Surprising Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Surprising Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Surprising Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Cultures around the world have been enjoying mushrooms for centuries, for both culinary and medicinal purposes. It is estimated that there are close to 300 to 2,000 edible varieties of mushrooms. However, only about 10 are grown commercially, with the most popular being oyster, shiitake, and white button.

Whether you eat mushrooms raw or cooked, they are an excellent addition to the diet. Below are 5 surprising health benefits of mushrooms.

1. Cancer Fighting Properties. Researchers tested five different types of mushrooms (maitake, crimini, portabella, oyster and white button) and found that they significantly reduce breast cancer cell growth and reproduction. Researchers also suggest both common and specialty mushrooms may be chemoprotective against breast cancer.

Shiitake mushrooms, for example, contain lentinan, a type of sugar molecule that is believed to help extend the survival of patients with certain types of cancers when used with chemotherapy. It has shown to have anti-tumor effects because it enhances immune health, which may slow the growth of tumors. It also combats viruses and microbes.

2. Boosts Immunity. While lentinan boosts your immune health, mushrooms also contain beta-glucan, a sugar found in the cell walls of fungi that also boosts immune health. Beta-glucan is found in a variety of mushrooms, as well as other plant sources, but most commonly the white button mushroom.

3. Lowers cholesterol. Mushrooms, in general, are cholesterol-free and also a good source of chitin and beta-glucan, fibers that help lower cholesterol levels. While shiitake mushrooms contain a compound that helps the liver properly process cholesterol and remove it from the bloodstream.         

Mushrooms also contain phytonutrients that are believed to help prevent cells from sticking to blood vessels walls and forming plaque buildup. This also maintains healthy blood pressure and improves circulation.

4. Rich in Vitamin D and B Vitamins. Mushrooms are one of the very few food sources that contain vitamin D. Button mushrooms and criminis are especially rich in vitamin D, though criminis are also high in vitamin B12. B12 is essential for vegans and vegetarians because it commonly only found in animal-based foods. B vitamins are also needed in our diet because they convert the food we eat into energy while the vitamin D promotes bone growth and helps the body absorb calcium.

5. Anti-inflammatory Properties. Mushrooms are rich in antioxidants that can help lower inflammation throughout the body. Reishi mushrooms are especially beneficial since they have powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Multiple studies have also found that reishi mushrooms help combat disease, reduce tumor growth, suppress allergic responses and much more!

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