There are thousands of species of mushrooms, many of which can be used to make various dishes: soups, risottos, appetizers, and so on. These unique eukaryotic organisms, combining features of both plants and animals, come in different shapes, colors and sizes. Still, they have one thing in common: mushrooms are a delicious product and very useful.
1. Mushrooms contain many nutrients
Mushrooms are rich in essential nutrients for the body.
- Fiber (soluble and insoluble) improves digestion, helps to normalize weight, and stabilizes blood glucose levels.
- Potassium supports water-salt balance in our bodies. Mushrooms are incredibly high in potassium.
- Selenium improves thyroid function and strengthens immunity. The most outstanding amount of selenium is found in mountain mushrooms.
- Vitamin D strengthens the immune system, improves mood, and helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus. Only mushrooms that grew under the influence of ultraviolet rays contain a lot of vitamin D.
- The antioxidant ergothioneine slows the aging process and reduces the risk of certain age-related diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease.
- In addition, some types of mushrooms are rich in iron, iodine, zinc, vitamins A and B.
2. Improve digestion
Thanks to their high soluble and insoluble fiber content, mushrooms are good for improving digestion, helping food pass through the digestive tract faster and easier. But as with any fiber-rich food, it’s essential to know the limits with mushrooms.
Overuse of dietary fiber can lead to dehydration and flatulence. Also, do not eat mushrooms during the exacerbation of gastrointestinal diseases.
3. Normalize blood sugar levels
Some types of mushrooms, such as oyster mushrooms, reduce the “bad” cholesterol and help normalize blood sugar levels, especially for diabetes or those at high risk of developing this disease.
Oyster mushrooms are some of the most affordable mushrooms: they are cheap and can be bought at any time of year in most grocery supermarkets.
4. Help control weight
Mushrooms are low in calories and low in fat, but they are rich in slow carbohydrates, protein, and water. Because of this composition, mushrooms help control weight because they satiate and fill the stomach well but contain small amounts of calories.
Also, mushrooms, especially portobello (large mushrooms), have a consistency somewhat similar to meat, so they are a great nutritious food for those who have temporarily or permanently given up animal food.
5. Reduces the risk of cancer
The beta-glucan polysaccharide in mushrooms has anti-cancer and immune-stimulating properties (oyster mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms contain most of this substance). This is confirmed by a study by Korean scientists from the National Cancer Center.
The researchers do not believe that mushrooms are a cure-all, but they believe they should be added to dietary recommendations to prevent breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and stomach cancer.