Mushrooms are extremely popular and used in some dishes such as pasta, pizzas, omelets, and casseroles. The delicious earthy flavor and smooth texture made them a favorite delicacy among royals during the Medieval Era. Nowadays, people everywhere enjoy them for both its taste and health benefits. This article brings you six health benefits of eating mushrooms:
6. They help your immune system
Fungi contain a sugar called beta-glucan. They also contain a compound known as lentinan. These compounds have properties that make them boosters for the body’s immune system and can help to prevent minor illnesses. Beta-glucan can be found in many different types, however, lentinan, found in shiitake mushrooms are rarer and more expensive when compared to others.
5. They are rich in Vitamin B and D
Mushrooms are one of the rare food sources that naturally contain vitamin D. Button mushrooms are high in vitamin D, and Criminis are full of both vitamin D and vitamin B12. B vitamins are necessary because they help convert food into fuel for our bodies, giving us energy. Meanwhile, D vitamins are vital because they help our bodies absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Vitamin D is also necessary for healthy bones, teeth, and hair.
4. Anti-inflammatory properties
Studies have shown that many varieties of mushrooms contain a powerful antioxidant called ergothioneine. This compound can help reduce inflammation in various parts of the body. Reishi mushrooms contain lots of ergothioneine that not only reduce inflammation, but they also shrink tumors and fight diseases. In fact, they have been used in East Asia for centuries as a natural cure for inflammation and painful joints.
3. They can lower the levels of blood cholesterol
Mushrooms are a healthy diet option because they contain no cholesterol. However, they also contain chitin and beta-glucan; both of which can reduce cholesterol. Some studies have shown that pink oyster mushrooms can also lower the levels of LDL (the ‘bad’ cholesterol) in the blood. Also, the shiitake variety can help the liver digest cholesterol and remove it from the bloodstream. Many nutritionists claim that mushrooms can even prevent fats from building up in blood vessels, improving the blood circulation.
2. ‘Magic’ mushrooms can help cancer patients
Clinical trials have shown evidence that psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychedelic compound found in certain mushrooms can reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression or a fear of death in patients with cancer. Also, these trials have proved that these mushrooms can help people with PTSD or depression.
1. They can fight cancer
Studies have shown that mushrooms can suppress the growth and reproduction of breast cancer cells. These properties are present in varieties such as oyster, portobello, crimini and white button. Also, there is evidence that shows that the lentinan in shiitake mushrooms can extend the survival of cancer patients who have gone through chemotherapy. They can slow down the rate of the growth of tumors, increasing the chances of remission.