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Mushrooms, are they good or bad for you?

Humans have been eating mushrooms for over a thousand years. Not just been consuming these fungi for culinary reasons, but also as medicinal uses. Mushrooms add taste to meals, and are a good alterative to meat a they are packed with protein. But there are toxic mushrooms that have given this food group a bad rap.

Still, mushrooms are seen as a vegetable, although they are part of the fungi group. Although most now grown in commercial operations, they are still found in the wild, some growing above the ground, and other below the ground.

The most popular type of mushrooms are button mushrooms, but also Portobello, shiitake, and chanterelle. These can be eaten raw or cooked, and you can buy them dried, fried or canned.

In this article, the focus is on the health benefits of mushrooms.

Mushrooms are low in calories and nutritious

Mushrooms contain only a few calories, but are high in fiber, protein and different minerals such as potassium and selenium, and vitamins like B vitamins. Plus, mushrooms are low in fat.

A 100 gram serving of raw white mushrooms have:

  • Calories: 22
  • Carbs: 3 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Fat: 0.3 grams
  • Potassium: 9% of the RDI
  • Selenium: 13% of the RDI
  • Riboflavin: 24% of the RDI
  • Niacin: 18% of the RDI

However, shiitake mushrooms has 45% of the RDI for copper per 100 grams. Nonetheless, the content of the mushrooms will differ based on the storage conditions, cooking, processing, and cultivation of the mushrooms.

Mushrooms could boost your immune system

In traditional Chinese medicine, mushrooms have been used for thousands of years to boost people’s health. For instance, the shiitake mushrooms has been used to treat the common cold. This since this mushroom is able to fight viruses and they enhance the resistance against infections from viruses that include fungi and bacteria.

In addition, there are polysaccharides found in mushrooms, namely beta-glucans, could also improve the immune system. The best type of mushrooms that contain beta-glucans, would be shiitake and oyster mushrooms.

Mushroom extract could assist in fighting cancer

In countries in Asia, the substance beta-glucans, which is obtained from mushrooms, have been used in the cancer treatment of cancer. Researcher believe that the mushroom extract could be effective in that it decreases the growth of a tumor. It should be said, that although beta-glucans might not kill the cancer cells they seem to be good at halting the spread of the cancer and increases survival rate of chemotherapy patients. It should also be said that the researcher have found that people who received the mushroom extract only lived 25 days longer than those without it, and which were also undergoing chemotherapy. Therefore, this is no miracle cure. But, what the extract could do is to lessen the side effects of chemotherapy such as nausea.

Mushrooms could be good for your heart

Mushrooms have different substances that could assist to lower your cholesterol. More so, mushrooms eaten regularly could improve the good cholesterol count. Then again, it could also cut blood triglyceride levels, if eaten regularly.

Mushrooms could also reduce your blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Mushrooms likewise have an assortment of potent antioxidants, together with polysaccharides and phenols, which are known to support the decrease of inflammation and oxidative stress. For example, oyster mushrooms seem to have the maximum antioxidant content.

Also, mushrooms as part of the diet can help to keep up a healthy weight, if not lose some extra kilograms.

Mushrooms may support cutting of salt in meat-based dishes, too. Truthfully, adding crimini or white mushrooms to a beef taco blend enhanced the flavor of the reduced-salt version of the tacos.

Above and beyond being beneficial for reducing salt intake, this indicates that mushrooms can be a healthy standby for meat, without give in on flavor or taste.

Some mushrooms are a source of vitamin D

Mushrooms yield vitamin D when made bare to sunlight. In reality, mushrooms are the only food of non-animal origin that have vitamin D. But wild mushrooms contain a substantial amount, as they are exposed to sunlight. The amount they contain rest on latitude and climate

However exposing mushrooms to ultraviolet light before or after gathering also causes them to yield vitamin D.

Consuming vitamin D-enriched mushrooms could increase your vitamin D status.

There are mushrooms that are poisonous

Before you go around and eating any type of mushrooms you can find, be careful – some type of mushrooms are poisonous. These type of mushrooms contain toxic elements. The side effects of eating these type of mushrooms can be from vomiting, abdominal pain, hallucinations and as well as fatigue. In serve cases, it can be fatal.

Some wild toxic kinds closely look like edible varieties. This consist of the deadly mushroom Amanita phalloides, also identified as the death cap. Amanita phalloides is accountable for greatest of the deaths related to mushroom consumption. If you want to try wild mushrooms, do make sure you have had adequate training to recognize which ones are safe to eat, and which are not.

Mushrooms could have arsenic

One thing that mushrooms can do is to absorb compounds from the soil. This is good, but it also means that mushrooms could absorb bad compounds, like arsenic that can lead to health issues and lead to cancer over the long-term.

You find arsenic in soil. But different areas might have more than others. The problem is that wild mushrooms have a higher concentration of arsenic. This is also true of mushrooms growing in polluted areas.

In areas where the growing conditions are controlled, like cultivated mushrooms they will have less arsenic.

Though store-bought mushrooms may have arsenic, it is found in insignificant quantities and should not be a worry, as they are not usually consumed on a daily basis. But if you are concerned about arsenic contamination, rice is more tricky than mushrooms. That is since rice and rice products are more often consumed, and their levels of arsenic are sometimes relatively high

Some closing remarks

Mushrooms are a healthy food. They are rich in fiber, protein, but also many vitamins and minerals.

Actually, eating mushrooms could have health benefits.

Especially, mushroom extract has been proven to mend immune function and heart health and may also support fight cancer.

Though, keep in mind that some wild mushrooms are poisonous. Also that wild mushrooms will have high levels of the dangerous chemical arsenic.

Make sure to evade wild mushrooms, particularly those found adjoining industrial areas, if you do not know how to detect them.

Apart from this, it is safe to add them in your diet.

Mushrooms are low in calories; in addition, they can enhance the taste of dishes.

About Jacques Dippenaar

Jacques is an influential health blogger and researcher helping readers explore interesting facts and information.

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