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Health Benefits Of Mushrooms – Why Should You Select Mushrooms From Your Restaurant Menu?

Though mushrooms are not regularly consumed by most of us, they make the best dietary options. Wondering what is so good about mushrooms? These amazing health benefits of mushrooms apart from a mind-blowing fact that they are absolutely free of fats and cholesterol, low in calories and enriched with nutrients will totally convince you to consume them more often.

health benefits of mushrooms

Are Mushrooms Healthy? What Are Mushrooms Good For?

Regular consumption of mushrooms assists in weight loss controls blood pressure, improves bone strength, enhances digestion, cures anaemia, helps those suffering from diabetics, boosts immunity and reduces high cholesterol.

However, you need to ensure that you are not exceeding the limits of mushroom consumption as it may lead to side effects.

Mushrooms are a good source of fibre, which is why consuming an excess of them may cause bloating and abdominal pain.

Some studies say that mushrooms may prevent the risk of cancer but a detailed analysis and further experiments are necessary to prove the statement.

Which Kinds Of Mushrooms To Choose?

Mushrooms are basically fungi and you will be surprised to know that some mushrooms are poisonous too. So, it is always better to avoid plucking the mushrooms for cooking and edibility and start opting for the ones that are already available at the grocery stores.

The best mushrooms that are edible are the ones which are easily available at the supermarket like shiitake, button mushroom, crimini, oyster, enoki, beech, maitake and Portobello.

Health Benefits Of Mushrooms – How Are Mushrooms Good For You?

Here is exactly what mushrooms can do to your overall health.

1. How Do Mushrooms Help In Weight Loss?

How do mushrooms help in weight loss

There are only 43.7 calories in mushrooms (one cup which weighs 156 grams). Lower the calories more are the benefits since weight increases with the intake of calories.

Also, mushrooms are great for increasing vitamin D levels in the body. More amount of vitamin D can support weight loss and decrease body fat.

Mushrooms being a good supplier of fibres (14% RDA) and proteins (7% RDA), can keep your stomach full and occupied.

Therefore, mushrooms can reduce your hunger levels and keep appetite in controls. Studies and experiments say that adding Shiitake mushrooms to your regular diet can prevent weight gain, prevent the accumulation of fat and they can prevent the risk of obesity. 1

2. Boosts Immunity

Boosts immunity

Mushrooms are a good source of beta glucans which are a kind of sugars that can activate the immune response. 2

Moreover, mushrooms contain a special type of antioxidant called ergothioneine which can fight the free radicals and prevent diseases. 3 Free radicals are those harmful substances which damage the healthy cells and reduce immunity.

Antioxidants prevent damage by fighting free radicals.

Apart from the antioxidant and beta glucans, the major health benefits of mushrooms are due to the presence of vitamin B (niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6. Pantothenic acid, thiamine and folate) which prevent various deficiency related disorders and infections.

If you are someone who can easily catch a cold or an infection, regular consumption of mushrooms can prevent the occurrence.

3. Protects Your Heart From Cardiovascular Diseases

Protects your heart from cardiovascular diseases

With the increase in the number of heart diseases and the reason for this unfortunate situation being a high blood cholesterol level and fats, there is a dire need to keep a check on cholesterol and follow a healthy diet to regulate the levels.

However, not all cholesterol is bad. Cholesterol can be classified as good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterols.

Experiments conducted on rats have proved that the consumption of white button mushrooms can lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase the good cholesterol (HDL).4

Not just this, white button mushrooms can also reduce the levels of triglycerides, the excess of which is known to causes heart diseases.

The same has been proved to be true in the case of oyster mushrooms. 5

How Much Cholesterol And Triglycerides Is Safe?

According to the National Cholesterol Education Program, the following table represents the exact parameters for the amounts of HDL, LDL and triglycerides that should be present in our body. 6

 Low Normal High
HDL (Good Cholesterol)<40 (mg/dL)40-60 (mg/dL) (favourable)>60 (mg/dL)
LDL (Bad cholesterol)<100 (mg/dL) (favourable) >160 (mg/dL)
Triglycerides<150 (mg/dL)(favourable)>500 (mg/dL)

The numbers which have been mentioned “favorably” are the exact amounts a healthy adult must possess.

4. Mushrooms For Diabetics

Mushrooms for diabetics

Diet, Nutrition and physical activity are very much to be monitored by diabetics. Knowing what to eat is essential since certain foods can cause a sudden rise in blood glucose.

So, it always better to know the glycemic index of the food. Glycemic index is the number which indicates the ability of the food to get digested in the blood.

Lower the glycemic index, greater is the advantage since foods with a low GI help in the slower release of glucose into the blood because it digests the carbohydrates at a much slower pace.

The glycemic index of mushrooms is just 10 which is of a superficial advantage for diabetics. Moreover, mushrooms can protect the damage of beta cells. Beta cells are found in the pancreas and they help in the making of insulin hormone. 7

One of the best benefits of eating mushrooms for diabetics is that they keep the weight in control and prevent the risk of obesity which is more likely to be developed by people with high blood sugar!

5. Mushrooms Can Regulate Your Blood Pressure

Mushrooms can regulate your blood pressure

Mushrooms have the ability to reduce the blood pressure but it is only the Maitake mushrooms that show the desired effect.8

High blood pressure increases the force with which the blood flows in the arteries which in turn reduces the elasticity of the artery lining and this limits the flow of blood to the heart.

When there is a reduced flow of blood to the heart, the risk of heart attacks increases. Moreover, high blood pressure increases the risk of other disorders like dementia, mild cognitive impairment, Transient ischemic attack, kidney failure, nerve damage and retinopathy (blood vessel damage).

But, you may have to only select maitake type of mushrooms if you want a significant reduction in your blood pressure levels.

6. Mushrooms Improve Your Bone Health

Mushrooms improve your bone health

Osteoporosis is the most common bone problem the risk of which increases with the increase in age. This is because our bones lose density as we age.

Some crucial factors like diet and physical activity also play a major role in determining bone strength.

Osteoporosis is more likely to occur in people who do not consume required amounts of calcium through their regular diet, those who are underweight and those who have undergone gastrointestinal surgery.

The best thing you can do to prevent the risk of osteoporosis is to include a diet rich in calcium, vitamin D and get indulged in any kind of physical activity so as to keep a check on your weight and to keep up the bone health.

Mushrooms (both shiitake and maitake) are known to decrease the bone resorption.9 Bone resorption is the process in which much of calcium is lost from the bones into the blood.

7. Mushrooms Can Also Improve Digestion

Mushrooms can also improve digestion

An optimum intake of fibre is essential for keeping the digestive system healthy. On average, a healthy adult should be taking 25-38 grams of fibre per day.

Mushrooms are a good source of fibre. One cup of cooked mushrooms (156 grams) helps you meet 14% RDA of fibre.

Consuming the recommended amount of fibre per day keeps your digestive system healthy and clean because of its ability to add more bulk to your stools and its ability to let the food pass through the digestive system much easier. 10

Interestingly, mushrooms can also improve your gut health by promoting good bacteria. A study reveals that mushrooms can act as prebiotics which can enhance your overall gut system. 11

8. Mushrooms Can Prevent Cancer

Mushrooms can prevent cancer

There is no clear evidence to prove that mushrooms can cure cancer. However, the presence of vitamins and minerals in them apart from antioxidants says that they can combat the free radical activity. 12

Free radicals are naturally present in our body which damage the healthy cells and their DNA, leading to mutations.

An unstopped free radical activity can lead to cancer which is why it is essential to consume foods rich in antioxidants.

Antioxidants stop the free radical activity, thereby preserving the healthy cells and their functioning. Moreover, studies and evidence suggest that fibre rich foods can prevent the risk of various types of cancers.13

Foods containing fibre can prevent colon cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer and gastrointestinal cancer.

Medicinal mushrooms are an aspect of cancer treatment in China and Japan. Further studies are being performed to know whether mushrooms can prevent the growth of tumours. 14

9. Benefits Of Eating Mushrooms For Anaemic Patients

Mushrooms can heal anemia

People suffering from Anemia do not have a proper supply of oxygen to their tissues.

This shows up in the form of various symptoms such as dizziness, inability to concentrate, fatigue, loss of energy, insomnia, pale skin, dizziness, shortness of breath and irregular heartbeat.

Surprising as it may seem, iron deficiency is not the only cause of Anemia. Lack of copper in the body can also prevent normal absorption of iron by our body, resulting in anaemia.

Mushrooms are a great source of both iron (15% RDA) and copper (39% RDA) which make them a perfect choice for anaemia treatment.

Experiments conducted on rats revealed that the supplementation of copper could successfully correct the deficiency of anaemia which proved the role of copper in the synthesis of haemoglobin. 15 16

Mushroom Nutrition Value

Mushrooms are a powerhouse of nutrition. The greatest nutritional property of mushrooms is that they can synthesize vitamin D when exposed to the sun.

They contain two important antioxidants called ergothioneine and glutathione which exhibit scavenging property so as to fight the free radicals and prevent their deterioration. 17

Vitamins In Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a great supplier of niacin followed by pantothenic acid and riboflavin. They also provide good amounts of vitamin C, vitamin D, thiamine, vitamin B6 and folate.

Minerals In Mushrooms

Mushrooms supply copper in great amounts with 39% RDA followed by selenium, potassium, sodium, Iron, phosphorous, Manganese, Zinc, Iron, magnesium and calcium.

Calories In Mushrooms

One cup of mushrooms (156 grams) provides only 43.7 calories. Total carbohydrates account to 8.3 grams for the same quantity.

Dietary Fibres, Proteins And Fats

One cup (156 grams) fulfils 14% of daily recommended fibre intake and 7% of daily protein intake. The fibre in mushrooms can keep your digestive system healthy and may also prevent various types of cancers.

Mushrooms are very low in fats. They provide little amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.

Here is a complete representation of mushroom nutritional value & the amount of each nutrient that it exactly provides.

Vitamins Grams %DV (Percentage of daily requirement that it meets)
Vitamin C6.2 mg 1%
Vitamin D32.8 IU 8%
Thiamin 0.1 mg 8%
Riboflavin 0.5 mg 28%
Niacin 7.0 mg 35%
Vitamin B6 0.1 mg 7%
Folate 28.1 mcg 7%
Pantothenic acid 3.4 mg 34%
Choline 31.0 mg
Minerals Grams %DV (Percentage of daily requirement that it meets)
Calcium 9.4 mg 1%
Iron 2.7 mg 15%
Magnesium 18.7 mg 5%
Phosphorous 136 mg14%
Potassium 555 mg 16%
Sodium 371 mg 15%
Zinc 1.4 mg 9%
Copper 0.8 mg 39%
Manganese 0.2 mg 9%
Selenium 20.9 mcg 3%
Other elementsGrams %DV (Percentage of daily requirement that it meets)
Carbohyrdates 8.3 grams 3%
Proteins 3.4 grams 7%
Fats 0.7 grams 1%

Bottom Line

A healthy dietary inclusion that is low in calories, free of cholesterol and fats, rich in fibres and essential nutrients definitely serves our health in numerous ways.

Mushrooms are particularly a good source of copper, Vitamin B, selenium and riboflavin. Health benefits of mushrooms include weight loss, increase in immunity, prevention of cardiovascular diseases, decrease in blood pressure, control of blood sugar levels, enhancement of digestion and improvement of bone health.

Mushrooms may prevent cancer but much more analysis is needed to confirm this. The presence of iron and copper in mushrooms has proven to be effective for the treatment of anaemia.

Now that you are aware of a wide range of impact that mushrooms have on your health, it’s time to prioritize mushrooms from a restaurant menu the next time.

Get complete information about mushroom benefits in pictorial representation:

Mushroom health facts