From fighting cancer and heart disease to boosting weight loss, there are many reasons to include lots of these delicious fungi in your diet.
When shopping for mushrooms, remember that it’s important to only choose organic, as they absorb and concentrate whatever they grow in, whether it’s good or bad – that’s what gives them their potency.
A new study out of the University at Buffalo has found that the regular consumption of mushrooms may help regulate glucose levels, particularly in women. By stabilizing blood glucose levels, this helps to support optimal hormone balance necessary for eliminating those extra pounds, in addition to providing clean fuel for endurance so the body doesn’t experience “crash and burn.” Mushrooms are also packed with fiber to help keep you feeling fuller longer, preventing unhealthy snacking.
A rich source of vitamin D
Many people are deficient in vitamin D due to getting limited exposure to the sun. Mushrooms, particularly Shiitake mushrooms, can provide as much of this essential nutrient for healthy bones and immune system support as a supplement.
A 2013 study from the Boston University School of Medicine discovered that eating mushrooms containing vitamin D2 can be as effective at increasing and maintaining vitamin D levels as taking supplemental vitamin D2 or D3.
Research has found that consuming mushrooms may help to protect against a number of different cancers, particularly breast cancer. Mushroom extracts have been shown to prolong survival of mice inoculated with melanoma cells, inhibit the growth of human colon cancer cells and induce apoptosis of colon cancer in mice.
A 2010 study of Korean breast cancer patients found that consuming mushrooms was associated with a significantly decreased risk of breast cancer. The most promising types include white button, Portobello, Shiitake, Maitake and Reishi mushrooms.
Protecting against heart disease
Researchers from Pennsylvania State University found that mushrooms are a powerful source of an antioxidant known as ergothioneine, which can help protect against heart disease. It also works to battle free radicals that are known to damage the body’s DNA cells. Shiitake, Maitake and oyster mushrooms contain about 40 times as much of this compound as wheat germ, which used to be considered the number one source of ergothioneine. Portobello and white button mushrooms have about 12 times the amount of this antioxidant.
How to use mushrooms more often
Get creative and find more ways to use mushrooms in your meals – you can toss them into a salad, create a tasty side dish by sautéing in olive oil with garlic and tomato, or add them to scrambled eggs and omelets.
You might even make a comforting soup by sautéing chopped onion, garlic, celery, green pepper, carrot and white button mushrooms until soft; add enough broth to cover, toss in a handful of quinoa, and then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer partly covered until quinoa is cooked, about 20 minutes.
If you aren’t a fan of mushrooms, you can find them in supplement form as well, in extracts and powders.
The Alternative Daily