Love them or hate them, it sure does seem like mushrooms are a polarizing food. For those who love to eat them, there are many benefits to making them a regular part of a well-balanced diet.
Even though they're technically a fungus, mushrooms count toward daily vegetable intake recommendations, so add them to a stir fry or chop them up and drop them in a soup to reap their benefits regularly.
Mushrooms contain antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that promote wellness. Eating them regularly may even help prevent cancer, diabetes and heart disease. This fungus also gives the immune system a boost. Read on to learn more about the health benefits of cooking with mushrooms.
Since mushrooms contain antioxidants, eating them may be a great cancer prevention habit. Antioxidants help prevent cancer and heart disease by taking on free radicals in the body. Since free radicals are impossible to avoid altogether, eating more vegetables and fruits can support your body in its defense against disease.
The immune system needs all the help it can get and mushrooms provide an extra boost because they contain selenium. This antioxidant specifically helps prevent cancer and tumor growth, protects against heart disease and reduces inflammation in the body. With more mushrooms in your diet, you can give your body a stronger immune system.
Mushrooms are a good source of dietary fiber. Depending on the type of mushroom, they may contain anywhere from 0.5 to 2.3 grams of fiber per serving.
Fiber offers well-known health benefits, such as appetite management and of course, it contributes to bowel health. Less commonly known, though, is that fiber actually helps control blood sugar. This can help decrease the chance of diabetes. Additionally, cholesterol can be reduced with a high fiber diet.
Mushrooms are also packed with vitamins and nutrients. Their high potassium and vitamin C content are believed to be specifically beneficial for those who are looking to lower their risk of heart disease.
Mushrooms also contain beta-glucans which have been used to develop medications and supplements. This nutrient is known to help lower cholesterol and treat cancer.
Phew! These little powerhouses are a too often overlooked healthy addition, so load 'em up! There are different kinds of mushrooms, including the easily available portabella, shitake and crimini as well as some more exotic and different tastes like oyster mushrooms. Each type of mushroom has its own unique nutritional profile, so your best bet for gaining the full benefits is to vary the types you use and cook with. But we should all almost certainly be cooking with them.
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