Mushrooms & A Healthy Diet


Including mushrooms in your healthy diet is recommended as they are edible fungi that contain important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are classified as vegetables but aren’t technically plants. Mushrooms are of the fungi kingdom and include yeasts and molds and the fruit bodies of multicellular fungi growing above or below ground. Mushrooms have been consumed for centuries and found in 13,000-year-old archaeological sites in Chile, and first recorded for consumption dating to 300-200 B.C. in China.

We tend to get our mushrooms the safe and easy way through the grocery store. These are almost all grown in controlled and sterilized environments on commercial farms. There are many wild outdoor varieties that are highly toxic to humans. Think again before buying your mushrooms anywhere other than the market.

The sodium in mushrooms is low, as well as cholesterol, fat, and calories, but they are high in antioxidants. Several minerals such as selenium, copper, iron, potassium, and phosphorus are provided as well. A role that selenium plays in liver enzyme function is in helping to detoxify some cancer-causing compounds and has also been found to improve immune response to infection by stimulating the production of killer T-cells.

Vitamin D and the B vitamins riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, pantothenic acid, and folate, are contained in mushrooms as well. Mushrooms are the only source of vitamin D in the produce section that inhibits the growth of cancer cells by contributing to the regulation of the cell growth cycle. Choline is a nutrient that helps with muscle movement, learning, sleep and memory and is contained in mushrooms.

It has been suggested through studies that increasing the amount of naturally grown foods as mushrooms in our diet, decreases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. They are also high in potassium and low in sodium that helps to lower blood pressure and decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Mushrooms are also used in holistic cancer treatment. Two types of dietary fiber are in their cell walls: chitin and beta-glucan, which can reduce appetite and increase satiety.

Be sure to choose mushrooms that are dry and firm and in a brown paper bag in the refrigerator shelf.

Do not put them in the veggie drawer or crisper, as excess humidity is bad for them. They will keep two to three days if stored in this manner. Be sure to Google the Internet for all those great recipes that contain mushrooms. Portobello mushrooms are great in sandwiches and all kind of sauces. If you think you are allergic to mold, you may experience food allergy symptoms. This might be as gastrointestinal distress. If this happens, just don’t consume them anymore. Enjoy mushrooms! Not only are they good for you, but also they taste great, don’t they?

                                                                                                           –Dr Fredda Branyon

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