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Health Benefits of Edible Mushrooms
Let’s take a look at five of the key nutrients found in mushrooms:
Please note that each mushroom species is unique in the number of nutrients found. They are all highly nutritious, albeit in varying degrees.
These are they five key nutrients found in all edible mushrooms:
Antioxidants work to protect our bodies from harmful free radicals that may lead to ailments like cancer and heart disease. They also boost our immune system and help protect us against the damage caused oxidative stress and aging.
A paper on the health benefits of mushrooms, published in the Hindawi medical journal, details how medicinal mushrooms contain Beta-glucan. The compound has been linked to improving cholesterol, boosting heart health, regulating blood sugar, and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Because each mushroom contains unique types of Beta-glucan, each mushroom affects immune function differently.
Some of the most effective medicinal mushrooms contain amounts of Beta-glucans that stimulate your immune system to produce ‘natural killer cells’ that fight toxins, tumors, and age-related diseases.
Mushrooms are rich in riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid – the B vitamins. Riboflavin helps keep red blood cells healthy. Niacin keeps our digestive systems in order and maintains healthy skin. Pantothenic acid is good for the nervous system and helps our bodies make the hormones they need. The three combined promote heart health.
Copper helps our bodies produce red blood cells that deliver oxygen. The mineral also maintains healthy bones and nerves. One cup of mushrooms can provide 33% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Copper.
Potassium is necessary when it comes to healthy heart, muscle, and nerve function.
Now, we will look at the healthies mushrooms to add to your diet and explore their unique health benefits, where they grow, if you can grow them yourself or where to buy them if you can’t, and the best way to consume them.
8 of the Healthiest Mushrooms to Add to Your Diet
1. Shiitake Mushrooms
Dried Shiitake is a great source of umami flavor, and if you’re looking for a meat substitute, Shiitake mushrooms contain nearly all of the same amino acids as meat. This makes them one the healthiest mushrooms for vegans or anyone following a meat-free diet.
2. The Agaricus bisporus Family
Agaricus bisporus is a family of fungi that produces three different types of the healthiest mushrooms for your diet. They start out as White Button mushrooms and then grow to become beige-colored Cremini mushrooms. Leave them in the ground for longer and you will have a harvest of Portobello mushrooms on your plate. They all have the same nutritional value as they are the same species. When they are grown under UV light, they are also a source of Vitamin D.
3. Oyster Mushrooms
The texture of the Oyster mushroom makes it another great meat substitute. According to research, Oyster mushrooms are a rich source of protein, minerals, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants like Selenium. The antioxidants in mushrooms protect body cells from damage that could cause chronic diseases and help strengthen the immune system. An added benefit is that Oyster mushrooms are low in calories, cholesterol-free, fat-free, gluten-free, and low in sodium. Eating Oyster mushrooms appears to decrease the risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer and increases the immune system.
4. Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
In addition to being one of the healthiest mushrooms, according to healthline.com, Lion’s Main mushrooms can protect against dementia, help relieve minor symptoms of anxiety and depression, possibly assist in the recovery of nervous system injuries, protect the digestive tract against ulcers, reduce the risk of heart disease, help manage diabetic symptoms, and may even help fight cancer.
5. Porcini Mushrooms
Porcini mushrooms are low in fat – no cholesterol, trans fat, or saturated fat. They contain antioxidants for immunity, protein for healthy muscles, and they are full of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
6. Chanterelle Mushrooms
Chanterelle Mushrooms are a great source of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, including iron, copper, vitamin D (D2 + D3), vitamin B3, B5, and B2, manganese, dietary fiber, phosphorus, and zinc. Add to this the antioxidant properties of Selenium, and you have a low-fat, low-carb source of pure goodness.
7. Enoki Mushrooms
Enoki mushrooms were one of the first fungi used in cancer prevention studies. They are rich in vitamin A and B, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber. Their health benefits include strengthening the immune system, aiding digestive health, promoting weight loss, and preventing diabetes.
8. Reishi Mushrooms
Boosting the immune system, cancer-fighting properties, and overcoming fatigue and depression are three benefits that have been scientifically proven. Other potential benefits of Reishi mushrooms include heart health and blood sugar control.