Mushrooms are probably the most under rated nutritive items on any one’s diet list. These innocuous looking fungi are one of the most potent nutritional additives that you can include in your diet to ensure good health, better immunity and weight loss. Surprising as it may sound; mushrooms are a store house of several health benefits that people are rarely aware of. If you are someone who has always crinkled his nose when offered mushrooms, here is some food for thought. Mushrooms offer a host of vitamins and essential nutrients such as polysaccharides that are vital for the healthy functioning of the body system. Furthermore, they are rich in antioxidants which play an important role in protecting the body from deadly diseases. Mushrooms have been a part of the Chinese cuisine since ages because of their medicinal value. Reishi mushrooms are renowned for their anti-inflammatory properties, Shitake mushrooms are known to be instrumental in boosting the immune system, Oyster mushrooms relax tendons and impart strength to the veins. Here are a few other benefits that you can derive by including mushrooms in your diet:
Rich Source of Vitamin B
Mushrooms are rich in riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin. B vitamins play an important role in breaking down fats, carbohydrates and proteins to provide energy to the body. Furthermore, niacin keeps the skin healthy and ensures the proper functioning of the nervous and digestive systems. Pantothenic acid plays a vital role in the functioning of the nervous system and promotes the production of hormones. Mushrooms also boost the body with a good dose of riboflavin which ensures the health of the red blood cells.
Rich Source of Minerals
Mushrooms are also a rich source of minerals such as selenium, potassium, copper and ergothioneine. As compared to non-vegetarian foods that are rich in selenium, mushrooms are the richest source of the mineral. Selenium has anti-oxidant properties which protect the body from free radicals that can cause heart diseases, certain kinds of cancers and other degenerative diseases. Potassium is an essential mineral which keeps the blood pressure in control and ensures proper muscular, neural and cardiac functioning. Usually, regular diets do not provide enough potassium. Mushrooms are rich in potassium and hence can provide as much as 3 to 11 per cent of the required daily dosage.
Effective in Preventing Cancer
Researchers have found that regular intake of mushrooms can inhibit the growth of certain tumours in the body, especially in women. However, this is yet to be proved and intensive research is going on in this area to study the effect of mushrooms on cancerous growths and its role in preventing the deadly disease. Due to the high concentration of anti-oxidants in mushrooms, they are believed to be effective in protecting the body cells from damage and the body from serious diseases.
Helps in Weight Loss
Mushrooms can come in handy if you are planning a weight loss programme for yourself. Mushrooms are low energy density food items which release lesser calories per volume. They are an ideal substitute for food items such as lean ground beef which release more calories per volume. Furthermore, they keep the stomach full, increasing the level of satiety and hence prevent you from overeating. Apart from all these benefits, mushrooms are free of cholesterol and fat. Due to this fact, mushrooms are ideal for those who intend to reduce their weight or maintain their fitness level. Furthermore, mushrooms are low on sodium and are naturally gluten free. They can be cooked in different sauces for sandwich fillings, made as side dishes or enjoyed in a nicely tossed salad. For those of you who are reluctant in consuming mushrooms as they are, you can find mushroom concentrates and extracts in your nearest supermarket which allow you to derive all benefits of mushrooms without having to chew through it.