While some people have a different (and highly illegal) idea of eating mushrooms, there are many types that are edible as a food. In the culinary world, mushrooms get a lot of use, even though they aren’t typically eaten on their own. From pizzas to salads, mushrooms see a wide range of uses. The texture of mushrooms isn’t quite everyone’s favorite, but you should actually be eating more of them because of the nutritional benefit.
While being a low calorie food, mushrooms can bring a lot of health benefits because of that nutritional content. The mushrooms that we want to focus on are the white type, since they are the most common and tend to have the most benefits. Let’s take a look at what one serving of white mushrooms are going to get for you, and why you should be eating more of them in your diet.
Nutrition of Mushrooms
If you are looking for a low calorie with plenty of good nutrition, mushrooms are a solid way to go with just 15 calories per one cup serving. You will be getting a small amount of protein and dietary fiber to boost your day, while adding important vitamins. Riboflavin is the most abundant with 17 percent of your daily recommendation, while niacin and pantothenic acid are each at 10 percent or more. The other vitamins found in mushrooms (in smaller amounts) include vitamin C, vitamin D, thiamin, vitamin B6 and folate.
Mushrooms also contain some important minerals, with copper being 11 percent of your daily recommendation. While there isn’t one that really stands out outside of copper, mushrooms are still a good source of other minerals. These include iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese and selenium. You’re also not going to get many carbs or sugars.
All of our bodies need more protein to perform efficiently, but it can often come at the price of eating foods that are quite high in carbohydrates. That’s not the case with mushrooms, as there are very few carbs and calories while adding protein. Because of that (and combined with the fact with fiber is present in mushrooms), you are able to lower your cholesterol by eating more mushrooms.
When you eat mushrooms, you will be lowering your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels while also increasing the amount of HDL (good) cholesterol. Not only that, but mushrooms have been shown to have the ability to lower your blood pressure because of the minerals found. People don’t commonly think of mushrooms as a heart healthy food, but they should.
Those minerals that we just mentioned, along with calcium, are going to be beneficial for your bone health. The combination of calcium and vitamin D is essential to building stronger bones, and gives you the ability to prevent bone reduction later in life. This will also help you avoid problems such as osteoporosis and arthritis.
Even if you already experience some of these problems, anti-inflammatory properties in mushrooms can help to ease pain. Bone health is very important the older you get, so protecting your bones with more vitamins and minerals is going to be essential.
Good For the Blood
Anti-inflammation is also important for good blood health, which a lot of people seem to overlook. We already mentioned the benefit that mushrooms can have for your blood pressure and cholesterol, but it can help in many other ways as well. For those that struggle with anemia, getting extra iron from mushrooms is a great way to keep a healthy red blood cell count so that you get an energy boost.
Mushrooms don’t contain sugar, carbs or cholesterol, so they are very low on the glycemic index. This makes them very beneficial for those that are looking to manage their diabetes (or blood sugar in general). Maintaining a healthy blood sugar helps every organ in your body, including the heart and liver. In fact, mushrooms are one of the best foods you can eat for blood health overall.
Antioxidants such as beta-glucans can help fight many different diseases in your body thanks to their attack on free radicals. Free radicals can cause chronic diseases such as cancer, and mushrooms have been shown to lower your chances of certain types that include breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Even if you are just looking for a boost to your immune system, mushrooms help in that department as well. Though they don’t contain a lot of vitamin C, mushrooms still have the power to help you fight off illnesses such as the cold or flu. So from minor sickness to major ones, mushrooms help fight them all.
There are a lot of different ways that mushrooms can help you manage or even lose weight. Mushrooms are incredibly low in calories, and help to boost your metabolism with their fiber content and blood sugar control effect. Studies have even backed up mushrooms’ ability to help people lose weight, with those that ate mushrooms on a daily basis losing more weight overall than those that didn’t.
That added energy boost and simply an easier feeling to your digestive system will also make exercise easier. You probably won’t see people loading up on mushrooms before running a race, but it will help you in the long run. Most people want to find foods simply to lose weight, and mushrooms are a perfect candidate for all of those reasons.
Summing it Up
Eating the normal mushrooms that you find at a grocery store aren’t likely to have any negatives effects to your health unless you happen to be allergic. Certain types of wild mushrooms are very dangerous, but that’s not what we have been referencing. The only thing you need to watch for when eating the store bought white mushrooms is the nutritional value. Since mushrooms contain minerals such as zinc, phosphorus and iron, you only need so much of each mineral per day.
Since there isn’t a very high amount in each serving, you would have to eat a lot of mushrooms on a daily basis while also having a diet high in these minerals outside of mushrooms to see any negative effects. Thankfully, white mushrooms don’t have any negatives when included as part of a regular diet, so you can feel free to add a few servings per week. It will be especially beneficial if you like the taste.