5 Health Benefits Of Mushrooms

Mushrooms could certainly qualify as one of the more underrated powerhouses of nutrition. While they are available in several varieties, they can all be beneficial one way or another as long as they are edible. Here are some of the health benefits you could enjoy:

1. They are low in calories

One serving of white, raw mushrooms is estimated to contain only 20 calories. And if that was not enough, it also contains zero fat and is very low in sodium. 

They might provide as much satiety as meat, according to a 2017 study published in the journal Appetite — the study, however, was funded by the Mushroom Council. Nevertheless, given what we know of their nutritional profile, mushrooms are a great ingredient to use if you are trying to get to a healthy weight.

2. They are anti-inflammatory

They may be able to reduce inflammation in the body thanks to the presence of antioxidants like ergothioneine and selenium, as noted by Angela Lemond, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

"Mushrooms are a great food to consume when you have minor inflammation, such as any injury, or if you have any autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus," she told TIME.

3. They can boost bone health

A single serving of cooked mushroom can provide up to a third of the daily recommended amount of copper, an essential trace mineral which is needed to maintain healthy bones.

When it comes to foods, mushrooms are also the only non-fortified, plant-based source of vitamin D which helps the bones by aiding the absorption of calcium. But the vitamin is only produced when exposed to ultraviolet light, which means that mushrooms grown indoors may not contain much of it.

4. They can benefit vegans

Speaking of vitamin D, it is known that vegans have to make more of an effort to obtain the nutrient. Minerals such as iron, selenium, potassium, copper, and phosphorus are also easy to miss in a vegan diet.

The good news is that mushrooms are a source of all the aforementioned nutrients, making it a very useful component in this restricted dietary pattern. Mushrooms are also rich in B vitamins with folate being particularly important during pregnancy.

5. They might fight aging

Back in 2017, researchers from Pennsylvania State University examined 13 varieties of mushrooms and found them to have high amounts of two important antioxidants — ergothioneine (ERGO) and glutathione (GSH), both of which may have anti-aging properties.

"Countries that have more ergothioneine in their diets — like France and Italy — also have lower incidences of neurodegenerative diseases," study author Robert Beelman, Ph.D., stated in a press release. Of all the varieties that were tested, the researchers found that the porcini had the highest amount of the two compounds.