain enzymes that lower cholesterol levels. They also contain lean protein, which helps burn more fat and cholesterol. Mushrooms also help maintain a balance between LDL and HDL cholesterol and prevent diseases like stroke heart attack, and artherosclerosis.
2. Lowered Risk of Prostate and Breast Cancer
Including mushrooms in your diet lowers your risk for breast and prostate cancer mainly because they contain conjugated Linoleic Acid and Beta-Glucans. The presence of linoleic acid helps suppress the negative effects of excess estrogen. Many studies have also found that medical application of certain mushrooms may also help prevent the growth of cancerous cells.
3. Protection Against Anemia
You develop anemia when you have low levels of iron in your blood. This condition causes several problems, including headaches, fatigue, digestive issues, and reduced neural function. Mushrooms are a great source of iron and trigger the production of red blood cells. This helps prevent anemia and other complications.
4. Stronger Bones
Include mushrooms in your diet and you will end up having stronger bones. That happens because mushrooms contain loads of calcium. You need calcium for stronger teeth and bones. Moreover, it helps lower your risk of developing certain problems such as osteoporosis.
5. Improved Nutrition Absorption
You need calcium and phosphorus for better health, but your body needs vitamin-D to absorb these minerals. Are mushrooms good for you? Yes, they are, and a good reason is that they contain vitamin-D, which is hard to find in edible forms. Mushrooms are also beneficial because they do not just contain vitamin-D but also have calcium and phosphorus. The combined effect really helps your body in a good way.
6. Stronger Immune System
Mushrooms help boost your immune system because they contain a powerful antioxidant called ergothioneine. The presence of antioxidants helps eliminate free radicals from your body and improve your immune system at the same time. Free radicals are responsible for causing oxidative damage to your cells – they also increase your risk of developing cancer. By eliminating these free radicals, mushrooms help improve your immune system and prevent the growth of cancerous cells.
Mushrooms prove extremely beneficial for your immune system because they offer a perfect combination of vitamin B-Complex, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Moreover, mushrooms have antibacterial and antifungal properties and work great to clear both bacterial and fungal infections. By improving your immune system, they help accelerate the healing process of ulcers and ulcerous wounds.
7. Lowered Risks of Hypertension
Many studies have found that including maitake and shitake mushrooms in your diet may help improve your cardiovascular health. These mushrooms are rich in potassium, which dilates blood vessels and regulates blood pressure as well. By regulating your blood pressure, they prevent deadly conditions such as strokes and heart attacks. Potassium is also responsible for increasing oxygen and blood flow to your brain cells, which in turn improves your cognitive function. You will also notice a significant improvement in your memory by including mushrooms in your diet.