Mushrooms are drool-worthy ingredients that are packed with impeccable nutrients. They are fungi and generally grow in soil or wood like on the bark of the trees.
Mushrooms are a versatile food that can effortlessly enrich the flavours and benefits of your meal. They have grown to become a popular ingredient in several cuisines across the globe.
Being low in calories and fat while constituting modest amounts of dietary fibre, mushrooms are home to various nutrients like proteins, vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin D, copper, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, phytochemicals, and antioxidants.
Although there are many different types of mushrooms, not all of them can be consumed. But what exactly is the need for including mushrooms, a fungus, in your diet? Well, apart from the charming texture and taste, here we give you five benefits of consuming mushrooms that will help you understand more about this amazing food.
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1. It is a delicious way to dose on immunity boosting nutrients
Mushrooms are a rich source of beta-glucan that is an active polysaccharide. This soluble fibre naturally occurs on the cell wall of the fungi. It is critical for the proper functioning of the immune system as it activates the immune cells called natural killer cells and macrophages.
It strengthens the body’s defence against infection or any foreign body entering and stops the growth or progression of tumours. It can also help maintain blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, and gut health.
Similarly, mushrooms are brimming with B vitamins and are also one of the few non-animal sources of vitamin D, both of which are vital for the proper functioning of the body. They also contain selenium, a powerful antioxidant, which helps to support the immune system and prevent damage to cells and tissues. Therefore, including the ingredient in your diet can help you easily relish the benefits of mushrooms.
2. It can strengthen bones
When it comes to bone health, dairy products are the ones that usually come to mind. But this could become quite a challenge, especially for those following a vegan lifestyle. Mushrooms could be the right way to strengthen your bones in this case. As mentioned, they contain rich vitamin D levels and calcium, potassium, and phosphorus that are essential for building healthy bones.
Mushrooms are also a wonderful alkaline food. Alkaline foods balance opulence acid production typically induced by modern diets that constitute processed foods. Given the lack of fresh vegetables and leafy greens to balance the acidic quality of these foods, the acids tend to eat away the minerals like calcium from the bones.
Hence adding some mushrooms to your meal can help decrease acid levels. Studies indicate that consuming mushrooms in your diet can help prevent bone-related diseases like osteoporosis, bone pain, and bone degeneration.
3. It can pave the way to a healthy heart
Studies indicate that mushrooms have some fat-burning properties that may help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular ailments. Mushrooms are an excellent source of fibre and protein but are low in calories.
This way, the fungi motivate the body to burn fat for producing energy. It also helps to regulate glucose levels in the blood that will keep you energised and active without the need for snacking too often.
Mushrooms can also be beneficial to lose extra weight. Given obesity and diabetes is the leading cause of heart problems, shedding the extra kilos with the help of this superfood can be quite beneficial to maintain a healthy heart.
They can also help prevent cells from sticking to blood vessel walls and forming plaque build-up, which might hinder the blood flow through veins and increase the risk of strokes. The process helps protect the heart by maintaining healthy blood pressure and circulation.
4. It can help the gut
Proper gut health is crucial for any individual. The gut microbiome or the microbes system in the gut is responsible for maintaining this balance. Certain components and nutrients in the mushroom, such as beta-glucan, can act as prebiotics.
Prebiotics are ingredients that help maintain gut health by balancing the gut microbiome. They protect the gut, promote immunity, and support the proper digestion of food to induce optimised nutrient absorption. Therefore, adding mushrooms can help individuals achieve a healthy body by keeping digestive issues at bay.
5. It can help with good mental health
Mushrooms can also benefit your mental wellness like they can influence physical health. The rich concentration of antioxidants, ergothioneine present in the fungi, has proven to help protect the body against cell and tissue damage. This process can reduce the severity of mental health illnesses such as bipolar disorder schizophrenia.
The anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to reduce oxidative stress enable mushrooms to help with issues such as depression. The food can also stimulate neurotrophic factors that support healthy nerve cell growth to improve mental wellness. Being a source of potassium, certain varieties of mushrooms can also lower anxiety and stress-induced disorders, including insomnia.
Things to remember
- Choose mushrooms that look fresh and feel firm
- Always store mushrooms in the refrigerator better enclosed in a paper bag, to retain the freshness.
- You can dry mushrooms to increase the lifetime. In this case, you can soak them in water for about half an hour before you cook to achieve their natural texture and flavour.
Mushrooms are an excellent food that can introduce several powerful benefits to the user. Preparing can be quite fun and easy, and the fungi will instantly hit you with their delicious taste. Make sure to check for the quality of mushrooms by selecting a firm, plump, and clean-looking pieces to enjoy the best taste and effects.
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