Mushrooms are known as immune system enhancers. It is listed as a super food (National Geographic). Mushrooms are actually fungi, not vegetables. Out of 14,000 varieties, 3,000 are edible, 700 have medicinal properties, and less than 1 percent are poisonous (Craig). For this reason, it is advisable not to eat any mushroom that you see growing in the woods or in your yard unless you’ve properly identified it. The most consumed mushroom is the white button variety.
In history, the Chinese have always treasured mushrooms as health food (Craig). . “Lentinan, a beta-glucan isolated from the fruiting body of shiitake mushrooms, appears to stimulate the immune system, help fight infection, and demonstrates anti-tumor activity” (Craig). Asian doctors value edible varieties such as shiitake and maitake (National Geographic). “Shiitake mushrooms have been used for centuries by the Chinese and Japanese to treat colds and flu” (Craig). Mushrooms have other health benefits.
An excellent source of potassium. Potassium lowers blood pressure and reduces your stroke risk. Mushrooms also contain copper, which has cardiovascular protective properties (Craig). Surprisingly, one medium mushroom has more potassium than a banana or a glass of orange juice.
Reduction of certain cancer risks. As it has already been stated, the white button mushroom is the most consumed variety. It reduces the risk of breast and prostate cancer.
A great source of niacin, selenium, and riboflavin. Selenium works with vitamin E as an antioxidant.
Fat-burning food. Mushrooms are low in calories, fat free, and cholesterol free. One of the best things about mushrooms is that they are very low in calories. “One cup of button mushrooms has just 15 calories, while 1 cup of Portobello mushrooms has 22 calories” (Poulos). They contain between 80 to 90 percent water, vitamins, minerals, and beta-glucans, which are “health promoting polysaccharides” that are equivalent to soluble fiber (National Geographic)
Regulate diabetes. Since mushrooms are low in carbohydrates, it can keep blood sugar levels under control.
You can add mushrooms to soups, omelets, or pasta sauce. You can sauté them and put on top of veggie burgers or subs (Poulos). However you choose to prepare mushrooms, they will add pizzaz to your dish.
Craig, Winston. “Health Benefits of Mushrooms”. www.vegetarian-nutrition.info
Poulos, Rob. “Mushroom Nutrition Facts-Health Benefits of Mushrooms”. www.fatburningfurnace.com
White, Linda B. “Foods That Heal”. Washington: National Geographic, 2012. Print.