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A ‘fungi’ guide to the benefits of mushroom that’ll keep your health out of ‘truffle’

Whether you’re adding it to your salad or making a hearty sandwich, mushrooms fit in everywhere. But we’re not here to talk recipes, we’re here to glean just what health benefits come with incorporating these said mushroom delicacies into our diets. Here’s a look.

If you don’t trust white-coloured foods like white bread, refined flour, white rice and the like – owing to their lack of nutritional benefits – mushrooms will change the way you think. This white-coloured treat comes in a number of varieties that differ in taste and texture. Whether it’s meaty portobellos, delicate chanterelles, or succulent button mushrooms, they all pack in a load of vitamins and minerals and are extremely low in calories. From better gut health to stronger immune function – here’s a look at all that the fungi promises.

What are the health benefits of mushroom?

They help regulate blood pressure

mushroom health benefits
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The topmost mushroom health benefit includes its regulation of blood pressure. Mushrooms are rich in potassium, which is a nutrient that reduces the negative impacts that sodium can have on your health. Potassium also reduces the tension in your blood vessels, thus leading to lower blood pressure.

They boost your immune system

mushroom health benefits
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Mushrooms have anti-inflammatory effects that have been proven to boost your immune system. Mushrooms contain active polysaccharides, one of them being a type of soluble fibre called beta-glucan. This is what activates the natural killer cells and macrophages of your immune system, which boosts your body’s ability to fight against infections and other diseases.

They aid in weight loss

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Both long-term and short-term studies have found that one of the mushroom’s health benefits include impacting your weight loss, when teamed with physical activities and proper diet. Mushrooms also contain antioxidants which reduce the risk of hypertension and other metabolic disorders.

They help you look younger

mushroom health benefits
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Mushrooms are highly concentrated with antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione, as found in a 2017 Penn State study. These antioxidants work together to protect your body from physiological stress that causes visible signs of ageing, like wrinkles and fine lines.

They protect you from neurological illnesses

mushroom health benefits
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In a long-term study in Spain, it was found that foods that are rich in polyphenols, like coffee, cocoa, red wine, and of course, mushrooms, protect against cognitive decline in older adults. The study recommends eating five or more button mushrooms in a day to reduce the risk of neurological illness in the future. But make sure to cook the mushrooms in a way to retain their health benefits.

They work as a mood-lifter

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In further research by Penn State researchers in 2021 among 25,000 people, it was found that people who ate mushrooms regularly had a lowered risk of developing depression. The antioxidant ergothioneine may lower the risk of oxidative stress, which also reduces symptoms of depression in adults.

They protect your heart health

mushroom health benefits
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The glutamate ribonucleotides in mushrooms have a savoury, umami taste with no negative side effects on your blood pressure or heart. This makes mushrooms a natural substitute for iodized salt in many dishes. They hence  eliminate calories, fat, and cholesterol and protect your heart health.

They’re a great source of vitamin D

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Mushrooms are one of the best naturally occurring plant-based sources of Vitamin D. When these fungi grow, they absorb the UV rays from sunlight and that increases the concentration of Vitamin D. In fact, to amp up the amount of Vitamin D in mushrooms, you can leave them out in direct sunlight for 15 to 120 minutes.

They support gut health

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The beta-glucan compound found in mushrooms works as a great prebiotic. This can lead to the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and promote good digestive health. And a  healthy gut is absolutely beneficial for the uninterrupted functioning of your body.

Hero and Featured image: Courtesy Unsplash

A ‘fungi’ guide to the benefits of mushroom that’ll keep your health out of ‘truffle’

A journalism student who studied the subject only to meet SRK in person, she settled for the best way to meet him. Covering Entertainment throughout her career, and now Food, Health and Lifestyle as well, Sreetama is also a self-proclaimed plant mom. In love with all things slow and quiet, she can often be found hunting for quiet corners with a glass of wine in hand. Other loves include little, inconsequential things, like neatly tucked-in bedsheets and big, significant things, like whole cheesecakes. She dreams of being a baker and writing about food someday.


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