The mushroom is a magical vegetable. Cultures from all over the world have eaten or used mushrooms medicinally for centuries. This immortal food has proven to have numerous health benefits, especially related to its protein content, vitamins, and other compounds that are found primarily in fungi. Besides being delicious food, and that has different tastes according to their species, it is a powerful vegetable with several benefits. Here, we’ll give you the benefits of eating mushrooms.
There are many kinds of mushrooms around the world, some edible and others highly poisonous. Among the edibles, about a thousand species and varieties are part of the culinary customs of humankind. Only in Mexico, there are 100 thousand types of mushrooms, of which only 3 thousand are known.
Benefits Of Eating Mushrooms
1. Stimulate The Immune System
It is proven that lentinan stimulates the immune system, as well as beta-glucan, a type of sugar found in the cells of fungal walls. Beta-glucan is found in many fungal species, including the most common, such as mushrooms.
2. Reduce Cholesterol
In general, mushrooms do not contain cholesterol, but they are also a good source of chitin and beta-glucan, which are fibers that reduce cholesterol. In a study, it was found that pink oyster mushrooms reduce total cholesterol and LDL.
On the other hand, shiitake mushrooms contain a compound that helps the liver process and removes cholesterol from the bloodstream. Mushrooms contain potent phytonutrients that help to prevent cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels, which keeps blood pressure healthy.
3. Rich In Vitamins B and D
Fungi are a fontanel of vitamin D because these crops exposed to small amounts of ultraviolet light. The mushrooms and cremini mushrooms, in particular, are rich in vitamin D, but also the cremini also has a lot of vitamin B12. Vitamin B can convert food into fuel for our bodies, giving us energy. This energy is also good to combat fatigue and in specific doses, depression, and anxiety. On the other hand, vitamin D helps our bodies to absorb calcium and promote bone growth.
4. Have Anti-inflammatory Powers
Mushrooms have been found to contain ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant that helps to reduce inflammation in the body. The reishi mushroom, in particular, has been used medicinally in Asia for thousands of years, mainly to relieve inflammation-related diseases.
Other research has shown that reishi mushrooms are also beneficial in mitigating allergic responses linked to inflammation and the growth of tumors.
5. Fight Aging
A recent study found that fungi have high amounts of two important antioxidants, Ergothioneine, and glutathione, which are associated with anti-aging properties. Mushrooms are the most top dietary source of these two antioxidants together, and that some types of mushrooms are full of them. The amounts of antioxidants vary according to the species.
6. Fight Cancer
A study published that five types of fungi (maitake, cremini, portobello, oyster and white button) were evaluated and found to significantly suppress the growth and cellular reproduction of breast cancer, which suggests that these fungi can act as natural chemo protectors against this type of cancer.
Also, shiitake mushrooms contain lentinan, a compound that can help to extend the survival of patients with some cancers, when used with chemotherapy. It has approved as an adjuvant for stomach cancer since it has antitumor effects.
The lentinan compound does not kill cancer cells directly. Instead, it improves the immune system, which can help to slow the growth of tumors. The compound also kills viruses and microbes directly.
How To Cook Mushrooms In A Healthy Way
Fungi often contain chemical compounds that can interfere with digestion and absorption of nutrients. Sufficient cooking breaks the walls of the cells, inactivates the anti-digestive elements, and destroys many toxins. The healthfullest way to cook mushrooms is to bake them or grill them. Unlike frying or grilling, baking the mushrooms causes fewer nutrients to be lost during the cooking process. And even though the grill can cause some loss of nutrients, the use of a little oil in the process adds antioxidants.