the 7 potential benefits and why include them in your diet

Mushrooms are rarely talked about but in reality they have many benefits to offer: here are the main seven and why include them in your diet.

Mushrooms (Unsplash)

I mushrooms they are an important food, as they are low in calories and provide a wealth of macro and micronutrients. In particular B vitamins, selenium, zinc and copper. B vitamins are important in the production of energy in cells, selenium is a powerful antioxidant, while zinc and copper are essential for a strong immune system.

It is clear that whole mushrooms that are eaten raw or cooked for use in recipes have health benefits:

  1. They support immunity and bone health;
  2. Promote gut health;
  3. They are good for blood pressure;
  4. They are linked to cancer prevention;
  5. Promote longevity;
  6. They increase brain health;
  7. Some psychoactive mushrooms can be used in treatments for mental health conditions.

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Why include mushrooms in your diet: the 7 benefits in detail

mushrooms and health
Gut Health (Pixabay)

1. They support immunity and bone health

When exposed to UV rays, fungi spawn vitamin D. There are not many dietary sources, especially plant sources, of vitamin D. It plays an incredibly crucial role in the health of the immune system and bones: it supports muscle function, reduces the risk of falls, and may have anti-cancer, anti-diabetes and protective properties. the heart.

2. Promote gut health

L’intestine contains trillions of bacteria, and consuming mushrooms can help populate your gastrointestinal tract with the right balance of bacteria to keep it healthy and strengthen your immune system. Mushrooms contain prebiotics, which are the nutrients that probiotics feed on. Therefore, prebiotics from fungi can aid the growth of these beneficial bacteria. Probiotics are live microorganisms, or bacteria, that can have health benefits in the body, as they aid digestion and produce nutrients.

3. Promote blood pressure

An important element within the mushrooms is the potassium. It helps control blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium and improving blood vessel function. The heart health benefits don’t stop there. Mushrooms can also help improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels and reduce inflammation.

4. They have been linked to cancer prevention

In a meta-analysis of 17 studies in Advances in Nutrition published in September 2021, it was found that people who took the most mushrooms had a 34% lower risk of having the cancer than those who ate less, especially in the case of breast cancer. Mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, especially ergothioneine and glutathione, which can protect cells from damage.

5. They can promote longevity when substituted for red meat

I mushrooms they add a savory and meaty flavor to foods. They are the perfect extender to add instead of or in addition to meat in so many recipes. As part of a large prospective cohort study published in April 2021 on Nutrition Journalthe researchers found that study participants who consumed one serving of mushrooms per day compared with those who consumed one serving of processed or red meat had a 35% lower risk of death from any cause.

The possible reason is that in addition to containing those antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione, mushrooms are also low in calories, sodium and fat and contain a lot of fiber.

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6. They can increase brain health

A healthy diet is important for an aging brain, and mushrooms can be part of it. In a study of 663 adults aged 60 and over in Singapore, those who reported consuming more than two servings of mushrooms per week were 57% less likely to develop MCI than those who ate them less often than once. per week. One possible reason for their properties of cognitive protection is ergothioneine, which is not only an antioxidant but also has anti-inflammatory properties, both of which can protect against neuronal damage.

7. Some psychoactive mushrooms can be used in treatments for mental health conditions

There is a lot of talk about using the psilocybin, a hallucinogenic compound found in “magic mushrooms” as a psychedelic treatment for conditions such as depression and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). And, when done under careful supervision, these therapies hold some promise: in a small study (59 people) published in the New England Journal of Medicine in April 2021, a six-week treatment with psilocybin was found to be as effective as a standard antidepressant in relieving depression.

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