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Mushrooms are rich in B vitamins such as riboflavin, folate, thiamine, pantothenic acid, and niacin. They are also the only vegan, non-fortified dietary source of vitamin D. Mushrooms also provide several minerals that may be difficult to obtain in the diet, such as selenium, potassium, copper, iron, and phosphorus.
Often grouped with vegetables, mushrooms provide many of the nutritional attributes of produce, as well as attributes more commonly found in meat, beans or grains. Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free and very low in sodium, yet they provide several nutrients that are typically found in animal foods or grains. Like all fruits and vegetables, mushrooms are naturally gluten free, and make a delicious and nutritious addition to a gluten-free diet.
Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions. Countless studies have suggested that increasing consumption of naturally-grown foods like mushrooms decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality, diabetes, heart disease and promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight.
- Cancer: Mushrooms contain just as high an antioxidant capacity as carrots, tomatoes, green and red peppers, pumpkins, green beans, Selenium and zucchini. selenium prevents inflammation and also decreases tumor growth rates.
- Diabetes: Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels.
- Heart health: The fiber, potassium and vitamin C content in mushrooms all contribute to cardiovascular health. Potassium and sodium work together in the body to help regulate blood pressure. Consuming mushrooms, which are high in potassium and low in sodium helps to lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.
- Immunity: Selenium has also been found to improve immune response to infection by stimulating production of killer T-cells.
- Weight management: Dietary fiber plays an important role in weight management by functioning as a “bulking agent” in the digestive system.
Although wild mushrooms have been part of the human diet for several centuries, uncultivated wild mushrooms may pose a risk to those unable to distinguish between those safe and dangerous for consumption.
Eating wild mushrooms that are toxic to humans can cause severe illness and sometimes even death. Studies have also shown that some wild mushrooms contain high levels of heavy metals and other harmful chemicals.
In order to avoid these dangers, it is best to consume mushrooms that have been cultivated under appropriate conditions.
This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.