The benefits of mushrooms have risen to superfood status. It’s easy to overlook the quiet mushroom when sifting through the rainbow of fruits and vegetables at the market. These humble little fungi may not speak out loud with bright, rich color, but their nutritional value sends it leaping ahead with the blueberries and broccoli!

Believe it or not, numerous studies are revealing how mushrooms may help decrease our risk of heart disease and cancer – such bold power from a button!

“Mushrooms may seem plain, but they really are a superfood,” says dietician Dr. Sarah Schenker.

Dr. Schenker goes on to report that mushrooms contain virtually no fat, sugar or salt and are a valuable source of dietary fiber as well as B vitamins thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6) and folate.

“They also contain the essential minerals potassium, copper, phosphorous and iron,” adds Dr. Schenker. And, “most significant among their mineral content is selenium, which you don’t find in many fruit and vegetables.”

“Selenium is a mineral that works as an antioxidant to protect body cells from damage that might lead to heart disease, some cancers and other diseases of aging. It also has been found to be important for the immune system and fertility in men. Many foods of animal origin and grains are good sources of selenium, but mushrooms are among the richest sources of selenium in the produce aisle and provide 8-22 mcg per serving. This is good news for vegetarians, whose sources of selenium are limited.” Source – fresh mushrooms nature’s hidden treasure Please visit this site for further information on the benefits of mushrooms.

Leslee Dru Browning at reports, “Regular ingestion of mushrooms over long periods of time has been proven to decrease the amount of cancerous cells in the body. They not only fight and reduce cancerous cells and tumors, but they help prevent more of those cells from forming in the body.” Please visit their site for more details on further research and a brief list of the different benefits of mushrooms.

Mushrooms are, also, a good source of vitamin D. Steve Connor, Science editor at The Independent writes, “Scientists have found it is possible to boost levels of vitamin D in commercially-grown mushrooms by exposing them to short bursts of ultraviolet light either before or after harvesting. Tests show that vitamin D in the mushroom can be boosted to match levels typically found in vitamin D-rich foods, such as oily fish, liver and egg yolks.”

“Wild mushrooms are rich in vitamin D because they grow in daylight, adds Connor. “Wild chanterelle, porcini mushrooms, and shitake mushrooms also contain relatively high levels because of their sunlight exposure. But button mushrooms are usually grown in the dark to preserve their white complexion. Exposure to ultraviolet light increases their vitamin-D levels about a hundredfold.”

Research has mainly focused on exotic mushrooms, but considering there are more than 2,500 different varieties growing in the wild, scientists are broadening their research on the benefits of mushrooms. For examples…

The shitake contains an active antiviral compound called lentinan, which has been found to boost the immune system. This shroom may decrease blood cholesterol and reduce the harmful effects of saturated fat as well.

The maitake is an excellent source of beta-glucans, which have potentially anti-tumor effects.

The tree ear, or wood ear, even in small amounts, can thin the blood, thus preventing heart disease and stroke.

The modest white button mushroom may also display noteworthy health benefits of mushrooms. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University discovered how a mere handful of these little white buttons have about 12 times more of the powerful antioxidant, L-Ergothioneine than wheatgerm and 4 times more than chicken liver, previously thought to be the best sources.

L-Ergothioneine is an antioxidant that works on cell-damaging substances known as free radicals and protects the body’s DNA from damage.

As a result of this research, Pennsylvania University advocated that white mushrooms be elevated to superfood status as well.

Meanwhile, Hanyang University in South Korea found mushrooms may lower the risk of breast cancer.

Dr. Schenker says most of us don’t realize that mushrooms count as 1 of our recommended 5-a-day fruit and vegetables: an 80 gram serving provides one portion.

Benefits of Mushrooms – Nutritional Value for 1 cup of mushrooms slices and pieces (approximately 70 grams):

  • 15 calories
  • .25 grams fat
  • 2.5 grams carbohydrates
  • 2 grams protein

The benefits of mushrooms are vast. If you’re not a fan, it’s time to develop your taste. If you don’t, you’ll miss out on providing your body with the nutrients, proteins, minerals, and vitamins it needs to generate energy and repair cells. Consider too that mushrooms are one of the most remarkable foods when it comes to supporting a healthy immune system. They have been used to cure or improve eyesight, hearing, circulation, impotency, stop migraine headaches, tumors, influenza, and even cancer as well!

Mushrooms are low in carbohydrates, calories, sodium and are cholesterol and fat free. High in fiber and protein, mushrooms will help to keep your hunger satisfied for longer, and their strong B vitamin content will help maintain a healthy metabolism. Don’t not forget that mushrooms are an excellent source of potassium as well – a mineral that helps lower elevated blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke. One medium portabella mushroom has even more potassium than a banana or a glass of orange juice!

There’s a whole lot of benefits of mushrooms for you to digest here, so think about it for a bit, and then hit the market. Shop for the humble mushroom and make it a regular on your plate. your body will thank you for it.

Remember, toadstools are not just for the fairies. 😉