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Are mushrooms really good for you?

October 21, 2020

Are mushrooms really good for you?

Mushrooms grow in all sorts of places and come in many different shapes, colors, and sizes. While not all of them are edible (some can be poisonous), those that we can grow and serve on a plate truly add something new and different to an otherwise generic meal. These include shiitake, portobello, crimini, oyster, white mushrooms, enoki, and beech, to name a few.

Aside from just being a great kitchen or meal accessory, what are some of the healthy reasons why people should add more mushrooms to their diet? Are they nutritious? Can they help improve our immunity?

We made a list of the 7 benefits of making mushrooms part of your everyday meals.

1. Mushrooms may help you stay youthful
Antioxidants have always been at the center of anything “youth” related, and mushrooms are full of them - specifically ergothioneine and glutathione. These two antioxidants work hard to help us fight off oxidative damage and stress, two factors that speed up the aging process.

It should also be mentioned that glutathione is the body’s most abundant antioxidant and is the primary antioxidant used for detoxification. Mushrooms also contain selenium, the one mineral that is critical when it comes to producing glutathione.

2. Mushrooms have brain-protective properties
The same two antioxidants found in mushrooms have been studied for their purported brain-health benefits. Experts say eating mushrooms may help you to perform better in tests that involve thinking and processing.

Moreover, having brain-protective properties can also mean room for a few mushrooms per day for students or those doing heavy mental work.

3. Eating a few cups of mushrooms per week can improve memory
Because of mushrooms’ brain-protective benefits, experts say they can help prevent brain health issues that negatively affect memory. Even better, scientists also say it doesn’t take much to get this memory benefit. They say all a person must do is eat about ¾ cup of mushrooms a week - which isn’t really that much when you consider what a typical person’s diet looks like.

4. They can be used as low sodium alternatives
Excess sodium has been linked to poor heart health, and most of these can come from recipes that use a lot of red meat. Mushrooms can act as meat substitutes. Not only can you make them taste or chew like real meat, but also because of glutamate ribonucleotides, a compound found in mushrooms that possesses similar “savory” properties to salt.

In fact, a cup of mushrooms only has 5 mg of sodium!

5. Beta-glucan content for overall heart health
Beta-glucan is a soluble dietary fiber slowly being included in snack foods and even beverages. In general, soluble dietary fibers are known to be good for heart health and helps reduce fluctuations in cholesterol and blood sugar.

6. Mushrooms are a rich source of Copper and B Vitamins
Copper is critical for the body’s red blood cell production. Red blood cells are used to transport oxygen throughout the body as well as processes involved in nerve and bone health.
Some of the B vitamins mushrooms are rich in are riboflavin, folate, pantothenic acid, and niacin. These vitamins are known to be beneficial for red blood cell production and energy metabolism and nutrient absorption.

7. A mushroom extract has been cited to help strengthen immunity
Mushrooms can do a lot of things, even help with our immunity. On top of helping us produce more glutathione (the body’s main antioxidant for fighting potential immune challenges), a mushroom extract called AHCC, has been shown to be beneficial too.

AHCC is said to trigger the immune response faster and help the body be more efficient when it comes to mounting a healthy immune response. One study mentioned that people who took AHCC had a better immune response (as indicated by immune biomarkers) than those who took a placebo. AHCC can be found in supplement form. We offer various AHCC supplements, AHCC Kinoko Platinum, Kinoko Gold, and AHCC Rx.*

We hope you have learned something new about mushrooms today. Make sure to take full advantage of these amazing fungi!

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