Mushrooms are basically fungi, which have a fleshy and spore-bearing fruiting body. They have been in use not only for consumption purposes, but also for medicinal purposes, since ages. Pharaohs ate mushrooms as a delicacy, Greeks believed them to be a source of strength and Chinese regarded them as health food. There are over 14,000 types of mushrooms in the world, out of which about 3,000 are edible, about 700 have known medicinal properties and around 1400 have been recognized as poisonous. Today, mushrooms are eaten by people, for their flavor, texture as well as for the health benefits they accord.
Nutritional Value of Mushrooms
100 grams of uncooked, white button mushrooms contain the following nutrients:
- Folate (Vitamin B9) - 16.0 mcg
- Niacin (Vitamin B3) - 3.6 mg
- Niacin (Vitamin B3) - 3.6 mg
- Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) - 1.5 mg
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) - 0.4 mg
- Thiamin (Vitamin B1) - 0.1 mg
- Vitamin B6 - 0.1 mg
- Copper - 0.3 mg
- Iron - 0.5 mg
- Magnesium - 9.0 mg
- Phosphorus - 86.0 mg
- Potassium - 318 mg
- Selenium - 9.3 mcg
- Zinc - 0.5 mg
Health & Nutritional Benefits of Eating Mushrooms
- Mushrooms have very less calories and contain approximately 80 to 90 percent water. At the same time, they have low sodium, carbohydrate and fat content and high fiber content. This is the reason why mushrooms are considered good for those aiming for weight loss.
- Mushrooms are an excellent source of potassium. Infact, it is said that there is more potassium in a mushroom than a banana. Since potassium helps lower blood pressure and diminished the risk of stroke, mushrooms are recommended to people suffering from hypertension.
- Mushrooms are rich in copper, a mineral that has cardio-protective properties. A single serving of mushrooms is said to provide about 20 to 40 percent of the daily needs of copper.
- Mushrooms are believed to help fight against cancer. They are an excellent source of selenium, an antioxidant that works with vitamin E to protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals.
- White button mushroom have been found to restrain the activity of aromatase, an enzyme involved in estrogen production, and 5-alpha-reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT.
- Researches have suggested that white button mushrooms can reduce the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer. Infact, extract of white button mushrooms has been found to help in diminishing cell proliferation as well as tumor size.
- Shiitake mushrooms comprise of Lentinan, a beta-glucan that has been associated with stimulation of the immune system and thus, is believed to be helpful in fighting against AIDS. It also helps fight infection and exhibits anti-tumor activity.
- Being rich in fiber, protein and Vitamin B, mushrooms help maintain a healthy metabolism.
- It has been found that mushroom extract helps stop migraine headaches and is beneficial for people suffering from mental illnesses, like obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Oyster mushrooms are said to be useful in strengthening of veins and relaxation of the tendons.