Have you heard that mushrooms are good for you? So good, in fact, that people often use them as medicine.
It was recorded that almost every ancient civilization around the world has used mushrooms for their healing properties for thousands of years. (Ancient Egyptians even called them the plant of immortality.)
But you may not realize just how powerful edible mushrooms can be for healing people and maintaining optimum health.
Extraordinary Health Benefits of Mushrooms for Humans
Mushrooms are considered superfood, and one of the most health-promoting foods on the planet. An estimated 50% of edible mushrooms are considered functional foods, meaning that they have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition.
Mushrooms contain protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These can have various health benefits.
For example, antioxidants are chemicals that help the body eliminate free radicals.
Free radicals are toxic by-products of metabolism and other bodily processes. They can accumulate in the body, and if too many collect, oxidative stress can result. This can harm the body’s cells and may lead to various health conditions.
Among the antioxidant agents in mushrooms are:
- vitamin C
Mushroom and cancer
The antioxidant content in mushrooms may help prevent lung, prostate, breast, and other types of cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Research found that certain varieties of mushrooms have been shown to have potential in protecting against cancer by protecting our cells against DNA damage but also inhibiting tumour formation. There is also some evidence that they may be beneficial in the treatment and management of neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s.
Mushrooms can make you younger (antiaging effect)
Mushrooms contain a super-high concentration of two antioxidants, ergothioneine and glutathione, a 2017 Penn State study reported. When these antioxidants are present together, they work extra-hard to protect the body from the physiological stress that causes visible signs of aging (translation: wrinkles).
Mushrooms can promote your heart health
Oxidative stress, inflammation, and high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are strongly linked to heart disease, and white mushrooms’ content of ergothioneine and beta glucan may help reduce this risk.
Beta glucan is a type of soluble fibre that lowers blood cholesterol levels through its ability to form a gel-like substance when digested. It then traps triglycerides and cholesterol, preventing their absorption research showed.
Similarly, research suggests that ergothioneine may help reduce triglyceride levels after a meal.
One study in 10 men found that consuming either 2 teaspoons (8 grams) or 1 tablespoon (16 grams) of mushroom powder as part of a meal significantly reduced their blood triglycerides levels, compared with the control group.
Researchers attributed this effect to the powder’s ergothioneine content.
Additionally, ergothioneine may help inhibit arterial plaque development, a risk factor for heart disease that may lead to high blood pressure and stroke among.
Mushrooms and brain health
Those two aforementioned antioxidants (ergothioneine and glutathione) may also help prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, the Penn State researchers say. They recommend eating at least five button mushrooms per day to reduce your risk of neurological illness in the future. Always cook your mushrooms to best preserve their nutritional benefits.
Another mental mushroom-related benefit: Researchers at the National University of Singapore found that eating two 3/4 cup servings of cooked mushrooms per week may reduce your odds of mild cognitive decline in a 2019 study.
Mushrooms can help in weight loss
Mushrooms have a lot of nutritional value with few calories and little fat. They also contain two types of dietary fibres, beta-glucans and chitin, which increase satiety and reduce appetite.
In one study, researchers gave people less meat and more mushrooms in place of meat. After just one year, people reported feeling healthier, and they lost a lot of weight, had less diabetes, and their blood pressure and cholesterol went down.
Helping digestion with mushrooms
Mushrooms are a gut-friendly food.
They are prebiotic, which means they nourish the good bacteria in your gut. They’ve also been found to balance the microbiome’s beneficial bacteria, such as Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium.Click here to change this text