Nature's Perfect Food: Mushrooms
According to the hieroglyphics of more than 4,600 years ago, the ancient Egyptians considered mushrooms to be the plant of immortality. While this food won’t really give you any divine powers or make you immortal, it will provide you with a huge number of significant health benefits.
Nutritional Profile Of Mushrooms
- Mushrooms are high in fiber and low in carbs.
- They have few calories, but are very filling to support healthy weight loss.
- They are a great source of selenium, iron, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and niacin.
- They are high in potassium; in fact, a 3-ounce portabella mushroom cap contains more potassium than a medium-sized banana. Potassium supports heart health.
- On top of that, they contain very little sodium, and no fat or cholesterol.
Another thing that makes them perfect is the fact that they can be added into virtually any meal.
It’s worth noting that there are many types of different mushrooms, besides your typical creminis, including, portabella mushrooms, white button mushrooms, and shiitakes.
As a precaution, please note that they do contain a compound called Agaratine that can be carcinogenic when eaten in big doses. Thankfully, by cooking mushrooms, you will remove the presence of this compound. This is why it’s not a good idea to eat mass amounts of them in raw form, but to cook them instead.
It’s best to consume a variety of mushrooms.
Here are some of the best types of mushrooms that you can include in your diet:
Shiitake. These mushrooms are best known for containing a compound called eritadenine, which is able to lower your blood cholesterol levels. They’re also said to have anticancer and antiviral effects. Dried shiitakes boast the same health benefits.
Reishi. For thousands of years, this mushroom has been used for medicinal purposes in Asia. Some of the most prominent health benefits of Reishi mushrooms include regulation of the immune system, numerous anti-inflammatory effects, as well as antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.
This mushroom is also significant because of its ganoderic acid content. This compound is currently being used to treat leukemia, lung cancer, as well as other types of cancer.
Enoki. Known for their immune-enhancing effects, enoki mushrooms are mostly included in salads and soups (due to their mild taste).
Lion’s Mane. Otherwise known as Hericium erinaceus, these mushrooms don’t provide you with the typical health benefits you would expect from this type of food. According to a study conducted by the Hokuto Corporation of Japan, Lion’s Mane mushrooms are able to improve mild cognitive impairment.
Turkey Tail. Turkey Tails (also known as cloud mushrooms, or Coriolis) are the most extensively researched medicinal mushrooms. Turkey Tail mushrooms improve immune function, and can be used to treat a number of different infections. They are also used to treat chronic fatigue. The extracts from these mushrooms are usually found in capsule or liquid form.
Himematsutake. Thanks to six special polysaccharides found in Himematsutakes, these mushrooms have incredible anticancer properties. They are also able to normalize your cholesterol levels, reduce insulin resistance for diabetes, and improve both your skin and hair health.
Cordyceps. Best known for improving athletic performance, you can buy them dried, whole, or powdered. Dried cordyceps are excellent additions to stews and soups, while the powdered version can be used to make tea. You can also find cordyceps extracts in capsule and liquid form.
Maitake. Maitake are considered to be among the most delicious mushrooms in the world. You can buy them whole or dried. Either way, you will experience some great health benefits. Maitakes are known for strengthening the immune system, while they also boast antiviral and anticancer properties. They will help you control your blood sugar levels as well.
When you’re in a supermarket, avoid buying canned mushrooms, as they often contain a lot of sodium. Otherwise, buying them dried or fresh is always a good idea, considering how they will be able to improve the quality of your life.