Mushrooms have been growing in popularity over the last several years, but did you know that they’re as healthy as they are scrumptious? Mushrooms have been used in Eastern traditional medicine for thousands of years, providing benefits that include, but are not limited to, supporting the immune system, promoting healthier skin, and enhancing mood. Read more to find out how mushrooms can promote your overall health, and how you can incorporate these fungi into your favorite recipes, including desserts!
It has long been known in Eastern cultures that mushrooms have incredible medicinal properties, but only recently have scientists been digging into those purported benefits. In fact, most ancient civilizations have used mushrooms for their health-promoting benefits! Over 200 conditions have been identified as potentially benefiting from mushroom consumption. Mushrooms are able to affect many of your physiological systems and their function, meaning the benefits are seemingly endless! From giving your immune system a boost to balancing blood sugar, the results have been astounding.
Here are seven reasons why you should you be hanging out with these fungi:
1. Mood-Boosting Stay balanced with three B vitamins, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, that help regulate your mood. Reishi mushrooms, in particular, are great for this benefit because of their mood-boosting compounds! These relaxing mushrooms have been studied to reduce both anxiety and depression thanks to their richness in the compound triterpene. Reishi can also promote better sleep. Having better rest can lead to an enhanced mood for the following day! Mushrooms, in general, contain B vitamins, which are great for converting nutrients into much-needed energy. B vitamins are able to prevent you from experiencing, for example, “brain fog” and some other conditions that may occur due to stress.
2. Great for skin B vitamins and master antioxidant, ergothioneine, are anti-inflammatory! Many skin care products use mushroom extract for this reason. Antioxidants are incredibly helpful in reducing skin irritation as well as inflammation. Mushrooms that have these antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, such as shiitake mushrooms, have been studied to contain phenolic veratric acid, which can reduce wrinkles.
3. Antiviral Natural antiviral effects bind to viral cells and prevent them from replicating. Inhibiting viruses helps prevent you from contracting a disease, and mushrooms are additionally able to decrease how severe illness is for those who had already become sick! Some mushrooms, for instance, have been studied to show that they increase the production of B and T lymphocytes. These immune cells are what help manage our body’s response to dangerous bacteria called pathogens, but also includes viruses too!
4. Blood Sugar Stabilizers Mushrooms help to regulate glucose levels so they are beneficial for diabetics and hypoglycemics. We like to point to Cordyceps mushrooms for this example because of how great they are when it comes to managing blood sugar levels that are safe for your body. Studies have shown that these caterpillar-fungi hybrid mushrooms are able to lower blood sugar as well as triglyceride and cholesterol levels naturally.
5. Immune System Boosters Mushrooms are one of the only natural food sources of ergosterols, a compound that creates Vitamin D, which alongside beta-glucans stimulate your immune system. Research has revealed that mushrooms are actually quite rich in vitamin D2. Shiitake mushrooms in particular produce vitamin D2, vitamin D3, and vitamin D4.! Because mushrooms, in general, are so high in antioxidants like germanium and ergothioneine, they are able to help prevent damage caused by free radicals. As we said before, the B and T lymphocytes’ increased production due to mushrooms can not only protect you from pathogens and viruses but also toxins and other substances that could cause disease and illness!
Get ready to combat diseases – mushrooms provide you with so many important vitamins, enzymes, and minerals that can help support your body’s overall health!
6. Cancer Prevention Mushrooms provide us with nutrients like potassium and selenium, which help to combat prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease. Antioxidants may also be effective in helping to treat cancer and AIDs.
In fact, mushrooms have been come to known for some as a natural cancer remember because of their ability to increase those natural killers (NK) cells, which are immune cells that find and kill cancerous cells. This can be accredited to the beta-glucan molecule called lentinan; this molecule basically “wakes up” natural killer cells and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha activity, to lead to tumor cell death.
Impressed yet? One study showed mushrooms as crucial components of many anti-cancer processes, including the induction of reactive oxygen species, the inhibition of mitotic kinase, and apoptosis, which is merely a fancy term that refers to the death of cells as a part of the natural order of the body. Mushrooms are here to prevent cell mutations and protect your precious DNA!
7. Low-Calorie Solution Want to know just how low-calorie mushrooms can be? Let’s take a look at raw white mushrooms! 1 cup of sliced white mushrooms equals a mere 15 calories (8). With calories as low as that, don’t be afraid to toss some delicious chopped mushrooms into your next meal! Mushrooms are additionally low in sugar (that same cup only has about 1.39 grams of sugar total). They also have less than 1 gram of fat! We particularly love the varieties shiitake and maitake (aka hen of the woods).
As a side note, because mushrooms are also very low in carbohydrates, they are great to consider implementing into your low-carb or keto diet!
Delicious Recipes Using Mushrooms!
There are so many different kinds of tasty mushrooms that can be great for your health. Here are 5 amazing recipes that are some of our personal favorites!
BONUS RECIPES: Incorporate mushrooms into your desserts, too! Mindful Matcha is a sneaky way to reap the benefits of mushrooms in even the sweetest treats!
Adding a mere ½ cup of mushrooms to your diet daily could be enough to enjoy their benefits. Now isn’t this list reason enough to jump off your computer right now and get some?
Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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