Mushrooms are typically edible fungus that come with a baggage of nutrients. They are often considered a Superfood, as it has rich vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and contains protein. It develops overall bone and brain health, boosts our immune system, prevents catching a cold, and helps us lose weight. The mushrooms are low in calories, sodium, cholesterol and are fat and gluten-free. Mushrooms act as a nutrient-rich addition to your platter, serving the goodness of both vegetables and meat, often used as a substitute for meat by vegetarians and vegans. This fungus comes with intense benefits, and though the taste varies, it has a delicate, tasty, yet spongy texture that needs to be carefully cooked. Thus, mushrooms are an enriching, healthy and versatile food that can bring incredible benefits if added to your everyday diet.
So, let us not delve into the potential health benefits of consuming mushrooms every day.
Nutrient Content of Mushrooms:
Mushrooms are loaded in vitamins, proteins and antioxidants and work wonders as a healthy dietary food that is safe for consumption regularly. The antioxidants present in mushrooms are selenium, vitamin C and choline. It contains the richness of vitamin B like riboflavin (B2), folate (B9), thiamine (B1), pantothenic acid (B5), niacin (B3) and vitamins B6 and B12. Mushrooms are an excellent dietary vegan source of vitamin D. Minerals like iron, copper, phosphorus and potassium are also found in mushrooms, enhancing their nutritional content.
Health Benefits of Mushrooms:
Mushrooms come with intense health benefits, making this Superfood a must to be included in our everyday diet.
- Mushrooms have Cancer resistant properties
The antioxidant-rich contents of mushrooms help prevent the risk of developing various types of cancer like prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, etc. Many researchers note the selenium and small quotient of vitamin D present in mushrooms might prevent cancerous cells’ growth. Even though choline lessens the risk of many forms of cancer, it is debated that it might increase the risk of the onset of prostate cancer. Thus, mushrooms have the potential nutrients that might help prevent life-threatening diseases like Cancer.
- Mushrooms help prevent Diabetes
Mushrooms are known as a great source of fibre. It is often found that people who follow a fibre-based diet have a lower risk of developing Diabetes. As mushrooms are rich in fibre, it might help prevent Type 2 Diabetes. Mushrooms do reduce blood sugar levels and help maintain them to healthy levels. Hence, one can incorporate mushrooms into their everyday diet like vegetables, whole grains and brown rice to build a perfect fibre-based diet.
- Mushrooms promote overall good heart health
Potassium, vitamin C and fibre present in the mushrooms promote good heart health by preventing the development of cardiovascular diseases. The potassium present in the mushrooms helps in controlling blood pressure levels. Beta-glucan, a type of fibre commonly found in some forms of mushrooms like the shiitake mushrooms, helps reduce harmful cholesterol levels. Vitamin C also plays a significant role in preventing any forms of diseases and nourishes heart health.
- Mushrooms boost the immune system
Mushrooms are loaded with antioxidants, making them a must-include item in your everyday diet. Selenium, an antioxidant, is present in high amounts in mushrooms which prevents the body cells from damage, strengthening the immune system and preventing the risks of developing chronic diseases. Amino acid-like ergothioneine, which is mainly found in mushrooms, also helps protect the body cells from any possible damage.
- Mushrooms help in controlling body weight
These edible fungi are a light-weight, low-calorie yet dense food which will leave you with a filling sense after the meal. The mushrooms work by limiting the fat intake and providing energy which quenches hunger and cuts the urge of cravings. Thus, the intake of mushrooms regularly helps control body weight, making it an ideal dietary food item.
- Mushrooms help in developing brain health
The antioxidants and vitamins present in the mushrooms help nourish the nervous system and boost the growth of the cranial nerves, which improves overall brain health. Mushrooms can also potentially help prevent the risk of developing severe brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Mushrooms are helpful during pregnancy
During pregnancy, the women are often put on folate or folic acid supplements to improve the health and growth of the foetus. But mushrooms are high in folate content providing a natural source of folate, which is better than any other supplements promoting overall good foetal health.
Top 10 Types of Mushrooms:
Mushrooms are a perfect ingredient for your dishes in the fall season. It is found in numerous varieties but finding the tastiest, most versatile and easy to use mushroom is crucial. Let us find out the most delicious mushroom varieties available in online and local stores.
- Chicken of the woods: The Chicken of the woods or Laetiporus is an edible mushroom found throughout the world in the forest regions. This mushroom has a succulent meaty texture with a mild lemon taste, often perceived as the flavours of chicken, crabs or lobster. It often acts as a chicken substitute and can be fried, sauteed, blanched and baked.
- Truffles: Truffles are mushrooms that grow under the ground and do not show a definite stem. These truffles are hard to find as they live under the ground, come in small sizes in black colour and have a subtle earthy taste. This expensive mushroom variety is used extensively for pasta, scrambled egg, souffle, soups etc.
- White button mushrooms: White button mushrooms are a popular choice amongst consumers, which has a tender and nutty flavour. It is highly available at online and local stores and is used for pasta and pizzas. This mushroom variant is mainly found in the grasslands of North America and Europe. The white button mushrooms are best for grilling, baking and roasting purposes.
- Portobello mushroom: Portobello mushrooms are mainly used as a meat substitute for the main course. These mushrooms are found majorly in the grasslands of Europe and North America and are famous for their meaty texture with a smoky taste. They are widely available in online and local stores and are typically used in salads, sandwiches, pasta, pizza, barbeques, and garnish for various dishes.
- Shiitake mushroom: The shiitake mushroom is an East Asian mushroom with medicinal value that has gained popularity all across the globe for its unique texture and woody, earthy flavours. This mushroom is ideal for stir fry, elevating its smoky flavours and is a perfect addition to soups. These shiitake mushrooms are also perfectly paired with pork and chicken dishes.
- Oyster mushrooms: Oyster mushrooms resemble the taste of an oyster and come in white, blue, grey and brown shades. These mushrooms, also known as the hiratake mushrooms, originated first in Germany and gained considerable popularity. With a savoury taste with mild earthiness, this mushroom in soups, stir fry, as sauteed for toasts, roasted and added to herbs.
- Enoki mushroom: The enoki mushroom or velvet shank is a widespread edible fungus. This mushroom is popular in Japan and is known as the enokitake. Enokitake come in thin strands with delicate savoury flavours perfect for soups, stir-fries, salads and noodle dishes. It comes in white colour and has a crunchy texture.
- Morchella: Morchella or the true morels are edible honeycomb-like looking mushrooms popular amongst the French cuisine. This mushroom has meaty textures and woody, earthy flavours. The morels taste best when sauteed in butter or grilled. They also add a lot of flavour to risotto and pasta.
- Chanterelle mushroom: The meaty Chanterelle mushroom is found all over Europe and North America. They are the most commonly used mushrooms globally and are known for their unique fruity peach-like flavour minus the sweetness. Chanterelle mushrooms taste best when sauteed in butter served with toast and pasta. These mushrooms are valuable and quite expensive.
- Porcini: Porcini mushrooms or Penny Buns have a dense, nutty texture and earthy flavour than most other mushrooms, which are mainly grown in North America and Europe. It has an intense meaty taste and is paired well with beef dishes, eggs, and pasta, which are used in elevating sauces and best for broths. Porcini are expensive as they are not commonly cultivated worldwide as these mushrooms grow in challenging environmental conditions and are hard to find in a fresh state.
Tips for Buying Mushrooms:
The mushrooms can range from an affordable food item to an expensive delicacy. As mushrooms are often found in the wild, it is crucial to check the source while buying as it may have harmful toxins which might adversely affect your health in the long run. When buying mushrooms, it is vital to select those which look firm, dry, smooth and fresh. One must avoid mushrooms that look slimy, patchy, and soft as they may be stale, which will not be worth the price and might cause trouble with digestion and the stomach. To retain the freshness of the freshly bought mushrooms, one must refrigerate them until it is time to cook.
Thus, mushrooms are packed with the goodness of health benefits, are fantastic dietary food and come with a burst of flavours. They are easy to cook and are an excellent addition to your everyday diet.