Thu, 07 July 2022
The Daily Ittefaq

Make room for mushrooms

Update : 18 May 2022, 13:03

Mushrooms are considered by many to be a superfood, and for good reason. Although they are low in calories, they pack a powerful nutritional punch, containing rich amounts of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Because of their rich nutritional profile, mushrooms are responsible for a variety of health benefits.

Whether in a spinach salad, sautéed in a stir-fry or folded into an omelet, mushrooms are a nutty-flavored, nutrient-packed treat. Mushrooms contain selenium and ergothioneine, which are potent antioxidants. They also contain b vitamins and copper, which all support red blood cell development.

Another great thing about mushrooms, there are so many interesting textures and flavors to try, from dense, meaty portobellos, to earthy hen-of-the-woods, to delicate chanterelles.

The health benefits of mushrooms

Improves immunity
A recent study shows that adding mushrooms to your diet has a positive effect on the immune system. It seems that mushrooms, particularly shiitake, Turkey Tail and white button mushrooms, can stimulate the immune system and improve defenses against illness.

Support weight loss and reduce risk of type 2 diabetes

High-fiber diets have been linked with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and improved blood sugar control for people who already have the disease, says Katie Cavuto, M.S., R.D., a dietitian in Philadelphia and executive chef for Saladworks. Plus, by increasing your intake of low-density, fiber-rich foods like vegetables and mushrooms, you’ll feel full and satisfied with fewer calories. “I like to think of this as the half-the-plate rule, with the goal of filling half of your plate with vegetables and mushrooms at most meals,” she adds.

Help to fight cancer

Mushrooms contain several cancer-fighting compounds such as a type of fiber called beta-glucan, which has a unique advantage in preventing cancer. “It’s known to starve cancer by cutting off its blood supply, a process known as antiangiogenesis,” explains William W. Li, M.D., an internationally renowned physician, scientist and author of The New York Times bestseller Eat to Beat Disease. That may be one reason a large study from Penn State College of Medicine found that higher consumption of mushrooms is associated with a 33 percent lower risk of cancer.

Mushrooms appear most powerful against lung, prostate, and breast cancers, Cavuto says. “While more research is needed and in the works, the nutrients found in mushrooms have been shown to suppress growth and invasiveness of breast cancer cells,” she says, adding that mushrooms may even help prevent recurrence of hormone-dependent breast cancers. And it doesn’t take much to lower breast cancer risk: Just about one button mushroom a day was linked to a 64 percent decrease in the risk of breast cancer.

Amino acid abundance

Mushrooms are one of the highest dietary sources of ergothioneine, a unique amino acid with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. While cooking mushrooms doesn’t seem to affect their antioxidant compounds, microwaving or grilling them may actually increase antioxidant activity. Incorporating mushrooms into your diet can help to reduce the risk of chronic conditions. One study published earlier this year in Advances in Nutrition showed that higher mushroom consumption, and ergothioneine specifically, is associated with a lower risk of cancer. Another study found that higher amounts of dietary ergothioneine may also be linked with lower rates of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Vegetarian virtues

Recognized as an important dietary source of vitamin D, some research suggests that consuming mushrooms that have been exposed to UV light can be as effective in raising and maintaining an adult’s vitamin D levels as supplements. Vitamin D is essential for bone and muscle health, as well as modulating the immune system to help fight infection and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Alimentary adaptogen

One of the major bioactive constituents of edible and medicinal mushrooms are beta-glucans, sugar compounds that act as adaptogens and immunostimulators. These polysaccharides are associated with mushrooms’ potential to help prevent and protect against the adverse effects of a variety of common conditions, including allergies, diabetes and obesity, due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Beta-glucans in mushrooms have been shown to stimulate an antimicrobial response in the immune system by activating macrophages (a type of white blood cell) and natural killer cells to protect the body from bacterial and viral infections, harmful organisms and diseases.

Has anti-aging benefits

Mushrooms are rich in antioxidants like selenium, vitamin C and choline. These essential nutrients fight free radical damage in your system and keep signs of aging at bay.

Good effects on mental health

Consuming mushrooms could also have powerful effects on our mental health. A new study conducted by a group of researchers from Penn State College of Medicine took data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, collected from more than 24,000 U.S. adults from 2005 to 2016, and looked at two days of dietary recall to assess how often participants were consuming mushrooms. The authors then compared that frequency with reported levels of depression. Researchers found that participants who reported eating moderate-to-high levels of mushrooms over the course of the two days had lower odds of depression, as compared to those who ate low or no amounts of mushrooms.

Their findings confirmed their hypothesis that people who eat mushrooms have a lower risk of depression, due to their high levels of vitamin B-12, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory components. 

More on this topic

Bad Habits That Can Ruin Sleep and Cause Insomnia

Japanese Food Festival

Effective home remedies to remove sun tan

How to get plump lips

More on this topic

Mango fruit leather, the sweet and spicy relish we love

Osteoporosis: A silent killer

How to prevent hair fall

Triplover, US-Bangla to sponsor Dhaka Travel Mart 2022