You do not have to be a fitness avid or a health enthusiast to have heard of the beneficial supremacy of mushrooms. Those who grew up with fairy tale stories such as Alice in Wonderland and The Three Bears, or even gamers who have enjoyed their console time playing games like The Super Mario Brothers would have a glimpse of the miraculous powers of mushrooms.
If you are an avid gamer yourself, you probably would have played games that transformed your character into a bigger and meaner version of its normal self or granting you with some sort of magical power shield that protects you against the threatening monsters or villains in the game. If you are trying to figure out what exactly we are rambling on about, these are not merely popular gaming or culturing references — these are symbolic depictions of the actual health benefits of mushrooms that have been discovered and proven by numerous medical studies. Mushrooms can literally provide a bigger boost for your health and immune system, and regular consumption of these edible fungi can effectively safeguard you from a number of ailments and diseases due to the truckload of minerals, vitamins and nutrients they contain.
What Are Mushrooms?
Mushrooms are a form of wild and edible fungi that derives from the Agaricus family. They are essentially plants without chlorophyll, or scientifically termed as saprophytes, and flourish by extracting nutrients from decaying or dead plants and animal matter. With an estimated 140,00 species of mushroom-forming fungi that exist in the world, it is not surprising that these wild vegetables vary greatly in shape, texture, colour and properties.
Why Mushroom is Key
The key to a right diet is to ensure you get the right amount of vitamins and minerals into your daily meals. One way to achieve that is by religiously devouring a colourful variety of fruits and vegetables. Some of you may have glanced upon a few articles that suggest a fruit or vegetable which lacks colour also trails in necessary nutrients that nourishes your body. Well, they are not entirely wrong. However, edible mushrooms prove quite the contrary. Let us take a closer look at some of the potential health benefits associated with the consumption of these edible fungi.
Promotes Weight Loss
What is the ideal diet best suited for slimming down while building muscle at the same time? Health experts believe a lean diet rich in protein is the most effective way to achieve that goal. Most fats are torched to break down and absorb the protein found in our food, more so when the protein is complemented by a relatively low carbohydrate count, zero cholesterol or fat, as well as a decent amount of fibre. This is precisely the combination that mushrooms possess to help in shedding off those unwanted kilos. Several studies have shown that mushrooms rank higher than most fruits and vegetables with regards to their nutrient density. Furthermore, mushrooms are one of the exceptional foods you can consume regularly and higher quantities without having to worry about any side effects.
One particular study, which involved 750 adults, replaced red meat with a cup of white button cap mushrooms per day for the span of a month for a group of participants. The study found that participants who consumed mushrooms managed to lose a considerable amount of weight and ended up with a slimmer waistline. In addition, these participants were better able to sustain their new weight and did not experience the typical ballooning to their original weight that we often see in most crash diets.
Lowers Risk of Diabetes
According to a report published in the Functional Foods in Health and Disease, mushrooms are a perfect food source for diabetics as they are high in protein, contain no fat or cholesterol, extremely low in carbohydrates and contain a truckload of vitamins and minerals. More importantly, mushrooms possess natural insulin and enzymes that effectively aids in the digestion of sugar or starch content in food. Moreover, the natural antibiotics present in mushrooms help safeguard diabetics from potentially chronic conditions and infections, especially the ones impacting the limbs.
Enhances Cardiovascular Health
Researchers have revealed that the fibre and protein content, along with certain enzymes found in mushrooms, are exceptionally beneficial in regulating cholesterol level. These compounds make a potent combination in burning cholesterol during the body’s digestive process. Balancing the LDL and HDL cholesterol levels in your body is vital to prevent the likelihood of cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke, cardiac arrest or atherosclerosis, among others.
With all these benefits and more, it is high time you start incorporating these edible fungi into your diet. Be sure to opt for the ones that are dry, firm and unbruised when making your selection at your local supermarket and avoid those that seem withered or slimy.