March 3

The Surprising Benefits of Mushrooms and Why You Should Eat More


by Julie Baker

Mushrooms are often considered an acquired taste. Some people love the flavor and texture mushrooms add to a meal, and others can't get past the idea that mushrooms are fungi. Regardless of your feelings towards mushrooms or your immediate reflex when thinking of their texture, they are healthy. Mushrooms can benefit everything from your heart to your skin. There are at least seven reasons to start eating more mushrooms in your diet if you don't eat them already.

1. Age-Defying Properties

One thing most people fear more than anything is aging. Mushrooms can help reduce the visible signs of aging thanks to a high concentration of two antioxidants:

  • Glutathione 
  • Ergothioneine

According to recent studies, the two antioxidants protect the body against physiological stress. Physiological stress is the primary cause of wrinkles and other physical signs of aging.

2. Brain-Protecting Properties

According to one Spanish study, consuming foods with polyphenols, including mushrooms, can protect against cognitive decline. Additionally, researchers from Penn State found that the antioxidants glutathione and ergothioneine can also reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

According to the Penn State team, mushrooms are most protective when consumed regularly. They suggest eating five button mushrooms each day. However, they also recommend cooking the mushrooms to preserve nutrients.

3. Mood-Boosting Benefits

The Penn State research team also found that eating mushrooms regularly can improve mental health and mood. According to the researchers, people who eat mushrooms routinely present with a lower risk for depression.

The researchers hypothesize that the mood-boosting effects of mushrooms relate to the antioxidant ergothioneine. The compound combats oxidative stress, which can, in turn, reduce depression symptoms.

4. Memory-Boosting Effects

A study from the University of Singapore in 2019 suggests mushrooms might have memory-boosting benefits. According to the researchers, consuming two three-quarter- cup servings of cooked mushrooms weekly can reduce the risks of cognitive decline. More research is necessary to support the claim, but the initial findings seem promising.

5. Bone-Density Advantages

Mushrooms can benefit bone strength and density, but you must select the right package. When grocery shopping, look for mushrooms labeled UVB.

UVB-labeled mushrooms are grown in UV light, making them an excellent source of vitamin D. UV-exposed mushrooms contain the compound ergosterol that gets converted into the essential vitamin. By eating only three ounces of UVB mushrooms, you can meet your vitamin D needs for the day.

6. Heart Healthy Options

Most recipes call for salt for taste. Salt is not heart-healthy. Thankfully, mushrooms can take the place of salt, even providing a better flavor because of the glutamate ribonucleotides.

A cup of mushrooms only contains 5 mg of sodium. Additionally, veggies have no effects on blood pressure or risks related to heart disease.

7. Energy-Boosting Power 

Mushrooms are also rich in several B vitamins, including B2, B9, B1, B5, and B3. Each of the B vitamins helps the body convert food into energy, producing red blood cells and carrying oxygen throughout your body.

Mushrooms do seem to be an acquired taste, but there are many reasons to put in the effort to eat them. Mushrooms are full of antioxidants and nutrients, and they have the power to reduce cognitive decline and improve your mood and energy. Stop avoiding the healthiest foods, and chow down on some mushrooms.


Benefits, Mushrooms

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