Are Mushrooms Healthy? Yes and We Have the Reasons for You
If you are wondering, “Are mushrooms healthy?” then you have arrived at the right place! Read the reasons why mushrooms are healthy belowNot only are mushrooms healthy, but they are also delicious and interesting. Well, the gourmet, edible mushrooms are delicious at least. There are many mushrooms that cannot be eaten and some that are even poisonous. Today, however, we are looking at the healthful and medicinal side of the fungi kingdom to answer the question, “Are mushrooms healthy?” To begin, let’s take a look at Mushrooms and Health Summit Proceedings from May 8, 2014. These proceedings come from The Mushroom Council, which held the Mushrooms and Health Summit in Washington, DC on the 9th and 10th of September, 2013. Today I will be highlighting significant pieces from these proceedings. First, let’s look at the nutritional constituents from mushrooms. According to the proceedings, “Mushrooms are a rare source of ergothioneine as well as selenium, fiber, and several other vitamins and minerals. Some preclinical and clinical studies suggest impacts of mushrooms on cognition, weight management, oral health, and cancer risk.” The article continues by taking a high-level stance on human health in relation to the consumption of mushrooms. The proceedings state, “Preliminary evidence suggests that mushrooms may support healthy immune and inflammatory responses through interaction with the gut microbiota, enhancing development of adaptive immunity, and improved immune cell functionality.” So much of human health depends on a healthy immune system and these proceedings are saying that the evidence available at the time suggests that mushrooms have a connection to enhancing immunity.
Are mushrooms healthy? Understanding the presence of umami flavorHere is an excerpt from the study Mushrooms—Biologically Distinct and Nutritionally Unique, which discusses both the umami flavor and some of the nutritional constituents associated:
“Mushrooms have many flavor and nutrient characteristics that make them an ideal addition to many dishes. Their texture and umami or savory flavor properties make them a suitable substitute for meat. Mushrooms contribute moisture that improves the mouth feel and overall sensory appeal of many dishes, whereas their low energy density (about 92% water) can reduce the energy density of the final dish when taking the place of other higher-energy-dense ingredients.”The study continues with a deeper look at the umami flavor and mushroom nutrition:
“The use of other umami-rich ingredients, such as tomatoes, that have a synergistic effect with the umami compounds in mushrooms further adds to the flavor and consumer appeal. The interactions of the umami compounds on taste buds create longer-lasting taste sensations compared with the effects of the compound on their own. Traditional global cuisines have combined multiple umami-rich ingredients for millennia to create iconic dishes. For example, in Chinese cuisine, fresh mushrooms that contain naturally occurring glutamate often are combined with dried, rehydrated mushrooms that contain naturally occurring guanylate. Mushrooms and other vegetables rich in umami also have the benefit of being low in sodium and rich in potassium”
Are mushrooms healthy? Some are even medicinalLet’s take a look at the reishi, Ganoderma lucidum. Reishi is a beautiful and powerful medicinal mushroom. It has long been considered as a healer amongst the forest across the planet. It grows horizontally and resembles an antler at first and, when it is time, will fan the tip of the antler out to create the ‘cap’ of the mushroom. All exempt the rim of the mushroom will change color to shades of yellow, orange, but mostly red. It will have a hardened surface that is glossy and deserves a second look. This mushroom has been long recognized for its ability to assist the immune system but now it is understood how this occurs physiologically. It produces compounds that are antitumor, antibacterial, and antiviral. These compounds and others are immunostimulating and some compounds even enhance natural killer cells ability to fight cancerous cell proliferation. Reishi has potential to increase DNA and RNA synthesis, lower blood pressure, and enhance bone marrow growth. Triterpenes contained in reishi are anti-inflammatory and antitussive. It also is an antioxidant and therefore has the ability to scavenge free radicals.
Are mushrooms healthy? Mushrooms may help reduce meat and salt intakeHere is another interesting piece from Mushrooms and Health Summit Proceedings. “Early sensory research suggests that mushrooms blended with meats and lower sodium dishes are well liked and may help to reduce intakes of red meat and salt without compromising taste.” This is great news for people looking to decrease their consumption of meat and salt while still appreciating the taste. We have some other pieces of content that discuss the nutritious aspects of mushrooms. Here is a look at those article:
- Mushroom Nutrition: Protein, Amino Acids, & Vitamins Are Only the Beginning
- Carbs in Mushrooms: Understanding the Nutritional Value of Mushrooms
- Calories in Mushrooms: Nutritional Info for Eating Mushrooms