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The medicinal use of mushrooms dates back to thousands of years in Asian countries. Incorporating mushrooms into your diet is a healthy idea as they are an excellent source of B vitamins, fiber, trace minerals, and even protein. Yet they are low in calories and carbohydrates. With so many species of mushrooms with numerous compounds, each offering their own unique nutritious benefits, we shall attempt to highlight a few health benefits of eating mushroom regularly.
Mushrooms are known to boost the immune system and combat many diseases. They contain a wide range of bioactive molecules that have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and antioxidant abilities. Mushrooms also aid in maintaining a balanced pH level in the body by alkalizing the body. This is vital in boosting immunity in the body because diseases find it hard to grow in an alkaline environment.
Mushrooms are associated with lowered inflammation which typically is the root of most diseases. Mushrooms can improve almost every system in the body and protect you from numerous diseases. They also inhibit viruses and decrease the severity of illness in those who are already sick. Studies have also shown that mushrooms have special aggressive abilities against toxic multi-resistant bacterial strains and microorganisms that cause stomach and skin problems. In fact, some compounds present in common antibiotics including penicillin, tetracycline and streptomycin are derived from mushroom fungal extracts.
Prevents Certain Cancers
Cancer prevention is really the field where mushrooms get the most attention. Asian cultures have known this truth for centuries and have used certain mushrooms as a natural cancer treatment. Traditional Chinese medicine practices use over 200 mushroom species which have been found to be highly effective in fighting harmful tumors. Mushrooms are really fungi (not vegetables) and supply germanium, a nutrient that escalates oxygen use in the body and fights free radical damage. This essentially lowers the risk for developing cancer.
Protect The Heart
Majority of mushroom species prevent heart disease by lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol and preventing arteries from hardening – both of which are risk factors in heart diseases. They contain sterol compounds that restrict the production of cholesterol in the liver; nevertheless in the same breath they can raise HDL “good” cholesterol.
Support Energy and Improve Brain Function
Mushrooms are a rich source of stress-defying B vitamins which aids in neurotransmitter function, that helps break through “brain fog”. B Vitamins also prevent thyroid disorders and generally maintain healthy metabolism. They also help convert nutrients from food into usable energy and maintain adrenal function.
Great Source of Vitamin D
While we know that vitamin D is best obtained from direct exposure from the sun, eating vitamin D-rich foods can also help reduce bone loss, heart diseases, mood disorders and cancer. Certain kinds of mushrooms are an excellent source of this important vitamin D. Just by exposing mushrooms to UV light, whether they’re grown indoors under certain light fixtures or outdoors, increases their concentration of vitamin D. Mushrooms supply vitamin D2, D3 - best utilized by humans - and vitamin D4.
Brooke Bailey is a personal trainer, masseuse, and student in health and wellness.
She currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Follow her on Facebook.