Health Benefits of Mushroom

Mushrooms are considered one of the healthiest foods for humans to eat. They are high in protein, low in calories, and contain antioxidant vitamins A and C. According to the USDA National Nutritional Database, mushrooms are rich in calcium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium (and other minerals). The immune system is also strengthened by the consumption of mushrooms. Mushrooms can even help digestion problems like Crohn's disease or colitis.

Although there is scientific evidence that supports all these benefits of mushrooms there are also risks associated with eating them. Many people are allergic to mushrooms and the immune system is weakened even further if one were to consume wild mushrooms that are non-edible.

Although there are many benefits that come with consuming mushrooms there are also risks associated with them. Many people are allergic to mushrooms and even one bite can cause a negative reaction among sensitive people. There is also the risk that wild mushrooms may be consumed by mistake because some species look similar to edible species, which can be dangerous if they are poisonous.

How to Eat Mushrooms

Ingesting mushrooms is the best way to consume this power-packed food.  Consume fresh, whole, cooked, or canned mushrooms.  The best way to use the fungi in the kitchen is in soups, stews, and casseroles. When purchasing mushrooms always read the label for ingredients and avoid any product containing artificial colors, artificial flavors, or added sugar.  Certain types of oils will eventually cause rancidity in mushrooms so it is recommended not to use them in cooking. Not only are they unhealthy for humans but when eaten by animals they can pose a threat to their health as well.

Whether you plan on preparing some simple rice on the stove for dinner or baking up a yummy mushroom casserole for your family, there are some things first on your list should be.  Store your mushrooms in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. This will help to preserve their nutritional value. Don't forget to label them so that they do not get mixed up with others of their kind. Fresh mushrooms should be used as soon as possible after purchasing because they will start to deteriorate once frozen.

Mushrooms are incredibly versatile in the kitchen. They are not only good for cooking, but are also ideal for creating healthy dips, smoothies, dressings, and more.  When using mushrooms in the preparation of food they tend to have an earthy flavor with a hint of wood.  Mushrooms have a meaty texture which is why they are so popular in vegan-friendly recipes.  Here are some recipes that will help you get started on adding some mushrooms into your diet!

Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Every year there seems to be an abundance of information regarding what new benefits people can gain from eating certain foods like mushrooms.  Although eating this type of fungus is not exactly healthy it still has ample benefits.

Mushrooms are low in calories, high in protein, enriched with vitamins A and C, and are good for the immune system. They are also believed to provide many of the same benefits viruses give their victims which is why they are sometimes known as "the universal medicine."  Besides that, mushrooms contain B vitamins such as niacin and riboflavin that help to lower cholesterol levels in the body. Mushrooms may also contain vital minerals such as iron and selenium which can be used by the body when it becomes deficient. The minerals in mushrooms are used as a preventive measure as well as a cure for illness. Mushrooms can aid in the treatment of peptic ulcers and even tumors, as well as helping the body's liver to function properly. The antioxidant properties of mushrooms help to prevent the effects of aging on the skin.  It has been suggested that mushroom consumption can also improve circulation, aid in digestion, relieve respiratory problems, reduce high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels. Finally, many individuals are allergic to mushrooms which is why they may cause an allergic reaction when ingested.  If you are not sure whether you are allergic or not it is important to refrain from consuming mushrooms until you have been tested by a physician.

There are many types of these delicious fungi that can be consumed if prepared correctly. Mushrooms come in vast varieties and all of them differ in taste, texture, shape, and size.  Mushrooms are a great source of protein and can be purchased fresh or dried in most grocery stores.  However, if purchased dried they need to be rehydrated before being cooked with.

The portion size of one mushroom is approximately 1 ounce.  Therefore it would be good to consume at least five to seven a week since they have a very small amount of fat and protein in them. It is recommended that you consume fresh wild mushrooms that have not been altered by human activity or artificial chemicals because if these two things have occurred they will have no effect on your health whatsoever. These types of mushrooms can be found at farmers' markets, natural foods stores, and various other retailers located in town.

However, it is important to know that mushrooms contain a lot of water. When cooking with them the amount of fat must be increased so that the mushrooms do not become water.  The first step is to preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the oven has reached the perfect temperature spread out ¼ cup of butter or margarine on a baking sheet and pop it into the oven for about five minutes. Once your butter is melted remove it from the oven and set it aside until needed.  This step is very important because it will allow you to fry your mushrooms without destroying their integrity. Now that you have made your butter, cut the mushrooms into slices and then into ¼ inch cubes.  After that cut them into strips and if they become too dry it is possible to make a sauce out of them by adding some cream and grating a little cheese (¼ cup).  Lastly, if you want to make a salad dressing stir the 3 tablespoons of low-fat mayonnaise with ¼ cup of fresh herbs such as parsley or chives for about five minutes so that the flavors are absorbed by the mayonnaise. These are just some suggestions on how to prepare mushrooms but there are many others as well. You are sure to discover your own recipes along the way.

Types of Mushroom

There are many different types of mushrooms that provide a variety of health benefits. The following is a list of some of the most popular ones.

Cultivated mushrooms - are one of the common types that can be purchased in an area grocery store or restaurant. These are generally fresh and cost $1.25-$2.00 per pound. They are not quite as healthy for you but if eaten sparingly they still provide beneficial nutrients to help you with your health issues.

True mushrooms grow in the wild and their flavor tends to be earthier than cultivated varieties. For this reason, many people prefer them over cultivated varieties because the flavor is more natural tasting and there are no preservatives added when they are grown that could cause health problems if consumed in excess amounts or by someone who is allergic to them.

Shiitake Mushrooms - are especially high in vitamins A, B, C, E, and K. Shiitake mushrooms are also very beneficial because they are known to lower blood pressure. Since these mushrooms are rich in potassium, they can help treat muscle cramps, disease of the liver and kidney stones, diabetes, and even cancers.  Shiitake mushrooms contain phytonutrients such as beta-glucan and quercetin-3-O-beta-D-glucoside which helps lower cholesterol levels when ingested.  These compounds may also reduce the risks for atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) when consumed regularly. Shiitake mushrooms are also known to slow down the growth of cancerous tumors. 

Portobello Mushroom - Portobellos contain high amounts of selenium, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin K, pantothenic acid, copper, and dietary fiber. This mushroom is beneficial because it can act as an anti-inflammatory substance for the body. Portobellos are considered to be immune-boosting foods because they cleanse the bloodstream of free radicals which can cause diseases or infections to arise in people's systems in a very short period. These mushrooms are also known to lower cholesterol levels when eaten regularly in your diet.  The high amounts of selenium, copper, and pantothenic acid found in Portobellos can help boost immunity and improve metabolism in the body.

Maitake Mushrooms - are great to add to soups, pasta, and stir-fries because they bring versatility to any type of dish. Also known as Hen-of-the-Woods mushrooms, they are very hearty so when added to a recipe they will add much-needed flavor without much fuss.  Maitakes contain vitamins A and C which help with the healing of scars and for healthy skin. They also contain B vitamins which can help lower cholesterol levels in your body.  These mushrooms have been known to lower blood pressure when consumed regularly in a diet. They also help with reducing weight gain when combined with the proper diet.  Maitake mushrooms contain ergothioneine which is a type of antioxidative amino acid that can protect the body from free radicals, which cause inflammation and disease to arise in the body. 

White Button Mushroom - White button mushrooms are a great addition to soups because they add a great texture and a wonderful taste to any dish you add them to. But there are other ways white button mushrooms can be used in recipes like salads, pasta, bread, and stir-fries.  White button mushrooms contain a lot of important nutrients such as niacin and riboflavin and can be used to lower cholesterol levels in the body. They are also rich in B vitamins which help with the cell growth in people's bodies. 

Chanterelle - Chanterelles are also known as golden trumpets because they have a yellowish hue. These mushrooms are great additions to many recipes including soups, salads, stir-fries, pasta dishes, pizzas, quiches, pizzas, casseroles, and so on. Though they are very versatile they are also very delicate so you will have to be careful not to overcook them or you can ruin their flavor.  Chanterelles are rich in plant sterols which have anti-inflammatory properties. They also contain carotenoids, flavonoids, and polysaccharides which are all good for the proper functioning of the body.  This mushroom is also known to contain ergothioneine which is an amino acid that protects the body against free radicals.

Candy Cap - These mushrooms are very small in size standing at about half an inch in diameter. They are commonly raw in the wild but can also be sauteed in oil or baked in the oven. Because of their small size, they are very delicate when cooked so you will have to be very careful when cooking them. Candy caps are known for their sweet taste and will add that touch of flavor to any dish you cook with them.  Since these mushrooms contain vitamins A and K, they can help with the healing of wounds, sore throats, and tonsillitis in people's systems. They also contain beta-glucans which help lower cholesterol levels in the body when consumed regularly in your diet. 

Other Mushrooms

Portobello mushrooms are a great healthy choice when trying to add variety to your diet. They are very nice to have in any dish you cook because they add a wonderful flavor and texture to traditional dishes. But there are other mushrooms out there that can be equally flavorful and nutritious. The following mushrooms will help add variety to any dish you might be cooking so try them out if you have not before!  Button Mushrooms This mushroom is very beneficial because it has been shown in studies that it can play a role in lowering cholesterol levels in people's bodies. They contain high amounts of vitamins A and C which help with the healing of wounds, sore throats, and tonsillitis.  Oyster Mushrooms Oyster mushrooms are great to cook with because they are very mild in flavor and can be added to soups, salads, stir-fries, pasta, pizzas, casseroles, and so much more. They also contain B vitamins which help with cell growth in people's bodies.  Portobello Mushroom Portobellos contain high amounts of selenium, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin K, pantothenic acid, copper, dietary fiber. This mushroom is beneficial because it can act as an anti-inflammatory substance for the body. Portobello mushrooms are also known to lower cholesterol levels when eaten regularly in your diet.  Gypsy Mushroom Gypsy mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides, carotenoids, and flavonoids which are all good for the proper functioning of the body. Research has shown that these mushrooms can help with wounds, sore throats, and tonsillitis in people's systems. 
You will also want to try these types of mushrooms if you are struggling with digestive problems or other issues in your system.

Disadvantages of Eating Mushrooms

Just because a mushroom is a good choice for your diet does not mean that you should go ahead and eat it without first researching it. There are many mushrooms that can be dangerous to people's health but not all of them are as dangerous as others. Here is a list of mushrooms, some very popular, some hard to find, and what they can do to your system if you eat them:

Cordyceps - This fungus has been known to cause extreme hallucinations in people under the influence of it. This little mushroom can also mess with your heart rate and breathing rate when consumed by someone who is already taking certain medications. It is also known for killing brain cells in animals that have consumed it.  Although this fungus is not usually consumed by the average person, it has been known to be cooked into pot brownies and other foods that can be sold legally.

Fly Agaric - This mushroom has been known to be extremely poisonous to people's bodies. It can cause extreme vomiting, diarrhea, alcohol-like symptoms, insomnia, and hallucinations in people who eat it. This mushroom can also cause nausea, excessive saliva production, stomach cramps, irregular heart rhythms, and even death after consumption.  Fly agaric mushrooms are sometimes used for medicinal uses but only by professional herbalists that understand their toxic properties.

Chaga - There are many different forms of this mushroom and most of them contain allicin which is a chemical that can be harmful to people's systems and kidneys. There are also many different health benefits that people have talked about when consuming this kind of mushroom but we will not know until they can be researched further. It is best to avoid these mushrooms altogether unless you are well versed in the effects that they have on the body.

Agaricus Bisporus - The smell of this mushroom is very pungent and it can cause many health issues for all sorts of people who consume it. It can cause extreme vomiting, diarrhea, and can be harmful to your system. 

Puffballs - These mushrooms are very dangerous because of the toxins they contain. When ingested by humans it can cause severe, life-threatening symptoms such as depression, headache, and cramps. These mushrooms also contain a toxin called muscarine which is known to be poisonous to human bodies. 

Death Cap - Death caps mushrooms contain a toxin called tetrodotoxin which is extremely dangerous and lethal to humans when they consume it. It has been known to cause death after consuming even just one mushroom of this kind.

Raddish - These mushrooms contain a brain toxin called ibotenic acid which can cause severe, deadly effects on your body if you consume them. Not only that, but the toxins in these mushrooms have been linked to causing rashes on children's skin. 

Corn Mushroom - This mushroom can cause extreme skin rashes and is sometimes referred to as "coral fungus". It contains a poison called muscarine which can be extremely dangerous to a person's body. Because of its poisonous side effects, this mushroom is best avoided by those trying to eat healthy food options. 

Wood Ear Mushrooms - This mushroom may contain low levels of some chemicals that are harmful to people's bodies. In high levels, this mushroom can be poisonous to people if consumed.

Black Trumpets - These mushrooms can cause severe sickness to people's systems when they eat them. They also contain a toxin called muscarine which is also found in many other mushrooms like the Fly agaric. These mushrooms are best avoided by those who want to eat healthy food options for their bodies.

Mu Cang Chai - This mushroom contains a compound called muscarine which can be extremely dangerous to people's bodies. Muscarine can also be found in many different types of mushrooms and should always be avoided when trying to eat healthy, tasty foods.

Chanterelles - These delicious-looking mushrooms should be avoided because of the fat that they contain. The fats in these mushrooms can negatively affect the brain and nervous system when people without a certain mental disorder consume them. This is not a mushroom that you want to add to your diet if you want to be able to think straight.

Oyster Mushroom - This kind of mushroom is actually poisonous in its' raw form. It contains a toxin called germacrene which can cause poisoning or even death when it is consumed by humans or animals that are already ill or elderly. These mushrooms are usually eaten after they have been cooked thoroughly but no matter how they are cooked they can still be dangerous for humans to eat. 

There are many other mushrooms out there that could be dangerous to people's bodies when eaten so always proceed with caution. Always read up on the different types of mushrooms you are considering consuming and keep in mind the potential risks when deciding whether or not you will add them to your diet. Try to find a guide that tells you about the types of chemicals and toxins that could possibly be found in your fungi before adding them to your diet and never eat any mushrooms raw if possible. Keep all mushrooms well away from children and animals. If you follow these guidelines then you should be able to avoid coming into contact with any potentially harmful mushrooms while still enjoying the delicious taste of them in your food.