Mushrooms and Your Health: How Good Are They for You?

mushroom

Mushrooms have various uses, from complimenting dishes to serving as material for clothing and even using them to create fuel. However, many people don’t know that these natural powerhouses have many benefits that can help us improve and maintain our health. This is especially important at a time when we need to protect ourselves and others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Find out all the different ways you can use mushrooms to stay healthy and how you can grow your own depending on your lifestyle.

Health Benefits of Mushrooms

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Mushrooms are considered a superfood, with each type containing different vitamins and nutrients that can benefit your health. Whether you like them in your salad or your tea, here are a few reasons why you should add mushrooms to your diet.

Fights Aging

While maintaining a balanced diet and practicing a healthy lifestyle is the key to healthier skin, adding mushrooms to that diet can helps slow down the aging process. They contain high concentrations of antioxidants like ergothioneine and glutathione, which help battle oxidative stress, an imbalance between the free radicals and antioxidants in your body that contributes to aging.

Boosts Your Immune System

Mushrooms also contain selenium that, along with ergothioneine and glutathione, help battle oxidative stress. However, selenium does much more than just that- it plays a significant role in maintaining your metabolism and thyroid function, all while boosting your immune system and keeping your heart healthy.

Lowers Cholesterol

All kinds of mushrooms are generally low in calories and fat, but the Shiitake mushroom is better known for lowering cholesterol levels. This is because Shiitake mushrooms contain eritadenine and beta-glucans that help you maintain heart health by preventing your intestines from absorbing cholesterol, lowering cholesterol levels in the blood, and even helps reduce inflammation.

Reduces the Risk of Cancer

With the high concentration of antioxidants found in mushrooms, various studies show that certain types of mushrooms can reduce the risk of cancer and, in some cases, even extend the lifespan of those suffering from the disease when used alongside chemotherapy. Oyster, maitake, white button, portabella, and crimini mushrooms were found to have suppressed the growth and reproduction of breast cancer cells. In a study done on about 36,000 males in Japan, it was found that those who consumed mushrooms 3 to 4 times a week were up to 17% less likely to develop prostate cancer compared to those who consumed them only once a week.

Strengthens Bones

Most mushroom types contain a good amount of vitamin D to help us keep our bones and muscles strong. However, Criminis and Button mushrooms contain higher levels of vitamin D than other types and contain just as much of the vitamin compared to supplements. In fact, studies show that eating mushrooms is just as effective as taking Vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D plays a significant role in strengthening the bones and muscles, influencing how our bodies absorb calcium, and supporting the muscles we need to avoid falls.

Helps Manage Diabetes

Button mushrooms can function as prebiotic when consumed daily, regulating the amount of glucose in the liver. Those with health conditions like diabetes can benefit from adding mushrooms to their diet. This is because mushrooms have a low glycemic index and are low in carbohydrates meaning that it does not raise blood sugar levels the way high-carbohydrate foods like bread and pasta do. Since health conditions like diabetes often involve inflammation, having mushrooms in your diet can also help regulate your condition with its anti-inflammatory properties.

How You Can Grow Them

Now that you’re aware of the health benefits mushrooms can provide you, you might be thinking about hitting the supermarket to get this superfood. While it may be easier to do so, you can save on money and gas by growing your own. With that, here are a few ways you can grow mushrooms depending on you your needs.

For Your Business

mushroom
Photo by Ana Viegas on Unsplash

If you’re in the food industry and manage a cafe, restaurant, or a superfood grocery, growing your own mushrooms can provide you many benefits aside from saving you the trip to and from your supplier. You can supply your own store through hydroponic cultivation, where you can grow mushrooms without needing a big plot of land. Not only is it more efficient, but you save on water and space and not have to worry about any chemicals in your produce. In addition to that, plants that grow through a hydroponic system grow anywhere from 30% to 50% faster compared to plants grown with soil.

At Home

Growing mushrooms at home is relatively easy. All you need is a mushroom kit and a cool, dark, and damp place to grow your produce. The most common type of mushrooms grown at home include shiitake, oyster, and white buttons, so if you’re growing mushrooms for the first time, those types are a good place to start. With a little time and effort, you won’t ever have to get your mushrooms at the grocery ever again.

When health is of utmost priority, making sure you’re eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle is important. Even small changes like adding a certain food to your diet can make significant changes to your body, so you must choose foods that provide many health benefits and keep your immune system in tip-top shape.

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