There are numerous varieties of mushrooms all over the world. They come in different shapes, colors, and sizes. While they are edible, a bunch of mushroom varieties is toxic and harmful.
Modern agriculture has seen mushrooms grown just like many edible foods. In fact, they are imported and exported between countries. From time immemorial, mushrooms have been used for their nutritional value and ability to change the flavor of many cultural dishes. Mushrooms are fungi, but in the kitchen, they are usually grouped with vegetables for various recipes. Even without salt or fat, mushrooms will still bring the intended taste they naturally have. It can be very hard to tell a poisonous mushroom in the wild, so stick to the stocked one in the grocery. Healthy ones include Portobello, shiitake, oyster, enoki, maitake, crimini, beech, and white or button mushroom. This article discusses the health benefits and safety of mushrooms.
How To Store Mushrooms
Just like any other food, mushrooms can also be stored for a considerable number of days. You need to understand that each variety of mushrooms has its distinct look and taste. When you want to purchase one from the grocery, you will want to feel for their firmness, their texture, and of course, take a look all round. A fresh mushroom feels firm and is not moist to touch. It should not contain any mold. Mushrooms can last for up to five days in a fridge. You only need to store them in an airtight paper bag and put them in the fridge. When you are ready to eat them, remember to brush off the dirt and rinse them.
Potential Health Benefits of Eating Mushrooms
It’s high time you considered mushrooms a superfood. From containing virtually zero fat, zero cholesterol to low calories, you can never go wrong with these fungi foods. Mushrooms are also loaded with other nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It is worth mentioning that different types of mushrooms have a varied nutritional profiles. All the same, they are a great source of nutrients mentioned below.
There are two types of fiber known so far – soluble and insoluble. Beta-glucan is a type of soluble fiber, and it is believed to help reduce cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Similarly, beta-glucan can also help control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. To get most beta-glucans, you can opt for shiitake or oyster mushrooms.
Your body can naturally produce antioxidants. The foods you eat daily, like mushrooms, can also provide antioxidants. These are stable compounds that help reverse damages caused by free radicals. While free radicals are harmless at lower levels, their accumulation beyond the antioxidant level can lead to a condition called oxidative stress, which can lead to chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Antioxidants can also boost your immune system and reduce the damages of aging. Mushrooms contain high amounts of an antioxidant called selenium.
Copper is a mineral that partakes in the production and maturation of red blood cells. Hemoglobin, together with red blood cells, transport and deliver oxygen to all parts of your body. This mineral is also involved in other functions like increasing bone density and maintaining the health of your nerves. Cooking does not alter with copper content in mushrooms, and it is in that state that they can provide up to a third of the daily recommended value for copper in just one cup serving.
Each B vitamin has a specific function in your body, all channeled to improving and maintaining your health. Mushrooms contain various types of B vitamins, including pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and niacin. This is a perfect combo that narrows the risk of heart disease. Pantothenic acid is important in the maintenance of a healthy nervous system and the production of hormones. Riboflavin is important for the formation and maturation of red blood cells. Niacin is good for a healthy digestive system and the maintenance of healthy skin.
Potassium is one of the most essential minerals in your body. Together with sodium, calcium, and magnesium, they are macro minerals. Potassium is good for the contraction of muscles and the heart and promotes a healthy nervous system. Mushrooms, particularly Portobello, provide potassium as much as a medium-sized banana.
How To Consume Mushrooms
Mushrooms are versatile. They can easily be added to many foods. You can prepare mushrooms in your own preferred way and mix them with various ingredients. Once you have sliced them raw, you can add them to a salad or grill them. They can also be sauteed or roasted.
Similarly, you can comfortably add them to wraps or sandwiches, casseroles, or soups. They also work well with Italian dishes. Alternatively, you can eat them alone as vegetables or as a side dish. The texture of Portobello mushrooms is sort of meaty and, therefore, can be taken as steaks or burgers. Maitake mushrooms can be added to pizza, omelets, or salad.
Additionally, maitake mushrooms can be made into a supplement that can be consumed as a liquid concentrate or taken as a dry capsule. This is available in a brand name called Maitake D-fraction. Talk to your doctor before taking this supplement, as the dosage will be determined by your age, health status, and weight.
Risk and Side Effects of Eating Mushrooms
There is no recorded side effect of eating too many mushrooms. Telling whether one mushroom is poisonous or not in the wild is very hard unless it is the same variety you have been using. It would be best if you bought your mushrooms from the grocery to avoid getting poisoned. Maitake mushrooms, for example, may cause an allergic reaction in some people. Diabetic patients should also talk with their healthcare provider before eating mushrooms. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also consult their doctor before using mushrooms.
Mushrooms are nutritious food that can be eaten alongside different foods. They can be added to omelets and pizza. They are cholesterol-free and contain few calories. Mushrooms provide beta-glucans, antioxidants, and copper, which may benefit your health in various ways.