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Mushrooms: Health Benefits, Nutritional Value And Uses

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“No, mushrooms, please!! “ “Please remove mushroom from my plate”; haven’t we heard these statements from many of us! But there are many benefits of this tiny umbrella-like fungi after which you might think of considering it as a part of your daily meal.

Fun Fact: Portabello, button, and white mushrooms are all the identical mushrooms at different levels of maturity.

Mushrooms are nothing but edible fungus that is now being extensively studied and used for their health benefits. There are many types of mushrooms available, some of them are edible and some are not edible, and maybe poisonous too. Some edible mushrooms commonly available in the market are button, oyster, porcini etc. 

In this article, we will cover the health benefits and nutritional value of mushrooms. We will also learn how to use mushrooms in your dishes.

Nutritional Value of Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a rich source of a group of various antioxidants including Vitamin C, selenium, glutathione, and choline. It is also an excellent source of protein, fiber, and vitamin D.

The nutritional value of all types of mushrooms remains more or less the same. 

1 cup of raw button mushrooms (approximately 70 grams) provides:

  • Energy: 19 kcal
  • Protein: 3 gm
  • Carbohydrates: 1.4 gm
  • Fat: 0.3 gm
  • Fiber: 2.2 gm

Health Benefits of Mushrooms

1: Rich in Immune-Boosting Nutrients:

Mushrooms are rich in antioxidants like selenium, vitamin C and choline. Along with antioxidants, mushrooms also contain protein, B-complex vitamins, and fiber. All these nutrients together help prevent cell and tissue damage and thus support our immune system.

2: Vegetarian Source of Vitamin D:

Corona pandemic has made us well aware of the importance of this one nutrient – Vitamin D. Vitamin D was always known for its bones and joint role, but new research shows that vitamin d can play a very important role in avoiding COVID related deaths by not allowing coronavirus to enter our respiratory tract and protecting like a true warrior. White button mushrooms are commonly consumed mushrooms all over the world. Mushrooms contain a “provitamin” called ergosterol that after exposure to sunlight gets converted to Vitamin D. They are grown right under the sunlight and hence this helps in increasing their Vitamin D concentration while growing. 

3: May Help Prevent Cancers:

Mushrooms have a rich profile of antioxidants and B-complex vitamins. These nutrients are being studied to protect our cells from damage and also may inhibit tumor formation. Due to this mechanism, it may help prevent lung, breast, prostate, and other types of cancer development, as per the National Cancer Institute. 

4: Could Improve Heart Health:

Beta-Glucan is a soluble fiber that is commonly found in mushrooms. This soluble fiber is strongly linked with lowering cholesterol levels and improving heart health. Also practically, mushrooms can be easily replaced with salt because of the presence of glutamate ribonucleotides. These compounds are responsible for the salty, umami taste of mushrooms. Thus, this function can also have a positive impact on your blood pressure and may reduce the risk of heart disease. Antioxidants, low in calories, and Vitamin D are some of the added benefits to improve your heart’s overall health.

5: Might Help Lose Weight

We now know that mushrooms are low in calories, providing merely 19 kcal per 1 cup. But, did you know, it got a job in helping to lose weight. Being a source of protein and fiber, mushrooms can be a part of your diet food. Studies have also shown that mushrooms can help regulate blood sugar levels and thus helps to burn fat tremendously. B-complex vitamins will also provide you energy to perform longer workouts.

6: Can Help to Prevent Wrinkles:

Mushrooms are high in antioxidants like glutathione, Vitamin C, and selenium. These antioxidants are studied to help work against the signs of aging, especially wrinkles.

Uses of Mushrooms

Wide varieties of mushrooms are used extensively used throughout the world. It is known as the “meat” of the vegetarian world, after paneer. Small varieties of mushrooms are usually used in soups or curries, it gives an umami taste to it and also helps thicken the curry or soup. It provides perfect creaminess to the low-calorie dishes like veg. au gratin, soups, curries, or salad dressing. 

Mushrooms taste beautiful when combined with eggs and few spices. Try making egg mushroom scramble on mushroom egg on toast. The grilling or sautéing of mushroom holds its nutritional properties intact as compared to frying them. 

Before preparing the mushrooms, make sure you wash them thoroughly with cold water and wipe them out. Cleaning the mushrooms with a little bit of Maida and cold water can help remove all the dirt in no time.

Always store them in a refrigerator to retain their freshness and for longer shelf life.

Take Away Message:

Mushrooms are quite versatile and it can be enjoyed either raw or cooked depending upon their variety. Every variety of mushrooms has a rich antioxidant profile, excellent vegetarian source of Vitamin D, and also contains protein and fiber. Regular consumption of mushrooms can help lower cholesterol, aids weight loss, might protect from cancers, and helps with healthy skin-aging. Avoid “wild – mushrooms” as they might be toxic, but go for firm, dry and white-colored mushrooms instead. Try replacing high in calories ingredients like maida, or butter with mushrooms and enjoy the same creaminess but with lesser calories.

Read more about: 12 Wonderful Health Benefits of Bhringraj Oil

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

About the author

Riddhi Parmar

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