Mushrooms are forms of fungus, many of which are edible and can be consumed by humans. They are enjoyed around the world due to their delicious taste and impressive nutritive value. They are so widely praised because they not only contribute normal nutrients and benefits of vegetables, but they also contribute nutrients commonly found in animals, beans, and grains as well. They are commonly known as the “meat” of the vegetable world. This makes mushrooms a well-rounded and nutritive part of any healthy diet and they are commonly found in cuisines all around the world. They are also found all around the world, since fungi commonly grow in dark, damp places, or on top of a food source that they are decomposing.
Nutritional Value of Mushrooms
Mushrooms have a wealth of different nutrients and minerals contained in their edible bodies, but the most interesting thing is that mushrooms take on the nutritive composition of the food that they decompose/consume. Therefore, mushrooms can contain any number of unique and beneficial minerals for humans. The most common minerals found in mushrooms are selenium, copper, potassium, and phosphorous, with smaller amounts of iron, magnesium, zinc, and manganese.
Mushrooms also contain protein and dietary fiber, two other essential components of a healthy diet. Mushrooms are low in saturated fat and sodium, and very low in cholesterol.
Caloric Content of Mushrooms
One of the main reasons why people love to eat mushrooms is that they don’t make you gain weight, yet they provide so many nutrients! In a 100 gram serving of mushrooms, there are only 22 calories, and only 3 of those calories are from fat!
Vitamin Content of Mushrooms
The vitamin content of mushrooms is also rather impressive. Common mushrooms are rich in the B-complex vitamins, including pantothenic acid, niacin, and riboflavin, as well as slightly lower levels of thiamin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin D. They are the only “vegetable” in the produce aisle that supplies you with vitamin D, so keep that in mind when putting your balanced diet together!
Health Benefits of Mushrooms
Some of the miraculous health benefits of mushrooms include their ability to lower bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and raise good cholesterol levels (HDL), which protects heart health and reduces blood pressure. The high-energy, low-fat composition of mushrooms also makes it ideal for diabetic patients who want to maintain a good balance of vitamins and minerals in their bloodstream so the insulin is well-regulated.
In terms of the mineral content, mushrooms help prevent anemia by contributing iron and copper to the diet, which are essential for red blood cell production. The minerals also boost bone mineral density and help prevent conditions like osteoporosis and arthritis. The potassium keeps blood pressure low, while selenium protects the hair, nails, and teeth, along with acting as a powerful antioxidant.
Mushrooms as a whole are great antioxidants, which have been proven to protect against a variety of cancers, including breast cancer and prostate cancer.
The vitamin content is equally significant, especially vitamin C’s immune boosting capabilities and the presence of vitamin D, a rare vitamin to find in vegetables that is essential for calcium uptake and proper metabolic functioning.
Overall, it is safe to say that mushrooms are a “superfood” that can help improve your health in a variety of ways thanks to its impressive nutritional value.