Mushrooms are (usually) edible fungi that are packed with nutrients. Centuries ago, they were only accessible to royalty because their health benefits were considered too “good” for commoners.
Due to their health benefits, mushrooms have gained popularity among pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies. There are thousands of varieties of mushrooms, out of which only 10% have been identified by scientists! Edible mushrooms include like white (button) mushrooms, portobello, shiitake, maitake, cremini, oyster, enoki, and so many more.
Other mushrooms, such as agarikon and poria, are less commonly consumed in meals but rather in supplement powders, tinctures, and capsules.
MUSHROOM NUTRITION FACTS
Mushrooms are low in carbohydrates and fat, but rich in vitamins and minerals. They are a natural source of vitamin B and D. They are also rich in calcium, protein, iron, copper and magnesium. They also contain antioxidant agents like selenium, vitamin C, and choline that help eradicate free radicals from the body.
10 HEALTH BENEFITS OF MUSHROOMS
Other than its benefits for improving athletic performance, cordyceps offer a range of health benefits:
Improves Cardiovascular system: Mushrooms are low in sodium and high in potassium. Potassium contributes to heart health and also regulates blood pressure. The vitamin C in many mushrooms may reduce the risk of serious heart diseases. Additionally, the beta glucans in mushrooms help prevent cardiovascular disease by lowering cholesterol levels.
Boost energy, muscles, metabolism: Mushrooms are a good source for many of the B vitamins, including niacin and folate, which give energy to the body by converting food into fuel. The B vitamins help the body maintain fast and efficient metabolism. They also help produce more red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. Vitamin B also helps in managing balanced hormonal levels, which improves both emotional and mental health.
Protects Central Nervous system: The abundance of antioxidants in mushrooms helps prevent brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Research suggests that adding mushrooms to your diet reduces the risks of neurological illness and helps improve cognitive health. The lion’s mane mushroom is popular among mushrooms, as its extract stimulates nerve growth factor and boosts the regeneration process on cellular level.
Promotes Anti-aging: Mushrooms are power-packed with antioxidants that help fight free radicals in the body. Though free radicals are produced naturally within the body when nutrients are broken down to create energy, environmental pollution, including UV and sun exposure also produce (and speed up production of) free radicals that damage or even destroy cellular structure, proteins, and even RNA and DNA!
Free radicals cause oxidative stress which results in loss of skin elasticity and wrinkles. The antioxidants found in mushrooms neutralizes the free radicals and can stop or delay damage to cells and reduce the aging process.
Boosts Immunity: Mushrooms help strengthen the body’s immune system and its natural defense process against infections. They are also immune cell activators that help your body produce and use T cells and antibodies.
These cells help the immune system fight off various infections. Mushrooms also help with anti-inflammation which allows antibodies to work effectively. The beta glucans in mushrooms also help stimulate the immune system and promote healthy gut bacteria.
Cancer Fighting: There is a lot of research being done on mushroom’s protective effect against cancer. The sugar compound in mushrooms known as beta glucans stimulates the immune system and triggers certain cells and proteins to fight off cancer cells. In lab settings, a certain compound found in mushrooms known as PSK has been known to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
The antioxidants in mushrooms help the body fight against free radicals that cause harm to cell structures. Mushrooms also contain minerals like selenium, which helps detoxify cancer causing compounds like benzene, arsenic, and asbestos.
Anti-inflammatory Properties: Mushrooms have powerful antioxidant compounds that help prevent inflammation. Inflammation occurs when the body tries to protect itself from an infection or injury.
When the inflammation lasts weeks, it may lead to various health problems like diabetes, heart diseases or even cancer. The antioxidants in mushrooms help lower inflammation and suppress allergic responses.
Good for Bones: Mushrooms are a good source of vitamin D (especially if they have been exposed to sunlight, because mostly mushrooms grow in dark. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium that helps promote bone growth. Adding mushrooms to your diet may delay conditions like osteoporosis and joint pain.
Weight Loss Support: Mushrooms are rich in proteins and dietary fibers and low in carbohydrates and fat... Additionally, the fiber in mushrooms helps reduce appetite and makes you feel fuller. Vitamin B in mushrooms also increases the body’s metabolism by turning food into energy, which helps manage weight. Because of the way they support the diet and metabolism, mushrooms are very popular among various diet plans including the ketogenic diet and paleo diet.
Reduces Stress and Anxiety: Some mushrooms possess adaptogenic properties, meaning hey help the body deal with stress and anxiety. These mushrooms have positive effects on mental health and reduce anxiety, stress, and fatigue. They also help improve sleep quality which in turn boosts mental health!
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS
It is very crucial to distinguish between safe mushrooms and poisonous mushrooms. You should never pick mushrooms growing in your backyard and ingest them if you have no way of knowing whether they are poisonous or not.
Mushrooms are fungus that absorbs nutrients from what it grows on. Some of them have harmful toxins that can cause nausea, hallucinations, or even death. People with autoimmune diseases should avoid consuming mushrooms because of beta glucans present that stimulate the immune function.
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE IN NUTRITIONAL BENEFIT BETWEEN RAW AND COOKED MUSHROOMS?
Because of their meaty flavor and multiple health benefits, mushrooms are widely used in all types of cuisine and in various weight loss programs.
Some people consume them raw by adding them to salad, while others boil or grill them. It is a common fact that vegetables and herbs/ mushrooms should be consumed raw to gain all of their benefits. But some research suggests that cooked mushrooms yield more benefits and are safe to consume as compared to raw ones!
WHY DO COOKED MUSHROOMS PROVIDE MORE BENEFITS THAN RAW MUSHROOMS?
This is because mushrooms have tough cell walls that are difficult to digest. Additionally, mushrooms, even washed thoroughly, may have traces of toxins and pathogens like carcinogen. Upon consumption, some people may suffer from allergic reactions, upset stomach, or skin rashes.
When mushrooms are cooked or boiled, they retain nutrients that contain protein, B-vitamins, and minerals. Cooking the mushrooms soften their tough fungal tissues and allow the digestive enzymes in our body to utilize the benefits of nutrients released by mushrooms.
Research also suggests that boiling or cooking mushrooms destroys any toxins and carcinogens, enhances beta glucans, and increases the value of the antioxidants’ activity.
TAKING CORDYCEPS SUPPLEMENTS
Mushrooms are famous for their wide range of health benefits- like our very own Daily Multivitamin & Mushroom blend! They are a source of fiber, proteins, and antioxidants, and have been used by ancient and modern medical practices for many years. Mushroom supplements are also being widely used to improve mental health and overall energy. Mushrooms are like medicines - before adding them to your diet, it is advisable to consult your doctor.