So, if you’ve played the “Super Mario” video game, you may remember seeing mushrooms making someone bigger or acting as a shield against adversity. All of that are exaggerations to make the game as interesting as possible, but the truth is that they are symbolic statements.
Eating mushrooms may not make you grow big instantly but it can boost your health in positive ways. Mushrooms play notable roles in growth, development, protection against diseases, and a general healthy outward appearance.
Mushroom is a Fungus
Usually, most people do not think fungus is a good thing to one’s health; which is true, but not entirely true. Mushroom is a fungus, but a good one, and it is good for your health.
Mushrooms are edible fungi scientifically known under the family name “Agaricus”. There are about 140,000 species of mushrooms, 10% of which are familiar to science. The rest are still being studied for their potential health benefit and medicinal applications.
There are many health benefits of mushrooms owing to their very impressive nutritional profile. Mushrooms contain nutrients like –
- Vitamin C
- B vitamins
- Vitamin D
10 Health Benefits of Mushrooms
1. Mushrooms Can Boost the Immune System
Let’s start with how mushrooms can eliminate free radicals in your body and boost your immune system.
There is a lot of content in mushrooms, one of which is known as “Ergothioneine”.
Ergothioneine is a powerful antioxidant that does a really good job of eliminating free radicals from the body. These free radicals, which are released during the metabolic processes of cells, cannot be avoided so long there is life.
However, they are harmful to the body and need to be cleared from the body system. If these free radicals are not eliminated, they can cause significant damages and diseases to the body.
2. Mushrooms are Rich in Selenium
This caption literally translates to; “Mushrooms have anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory potentials”.
We’ve explained how mushrooms can work as an antioxidant, but there is a lot more to this healthy fungus than meets the eye.
Mushrooms’ anticancer ability can be linked to selenium’s ability to reduce DNA damage and oxidative stress.
Inflammation in the body can cause a lot of health complications like asthma. Taking anti-inflammatory foods like mushrooms helps to reduce the level of inflammation in the body as well as the symptoms of asthma.
Eating a lot of mushrooms can improve the level of selenium in your blood, which will, in turn, protect you from cancer, oxidative stress, and inflammation.
3. Mushrooms Help to Lower Cholesterol level
If you really want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, eating cholesterol-free foods like mushrooms can help you do that. When cholesterol level is high in the body, it leads to chest pain, memory impairment, heart attack, stomach ache, reduced blood flow, etc.
Aside from being a cholesterol-free food, mushrooms also contain special compounds that are effective in lowering the cholesterol level in the body. Chitin and beta-glucan are two of such compounds. They are fibers, which means they are good for digestive health too.
Studies carried out by professionals is of the opinion that mushroom contains potent phytonutrient. These phytonutrients help with the circulation of blood by preventing cells from sticking to the blood vessels. This contributes to lowering blood pressure.
4. Mushrooms Strengthen the Body
Here is a good one for vegetarians; mushrooms contain vitamin B12!
Vitamin B12 is most often found in animal products. It supports the function of the nerve and can benefit the body by energy boosting, memory improvement, and even prevent heart diseases. Vitamin B12 helps to prevent anemia, macular degeneration, osteoporosis, birth defects, depression, weakness, memory loss, etc. They help to convert food into fuels for our body to function properly.
Aside from vitamin B12, mushrooms are also rich in other vitamins which play beneficial roles when it comes to health and nutrition.
5. Mushrooms Slow Down the Aging Process
It is no surprise that mushrooms have anti-aging properties. The food is filled with super nutrients with an endless list of health benefits.
You may also know that any food that is rich in antioxidants is also very effective in reducing the aging process. Mushroom is rich in antioxidants, and it has been proven to be very effective in reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
There is absolutely nothing anyone can do to avoid aging. It is a natural process that every human will face if they live long enough to. However, years of exposing your skin to environmental damages and sun cause your skin to develop premature fine lines and wrinkles; not to mention oxidative stress.
Having a lot of antioxidants makes it possible for mushrooms to fight the aging process in order to reduce its rate and bring about a more graceful disposition to the concept of aging.
6. Mushrooms Prevent Diabetes
While there is really no particular factor that can be said to be the cause of all types of diabetes, there are a few things you can do to make sure you don’t develop the diseases in the long run, especially if you’re predisposed to it by genetic makeup, family history, health condition, and environmental factors.
One of the things you can do to prevent diabetes is to eat healthy foods like mushrooms. There are a lot of healthy foods out there (all of which are good for you), but the thing about mushrooms is that they are specifically and naturally composed to suit diabetics.
Mushrooms contain very little fats, cholesterol, and carbs. They are also rich in vitamins, protein, and minerals.
7. Mushrooms Lower Blood Pressure
One of the notable contents of mushrooms is potassium – a healthy compound with a truckload of health benefits. Aside from replenishing lost energy within a very short time, taking potassium-rich foods can help to lower your blood pressure.
If your blood pressure is high, it is good to stay on your pills as prescribed by your doctor. It is also good if you stay on a potassium-rich diet to relax the tensions in your blood vessels, thereby reducing your blood pressure.
8. Mushrooms Increase Iron Absorption
It is not about how much iron you take, but how much copper you have in your body. Copper helps in the absorption of iron, so the two work hand in hand.
Mushrooms contain a healthy dose of copper. Taking them as often as possible can guarantee that you don’t lack copper and that you have a seamless absorption of iron from your meals.
Other benefits of copper include –
- Promotes proper immune function
- Helps in the prevention of cancer
- Enhances bone health
- Good for the heart, etc.
9. Mushrooms are Ideal for Weight Loss
The importance of a low-fat diet can never be under-estimated, especially if you’re looking to lose weight. Mushroom is rich in a lot of nutrients, but poor in carbs (which is a good thing). In essence, you’re free to go for a second, or even a third serving of mushroom and you still would not consume a lot of calories.
Aside from the fact that mushrooms have a negligible amount of calories, it also contains dietary fibers which are great for weight loss and healthy digestion.
10. Mushrooms Prevent Cancer
In the olden days, people believed that mushrooms have some magical powers that bring about long life. They also believe that their powers can cure hideous diseases like cancer.
While there is nothing magical about mushrooms, eating them can surely help you live a long life and prevent diseases like cancer. Also, there are scientific studies to back up these claims.
A research was carried out in Australia involving about 2,000 women. Most of them are either suffering from cancer or had cancer in the past. The study was based on their eating habit, especially with regards to mushrooms.
The result of the study came out and it was discovered that women who consumed at least one mushroom per day were over 60% less likely to have cancer.
We all should be grateful to the great effects of foods like mushrooms. If you’ve never eaten mushrooms before, you should definitely try it.
It may actually interest you to know that Pharaohs in Egypt were so in love with the taste and benefits of mushrooms that they declared it a royal food. They even went ahead to forbade commoners from eating them.
“Thank goodness we no longer live in the days of Pharaohs. But, wait, are mushrooms that good?”
Yes, they are that good!