Across cultures, for thousands of years, mushrooms have been used for food and medicine. They’re rich in properties that help you stay healthy and cut disease risks. With over 10,000 edible varieties, mushrooms are also incredibly versatile in cooking.
Read on to learn how these superfoods are potently healthful!
Why Mushrooms Are Super for Your Health
Rich in B Vitamins that Protect the Heart
Mushrooms contain high amounts of riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) which protect heart health, promote blood flow, and support cholesterol balance. Studies show that pantothenic acid can also help reduce stress. Combined, these benefits lower risks of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
High in Copper for Healthy Immune and Nervous Systems
Your body needs essential trace mineral copper to make red blood cells, absorb iron, and form collogen to keep bones and connective tissues healthy. Copper also helps protect nerve cells, the nervous system, the immune system, and brain development. Since the body doesn’t store copper, you need to consume it daily. A cooked cup of mushrooms provides half to all of your daily copper needs.
Rich in Essential Minerals Potassium and Selenium
Potassium helps all of our cells function normally, regulates the heartbeat, and ensures that muscles and nerves work right. It’s also essential for metabolizing carbohydrates and synthesizing protein. A cup of cooked mushrooms has almost as much potassium as a banana.
Selenium, an antioxidant, is vital for many body processes. It can help improve immunity, cognition, and fertility. It also helps us maintain healthy thyroid function. Mushrooms have about a fourth of our needed daily selenium.
Provide Fiber and Protein with Few Calories
While extremely low in sugar and calories, mushrooms provide protein and fiber, specifically beta glucan, a soluble fiber that may boost heart health, improve cholesterol levels, and reduce risk of type 2 diabetes.
Teeming with Antioxidants that May Lower Oxidative Stress
In addition to selenium, mushrooms are rich in ergothioneine and glutathione, important antioxidants that help protect the body from oxidative stress which can lead to heart disease and cancer.
May Reduce Risk of Cancer
A meta-analysis of nearly 40 years of studies show that mushrooms may reduce your risk of developing cancer, particularly breast cancer. Their bioactive compounds, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and novel antioxidants all contribute to their protective effects.
May Lower Depression Symptoms and Protect Against Mental Illness
Researchers found that people who eat mushrooms have lower risks of depression, bipolar disease, and schizophrenia likely because of amino acid ergothioneine, the antioxidant mentioned above, and potassium, which is believed to lower anxiety. Many farmers are exposing mushrooms to UV light while they grow to boost their vitamin D as well!
Ready to eat more mushrooms? Get some fabulous recipes to try in this article from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.