Low in calories and high in antioxidants, fiber, minerals and B-complex vitamins, mushrooms have been considered “God’s food” or an “elixir of life,” reports Health.
Mushrooms are low in calories. Photo: Archive
Here’s why you should consume them:
They have anti-inflammatory properties
Mushrooms are considered to be among the best foods with anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation in the body is linked to autoimmune conditions and chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Several bioactive compounds, such as beta-glucan, found in mushrooms have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties that may protect against several diseases.
They can help prevent diabetes
Mushrooms are low in calories and have a low glycemic index. And although research is limited, studies have shown that the presence of natural compounds in mushrooms help lower blood sugar levels by inhibiting glucose absorption.
They can also improve both pancreatic function and insulin release.
Mushrooms can also be an important source of vitamin D. Research has shown a link between low vitamin D intake and insulin resistance.
They can help fight obesity
A review of the research revealed that this may be due in part to the mushrooms’ anti-inflammatory properties.
Mushrooms, which contain a large amount of water (90%), also contribute to weight maintenance when eaten as an alternative to meat. In a clinical trial of 73 obese adults, mushrooms were substituted for red meat in the participants’ regular diet. At the end of a year, those who ate mushrooms consumed fewer calories, lost weight and had smaller waist sizes.
I can keep my blood pressure under control
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. A recent review shows that mushrooms contain bioactive compounds that help lower blood pressure. Some of these compounds relax blood vessels, which promotes circulation.
Mushrooms can help keep blood pressure under control due to their vitamin D content, as low levels of vitamin D in the blood are associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure.
May reduce the risk of depression
Research has found that mushrooms contain numerous bioactive compounds that may be associated with reducing anxiety, including vitamin B12, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory substances.
Mushrooms are also rich in ergothioneine, an amino acid that acts as an antioxidant.
Supports brain health
Mushrooms can help fight cognitive disorders. A study in Singapore evaluated 663 participants aged 60 and over. Compared to participants who ate mushrooms less than once a week, adults who ate more than two servings a week were less likely to develop cognitive impairment.
They support the immune system
After a review of the research, it was found that mushrooms have an important effect on the gut microbiome due to prebiotics, which essentially serve as food for the good bacteria.
Mushrooms support the immune system thanks to their natural antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.
Lower risk of cancer
A recent review of research shows that mushrooms can prevent cancer from developing and spreading. One study showed that the risk of breast cancer was 35% lower in people who ate mushrooms compared to those who did not.
However, more research is needed to understand whether and to what extent mushrooms can reduce cancer risk.
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