Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Mushrooms, under the right circumstances, can be very good for you, but leave the picking to the professionals.

 

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Source: http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4062/4429971483_dafb84efbe_o.jpg

Below is a look at what makes mushrooms so special, but also what things to watch out for.

Inside Mushrooms

Mushrooms contain lots of protein, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), selenium and copper. Mushrooms contain small amounts of thiamine, calcium, and zinc. Mushrooms are also sodium free.

What’s So Great About Mushrooms? 

Bone Builder – Vegetarians will love to know that mushrooms are considered the only food source of vitamin D that’s not derived from an animal. Postmenopausal women, senior citizens, and osteoporosis sufferers will also be pleased to know that vitamin D plays an active part in building stronger, healthier bones. Since milk is the primary source where humans get their vitamin D, those who are lactose intolerant will benefit from eating mushrooms instead.

Cancer Fighter – Mushrooms contain polysaccharides, which apparently fight tumors or stunt their growth and makes chemotherapy more bearable and less damaging. They also contain a huge dose of the antioxidant selenium, which blocks cancer by preventing damage to cell DNA.

Heart Fixer – Potassium-rich mushrooms (more than a banana) helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol quite a bit. Shiitake mushrooms are especially rich in potassium. Regulated blood pressure and cholesterol usually equals a healthy heart.

Virus and Bacteria Buster – Shiitake mushrooms reportedly contain potent chemicals that equal the power of over-the-counter and prescription drugs that are used to treat the common cold and influenza virus. In addition, these chemicals ward off certain fungi, viruses and parasites, while boosting your immune system so that any disease that arises has a strong force to contend with.

Mushroom Eaters Beware 

Not all mushrooms are edible, though the ones in your local grocery store are. These have usually undergone sorting and sterilization prior to reaching the stores, so that consumers are protected from potential poisoning and, in a worse-case scenario, death. For this cause, mushroom hunting is discouraged among non-professionals, because many of the mushrooms in the wild are highly poisonous and unsuitable for eating.

One of the most popular types of mushrooms is Agaricus bisporus, which includes shiitake, maitake, whites, crimini and Portobello varieties, to name a few. Agaricus bisporus mushrooms are edible and pose no real threat; however, these mushrooms have cancer-causing hydrazines which are only destroyed by cooking. So even though eating raw mushrooms is generally accepted in our society, for extra precaution mushrooms should be cooked.

Another thing to consider is that some people are naturally allergic to mushrooms and may not know until first consuming them. If you experience any breathing or swallowing difficulty or other allergic reactions after eating mushrooms, seek emergency medical attention.

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