WHAT ARE MUSHROOMS?
A mushroom is the reproductive structure produced by some fungi .Mushrooms belong in a kingdom of their own, separate from plants and animals. Fungi differ from plants and animals in the way they obtain their nutrients. Generally, plants make their food using the sun’s energy (photosynthesis), while animals eat, then internally digest, their food. Fungi do neither: their mycelium grows into or around the food source, secretes enzymes that digest the food externally, and the mycelium then absorbs the digested nutrients. There are exceptions to these generalizations; some organisms are placed into their respective kingdoms based on characteristics other than their feeding habits
BENEFITS OF MUSHROOMS
Mushrooms contain protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These can have various health benefits.
For example, antioxidants are chemicals that help the body eliminate free radicals.
Free radicals are toxic byproducts of metabolism and other bodily processes. They can accumulate in the body, and if too many collect, oxidative stress can result. This can harm the body’s cells and may lead to various health conditions.
Among the antioxidant agents in mushrooms are:
The antioxidant content in mushrooms helps to prevent lung, prostate, breast, and other types of cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Some sources have suggested that selenium may help prevent cancer, but a Cochrane review in 2015 confirmed it
Mushrooms also contain a small amount of vitamin D. There is some evidence that vitamin D supplementation may help prevent or treat some kinds of cancer, though according to a 2018 report, the effect may vary from person to person.
Choline is another antioxidant in mushrooms. Some studies have suggested that consuming choline can reduce the risk of some types of cancer, but at least one other study has indicated that it may increase the risk of prostate cancer.
It is worth noting that consuming a nutrient as a supplement is not the same as consuming it in the diet.
Many women take folic acid, or folate, supplements during pregnancy to boost fetal health, but mushrooms can also provide folate.
A cup of whole, raw mushrooms contains 16.3 micrograms (mcg) of folate. Current guidelines recommend that adults consume 400 mcg of folate each day.
What foods should you eat and avoid during pregnancy? Find out here
The fiber, potassium, and vitamin C in mushrooms may contribute to cardiovascular health.
Potassium can help regulate blood pressure, and this may decrease the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommend reducing the intake of added salt in the diet and eating more foods that contain potassium.
According to current guidelines, people should consume around 4,700 milligrams (mg) of potassium each day. Mushrooms appear on the AHA’s list of foods that provide potassium.
Dietary fiber may help manage a number of health conditions, including type 2 diabetes.
A 2018 review of meta-analyses concluded that people who eat a lot of fiber may have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. For those who already have it, fiber may help reduce blood glucose levels.
A cup of sliced, raw mushrooms, weighing 70 grams (g), provides almost 1 g of fiber.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults consume 22.4–33.6 g of dietary fiber each day, depending on sex and age.