Fungi are edible mushrooms with several scientific names and their last name is «Agaricus». They are essentially Saprophytes, the organisms (plants without chlorophyll) that thrive by extracting nutrients from dead and decaying plants and animal matter. They vary greatly in color, texture, shape and properties. There are approximately 140,000 species of fungus-forming fungi in the world, but science is only familiar with about 10%, while only 100 species are being studied for their possible health benefits and medicinal applications. The health benefits of fungi include relief of high cholesterol levels, breast cancer, prostate cancer and diabetes. They also help you lose weight and increase the strength of your immune system. Almost all of us are familiar with fungi and their miraculous and beneficial powers. Particularly those who have read or heard many fairy tales like Alice in Wonderland, ThreeBears, and a baby or even those who have played the video game Super Mario Bros.
You’ve probably seen mushrooms making someone bigger or acting as a shield against some dangerous monster. These are not only references of popular culture, but they are symbolic representations of the real health benefits of fungi. They can really make you grow and protect you against diseases and infections, since they are full of proteins, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antibiotics and antioxidants. Fungi are not the most glorious, beautiful or fragrant creations of nature, but mushrooms certainly have their weight in terms of health. However unappealing it may be that they are budding mushrooms, the benefits of mushrooms are incredibly potent, making them a healthy food that can unconditionally rise to a state of superfood.
Types of Fungi:
White mushrooms may already be a staple of your diet, but there is a wide range of edible mushrooms available at your grocery store. Learn about the six most common types and learn how to prepare mushrooms (wash or not wash?), And you will be ready to use them in a variety of recipes.
- With a fruity aroma, the chanterelles range from yellow, orange and brown to pale white or black.
- Funnel-shaped caps have wrinkles instead of gills at the bottom, which should be washed quickly but carefully before using.
- The most common type, white mushrooms vary in size from the small button called, which are harvested when they are young and have the mildest taste, to jumbo, which can be filled and baked.
- Cream to pale white, they have a firm texture and a delicate flavor.
- Oyster mushrooms, velvety and trumpet-shaped, have delicate brown, gray or reddish tops on the gray-white stalks.
- They have a spicy taste that becomes very soft when cooked. Small and young specimens are considered the best.
- Up to 6 inches wide, portobellos have a great flavor and texture similar to a steak; in fact, giant umbrella-like caps are often eaten as vegetarian hamburger substitutes.
- Remove woody stems before eating.
- With fleshy tacos of brown to dark brown, shiitakes have a clearly smoky taste and taste better when cooked.
- Available fresh or dried, they work well in sauteed, since the flavor does not fade along with ginger and garlic.
- Although the stems are too difficult to eat and should be removed from the heads before cooking, you can use them to season the sauces before discarding.
- Like white mushrooms, but with a firmer texture and a deeper flavor, creminis are really immature portobellos.
- Button-shaped tops range from light brown to deep brown. The stems are edible.
16 Important Health Benefits of Fungi:
The health benefits of fungi are abundant, for thousands of years, the benefits of fungi have been revered as a central part of traditional oriental medicine, but only recently have they obtained the credit they deserve in the rest of the world. Of all mushrooms consumed in the USA. In the US, 90 percent are white button mushrooms (or crimini).
“The varieties of fungi cover the entire range, and their flavor, taste and texture are as nuanced as their health benefits”.
White mushrooms will be the focus of this list, taking into account their popularity, but the benefits of much more unique mushrooms are also highlighted, as they bring incredible health benefits and uses to the table.
1. Reduce Cholesterol:
- Mushrooms provide lean protein because they have no cholesterol or fat and have very few carbohydrates.
- The fiber and certain enzymes in them also help reduce cholesterol levels.
- In addition, the high content of lean protein found in them helps burn cholesterol when digested.
- Balancing cholesterol levels between LDL (“bad”) and HDL (“good”) cholesterol is essential in the prevention of various cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke.
2. Treat Anemia:
- Anemic patients are characterized by having low levels of iron in the blood, resulting in fatigue, headaches, reduced neuronal function and digestive problems.
- Fungi are a good source of iron, and more than 90% of the nutritional value of iron can be absorbed by the body, which promotes the formation of red blood cells and keeps people healthy and functioning at their full potential.
3. Help Prevent Cancer:
- Fungi are very effective in preventing breast and prostate cancer due to the significant presence of Beta-Glucans and Conjugated Linoleic Acid, which have anticancer effects.
- Of these two, linoleic acid is particularly useful for suppressing the harmful effects of excess estrogen.
- This increase in estrogen is one of the main causes of breast cancer in women after menopause.
- Beta-Glucans, on the other hand, inhibit the growth of cancer cells in cases of prostate cancer, and numerous studies have demonstrated the antitumor properties of fungi when applied medicinally.
4. Prevents Diabetes:
- Fungi are an ideal low energy diet for diabetics.
- They have no fat, no cholesterol, very low levels of carbohydrates, high protein content and a lot of vitamins and minerals. They also contain a lot of water and fiber.
- In addition, they contain natural insulin and enzymes that help the breakdown of sugar or starch in food.
- It is also known to contain certain compounds that help the proper functioning of the liver, pancreas and other endocrine glands, thus promoting the formation of insulin and its proper regulation throughout the body.
- Diabetics often suffer from infections, especially in their extremities, which tend to last for long periods of time.
- The natural antibiotics in them can help protect diabetics from these painful and life-threatening conditions.
5. Improves Bone Health:
- Fungi are a rich source of calcium, which is an essential nutrient in the formation and strengthening of bones.
- A constant supply of calcium in the diet can reduce your chances of developing conditions such as osteoporosis and can also reduce joint pain and the general lack of mobility that is associated with bone degradation.
6. Help in Nutrient Absorption:
- Vitamin D is a relatively rare vitamin to find in vegetables, and in fact, edible forms, in general, are not particularly common.
- However, fungi do, and this essential vitamin can facilitate the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus.
- Calcium and phosphorus are also present in good amounts in fungi, so the combined effects of having all these nutrients make it a good idea to eat them whenever possible.
7. Stimulates the Immune System:
- Ergotionein, a powerful antioxidant present in fungi, is very effective in providing protection against free radicals and in stimulating the immune system.
- Actually, it is an amino acid that contains sulfur, which is something that many people are deficient of, despite not knowing it or seeing its effects.
- That said, the presence of this “master antioxidant” that is exclusive to fungi can give a great boost to the health of your immune system.
- Ergothioneine helps eliminate free radicals, which are dangerous compounds released during the metabolic processes of cells, and can float throughout the body and cause significant damage and disease.
- Mushrooms contain natural antibiotics (similar to penicillin), which inhibit microbial growth and other fungal infections. Those same polysaccharides, beta-glucans, can stimulate and regulate the body’s immune system.
- They can also help heal ulcers and ulcerative wounds and protect them from developing infections. The good combination of vitamin A, complex B and C found in them also strengthens the immune system.
8. Contributes to Lower Blood Pressure:
- Studies of various types of fungi, including shiitake and maitake mushrooms, have shown that they have a high potassium content.
- Potassium acts as a vasodilator, relaxing tension in blood vessels and therefore reducing blood pressure.
- High blood pressure is connected to a series of deadly conditions, particularly heart attacks and strokes.
- Potassium also increases cognitive function, because the increased flow of blood and oxygen to the brain stimulates neuronal activity. Studies have shown that increasing potassium levels improves memory and knowledge retention.
9. Increases Iron Absorption:
- Copper has a number of beneficial effects on the body and can be found in fungi.
- Copper can regulate and stimulate the absorption of iron from food, and use it properly by releasing it from primary storage places in the body, such as the liver.
- Fungi also have high levels of iron, so they both work together to have healthy bones and prevent anemia.
10. Rich in Selenium:
- The selenium content in fungi is one of the most beneficial elements that is often overlooked.
- The primary source of selenium is in animal proteins; However, due to their classification as fungi that feed on animal and plant matter, fungi are the best way for vegetarians to obtain the necessary amount of selenium.
- Selenium is found in large amounts in fungi and can benefit bone health by increasing bone strength and increasing durability.
- It also strengthens teeth, hair and nails, in addition, this essential nutrient is a powerful antioxidant, which removes the body from free radicals and generally strengthens the immune system.
- The bioavailability of selenium in fungi differs depending on the species, but most commonly consumed mushrooms have significant levels of this important mineral.
11. Weight Loss:
- Would you believe me if I said that a completely lean protein diet is ideal for losing fat and building muscle mass? Well, believe it or not, it’s true.
- Most fats are burned to digest the proteins found in our food, especially when the protein is accompanied by a very low carbohydrate count, without fat or cholesterol, and a good amount of fiber, this is exactly the combination They offer mushrooms to help lose weight.
- Because of their nutrient density, they actually have a higher range than most fruits and vegetables, and some researchers say that mushrooms are one of the rare foods that people can eat as often as possible, without side effects.
- One study replaced red meat with white button mushrooms, approximately one cup per day, and found that those test subjects who ate these not only lost a significant amount of weight over a standard period of time, but also lowered their waistlines. , and more able to maintain their new weight, instead of returning to the original weight as in most crash diets.
12. Regenerates the Skin:
- For soft and supple skin, use products that are infused with fungi.
- According to a Chinese study, white button fungus extract increases collagen fibers and benefits skin regeneration after injury.
13. Help in Patients with Hepatitis B:
- Maitake mushrooms also help in the recovery of patients with hepatitis B.
- In a study among 32 patients with chronic hepatitis B, there was a recovery rate of 72 percent in the Maitake group compared to a recovery rate of 57 percent in the control group.
14. Everyday Spice:
- You will often see dried mushrooms, such as shiitakes, that are sold in ethnic food stores or health food stores.
- Grind these dried mushrooms in a fine powder and use them as a complement to your meals: from soups and salads to scrambled eggs and pasta sauces, their salty flavor brings much more than a delicious flavor to your meals.
- Get the essential amino acids and nutrients that fungi have to offer in every bite without having to turn them into the center of the dish.
15. Reduce Inflammation:
- Even compared to other mushroom superstars, such as shiitake, oyster and maitake varieties, white button mushrooms are exceptionally advanced to reduce inflammation.
- Adding white mushrooms to the diet has been shown to change the body’s microflora and create metabolic changes that ultimately lead to less inflammatory cells.
16. HIV Defense:
- A 2004 study funded by the National Institutes of Health and its department of alternative medicine, doctors discovered that there was a benefit from ingesting a tea made from lyophilized oyster mushrooms grown on wood over antiretroviral-induced hyperlipidemia in HIV patients.
Seriously, mushrooms can be very dangerous. Most species of fungi are not edible, are highly poisonous and look strikingly similar to their edible counterparts. Never try to collect them for forest consumption unless you have been trained to identify them very well. Fungi have the unique ability to absorb the material on which they grow, whether good or bad. This quality is what gives them much of their beneficial power, but also their dangerous aspects. Many fungi, when collected in nature, contain heavy metals, which can be very toxic, as well as air and water pollutants. Also, don’t trust any unknown seller when you buy mushrooms. Always rely on sealed products from reputable companies or those you have grown yourself under controlled conditions after purchasing your seeds (called spawners) from a reliable source.
A single poisonous fungus, among others, on a plate can threaten a large number of people, causing comas, severe symptoms of intoxication, nausea, vomiting, seizures, cramps and dementia. Many species can even be fatal if ingested. Always avoid eating colorless colors or those that are a color different from the typically accepted color of your species.