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Mushroom Nutritional Value And Health Benefits Of Mushrooms

We can’t think of exotic cooking without mushrooms, can we? Used extensively in continental cuisine, Chinese dishes and even in quite a few Indian curries, mushrooms seem to occupy a special place in our food preferences. Cooked in a jiffy with an array of spices, magic mushrooms tend to absorb the flavors of the seasoning and taste great as snacks, appetizers and main dishes. Interestingly, mushrooms have been used for ages in cooking and in medicines. Known as a vegetable as well as an herb, edible mushrooms are actually a type of fungus.
It is believed that out of the thousands of mushrooms that grow across the world, about 3,000 are supposed to be edible and a few hundreds have medicinal properties. While picking mushrooms, it is important to know which mushroom fungus is edible and which one is poisonous.

Health Benefits Of Mushrooms

  • Historical uses: Mushrooms were treasured by the Pharaohs; while, the Greek warriors ate mushrooms during wars to get added strength. The Romans consumed mushrooms during festivals and the Chinese used this for its medicinal properties.
  • Mushroom health benefits: Enjoyed for its taste and texture, mushrooms are cooked in various ways and incorporated in an array of dishes that range from the usual to the exotic. Mushrooms are not only tasty, but they also have lots of health benefits.
  • With 80% water content, mushrooms are low in calories as well as fat and sodium. These also have lots of fiber, which on the whole, makes it a good food option for hypertensives.
  • Packed with potassium, mushrooms are good for lowering high blood pressure and cuts down the risk of stroke. Experts say that a portabella mushroom of medium size has more potassium than a glass of orange juice.
  • Mushrooms also have copper, and this makes it a hot shot food for the heart.
  • Mushrooms also have selenium, niacin and riboflavin. An antioxidant that works its magic when combined with vitamin E, selenium can protect body cells from damage caused by free radicals. Research has shown that men, who consume selenium-rich foods regularly, can actually reduce their risk of prostate cancer.
  • Studies have shown that mushrooms are rich in 5-alpha-reductase, an enzyme that helps to convert testosterone to DHT, and aromatase, which helps in the production of estrogen.  Studies show that button mushrooms with these qualities can actually reduce the risk of breast cancer.
  • Mushrooms are also said to be good for the eyesight, blood circulation, migraines, tumors, cancer and impotency.

Submitted on January 16, 2014