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Health Benefits of Mushrooms: Live a Longer and Healthier Life


mushrooms

By M.Gallucci, MS, RDN, CDN, ACSM-EP-C

Mushrooms are included as a new “superfood” since they are low in calories and fat, but high in fiber and nutrients. They are a good source of protein, potassium, selenium, and vitamin C. They also provide vitamin D. Mushrooms contain antioxidants, which can help protect cells from damage.

“A recent systematic study published in the Journal of Advanced Nutrition found that individuals with high mushroom consumption have a lower risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer.”

A recent systematic study published in the Journal of Advanced Nutrition found that people with high consumption of mushrooms are associated with a lower risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer. Another study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute looked at the benefits of white button mushrooms to help decrease prostate cancer risk. Overall, mushrooms have been reported to have anticancer capabilities and protective effects against tumor development.

Laboratory studies have revealed these anticarcinogenic effects vary according to different types of mushrooms such as shiitake, maitake, and button mushrooms. Several epidemiological observational studies have also reported an inverse association between mushroom consumption and cancer risk. This means that when the intake of mushrooms increased, the risk of cancer decreased.

“Eating mushrooms may help to prevent respiratory infections, improve gut bacteria, provide gastrointestinal support, offer anti-inflammatory effects, and even boost your mood.”

Further studies have also found that eating mushrooms may help to prevent respiratory infections, improve gut bacteria, provide gastrointestinal support, offer anti-inflammatory effects, and even boost your mood.

Mushrooms have been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes for centuries. Ancient Chinese text describes using reishi mushrooms for their anti-aging properties dating as early as 206BC. Widespread use of medicinal mushrooms continues in Asia today, with more than 100 varieties used just to treat cancer.

Mushrooms are neither a fruit nor a vegetable. They are in a different species of Fungi. There are a huge amount of varieties of mushrooms, some which are edible and others which are not. Some non-edible mushrooms can even cause extreme illness. Many mushroom varieties, such as reishi and maitake contain a multitude of antioxidants, such as L-ergothioneine, Selenium, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and beta-carotene. All of these nutrients can help reverse the negative health effects of free radicals, which are unstable atoms that can cause damage to cells and lead to illnesses and rapid aging.
Mushrooms also contain beta-glucans, which are dietary fibers, strongly linked to improving cholesterol levels, boosting heart health, and increasing your immune defense system.

Mushroom varieties including cordyceps, lion’s mane, and reishi are highly adaptogenic. This means they may help the body and mind to adapt to stress and fight fatigue through hormone regulation and stabilization of the central nervous system. Lion’s mane has been shown to improve memory and cognitive performance in older adults.

With the many health benefits of mushrooms, here are some tips to help incorporate mushrooms into your diet:

• Although textures vary, choose mushrooms that are firm, dry, and unbruised.
• Avoid mushrooms that look wilted, wet, or slimy or have a moldy, musty smell.
• Once you buy them, store them in a brown paper bag or pack them on a paper towel in an airtight veggie container in the fridge, and don’t clean them until it’s time to cook. This allows them to breathe. Keeping them in a plastic bag will make them sweat and go off more quickly.
• Don’t wash mushrooms, their spongy texture will quickly soak up the water. This water leaks out once you start to sauté them. Just wipe them with a paper towel if they are dirty.
• Mushrooms can be ruined by cooking them slowly over low heat. You will get the most flavor by cooking mushrooms very quickly on high heat.
• Sauté mushrooms with onions and garlic for a side dish that adds a powerful boost of nutrients.
• Stuff portobello mushrooms with couscous, quinoa, or other vegetables for a plant-based meal.
• Instead of a hamburger, try a portobello burger. Top with roasted peppers, fresh mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinegar.
• Add mushrooms to an omelet for a protein-packed breakfast.
• Mushrooms are great uncooked too. Chop or slice raw mushrooms and add them to salads for a woody flavor.

🍄Check out Maryann's easy recipe for chicken Marsala here

 

About Dietitian Nutritionist, Maryann Gallucci

MS, RDN, CDN, ACSM-EP-C, ACE-Health Coach.
✔️ Works in Private Practice providing nutrition counseling and fitness training.
✔️ Awarded “2021 Long Island Dietitian of the Year” by the Long Island Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
✔️ Adjunct Lecturer in the Family, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences Department at Queens College.
✔️ Serves as the Nutrition Services and Payment Specialist Co-chair for the Long Island
✔️ Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
✔️A member of multiple Dietetic Practice Groups.

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