Known for their distinct flavor, mushrooms are small in size but large in nutrients. For centuries, mushrooms have been revered as a delicious food and a powerful medicine. Ancient Romans regarded mushrooms as a nutritious food that provided strength to soldiers. Egyptians celebrated mushrooms as a food fit for royalty.
There are around 300 species of edible mushrooms. Mushrooms are actually classified as neither a plant nor an animal but a fungus. Mushrooms provide myriad nutrition and health benefits. Let’s have a look at some of the benefits of eating mushrooms:
- Mushrooms are loaded with plant antioxidants that boost immune system and help protect against flu, cold and infections. Oyster mushrooms are especially high in antioxidants.
- Mushrooms are an excellent source of beta-glucan, a unique type of soluble fiber proven bring cholesterol down (LDL – bad cholesterol) and improve cardiovascular health.
- Portobello mushrooms contain the compound ergosterol which is a potent anti-inflammatory which helps keep the heart healthy and prevent heart disease.
- Mushrooms are a great source of potassium, copper, phosphorous, vitamin C, selenium and iron that provide protection against free radicals in body. Especially white button mushrooms, which are an unusually rich source of vitamin D. People suffering from vitamin D deficiency can benefit from eating mushrooms as well as wild salmon—two natural food sources of vitamin D.
- There are various types of mushrooms available in the market. The most common variety – white button mushrooms such as crimini contain compounds that help inhibit cancer cell growth. Studies have found that eating mushrooms may play a role in prevention of breast and prostate cancers in particular.
- Mushrooms are abundant in B vitamins, including niacin and riboflavin. Mushrooms are also extremely low on the GI scale, hence they have zero effect on blood sugar level.
- Mushrooms are low in calories which makes them an excellent aid for weight loss.
Cholesterol free, fat free, low in sodium, and incredibly low in calories; mushrooms are a nutrition powerhouse and a heart healthy food. Add them to your daily diet for better health and weight control.