Mushrooms are nature’s hidden treasures of nutrition. Many people like them for their satisfying meaty taste and their versatility. But are they really good for you? The answer is yes! In fact, you will be surprised to learn about the nutritional benefits of mushrooms. For thousands of years, mushrooms have been used in eastern medicine for their various health benefits
Ergothioneinie is a naturally occurring antioxidant that protects the body’s cells against oxidative stress which may slow down the aging process. Mushrooms are the richest source of erogthioneinine. In fact, one serving of white, portabella, or cremini mushrooms provide around 2.8- 4.9mg of ergothioneinine
Mushrooms are good sources of some B vitamins like Riboflavin or Vitamin B2, Pantothenic acid or Vitamin B5, and Niacin or Vitamin B3 These B vitamins play an essential role in the nervous system and provide energy by breaking down carbohydrate, fat, and protein. Mushrooms are also a good source of some important minerals like selenium, potassium, and copper
Selenium , an antioxidant, can keep the body’s cells healthy and prevent heart disease and cancer. Selenium also promotes a strong immune system and fertility in men. Mushrooms are the richest vegetable source of selenium . This is especially good news for vegetarians since selenium is often found in animal foods .
Potassium helps control blood pressure since it helps maintain normal fluid and mineral balance. It also helps the nerves, the heart, and other muscles function normally
Vitamin D is important for strong and healthy bones since it helps us absorb the calcium from our diet . Deficiencies in vitamin D can lead to soft, thin, and brittle bones; a condition called osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children.
However, emerging research has suggested the role of vitamin D in various other conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, immunity, neuropsychological functioning, physical performance, and reproduction. Limited sun exposure, darker skin, and insufficient vitamin D levels in the diet can cause vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is only present in a few foods including: milk, fatty fish like salmon, fortified cereal, and juice. However, mushrooms are the only food from the produce aisle that have vitamin D. The vitamin D content in mushrooms is often increased by exposing them to ultraviolet light, and these new varieties of mushrooms are available in grocery stores. In fact, some light-exposed mushrooms found in a few stores have up to 400 IU of vitamin D in 1 serving of mushrooms (4-5 white button cremini mushrooms
Umami and Sodium Mushrooms are a good source of umami, the pleasant savory and ‘earthy’ taste. Mushrooms are naturally low in sodium and their umami flavor makes up for the lack of saltiness. Hence, less salt can be used in a dish with mushrooms without compromising the taste. A collaborative report from the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health and the Culinary Institute of America suggests cooking with foods rich in umami, like mushrooms!