For centuries, mushrooms have been eaten as good fungi for health. Pharaohs considered them as the “royal food” and kept them all for their consumption. They liked the earthy flavor of these growing fungi structures. However, apart from their savory taste, they have numerous health benefits as well.
Some being poisonous could be harmful when consumed. Regardless of the fact, the ones that are carefully grown and belong to specific genres are not only delicious but beneficial too.
There are a lot of different mushrooms available in the market today. The ones which are primarily used in cuisines are:
- White mushroom
What makes them beneficial for health?
The nutritional value varies from mushroom to mushroom. Some of the primary benefits include a low concentration of salt (Sodium), a low-calorie content, and being free from cholesterol and fat. Apart from these, they are a good source of essential minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
Some benefits of mushrooms which are top of the list:
- Mushrooms keep you looking younger.
Certain mushrooms like Shiitake have AHCC content in them. It stands for Active Hexose Correlated Compound. It’s an antioxidant and helps in eradicating the free-radicals found inside the body.
These free-radicals, if not eliminated, leading to the process of aging. Some other harmful effects of these radicals include diseases of heart and cancers. So, the Shiitake mushroom being the AHCC mushroom, helps in fighting against these health deteriorating radicals.
- Mushrooms can boost your immune system.
Antioxidants found in mushrooms not only help in removing free radicals but also help in improving the functioning of the immune system. Shiitake is a good source of AHCC, and Lentinan helps in this matter.
Lentinan, which comes from Shiitake, helps boost the immune system, but Beta-glucan, which comes from different varieties like a button mushroom, also has the same immune system effects.
- They keep your brain protected.
Ergothioneine and Glutathione found in certain mushrooms like Button mushrooms help in:
- Boosting the immune system.
- Preventing diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
It is recommended to eat 5 of these mushrooms every day to prevent neurological disorders.
- They fight off cancer.
Researchers have tested five different mushrooms, and the study has been published in the journal known as Experimental Biology and Medicine. It says that types like the white button, maitake, crimini, oyster, and portobello mushrooms have protection capability against breast cancer.
These, when used in the diet, suppress the propagation of cancer cells by
- Reducing their growth
- Suppressing their reproduction
So these have been considered as being chemo-protective agents. They also help in increasing the life span of cancer patients. AHCC mushrooms like Shiitake are rich in a compound called Lentinan. It’s a sugar molecule that helps in aiding cancer patients by:
- Slowing the growth of tumours.
- Killing bacterial and viral species to prevent diseases.
- They help in reducing cholesterol.
Mushrooms are generally cholesterol-free, but they also have fibre in them. This fibre, Chitin and Beta-glucan help in lowering cholesterol levels. Among the ones which help in lowering bad cholesterol include Pink oyster.
On the other hand, Shiitake helps the liver in processing and removing it from the body and contains phytonutrients that aid in preventing fat or any cell from sticking to walls of arteries and blocking them.
- They are a high source of vitamins.
Crimini is rich in B12, and Button mushroom is a source of Vitamin D. B vitamins help the body convert food into energy and D vitamin is necessary for calcium absorption.
Mushrooms being chewy structurally, need to be cooked properly. The most recommended method is to grill them instead of cooking them to prevent any nutritional loss. They are a great source of nutrients like vitamins and fibre. Apart from their nutritional qualities, they act as cholesterol-lowering agents, anti-aging agents, anti-tumour, and immune-boosting supplements.