Mushrooms have long been prized for their delicious, meaty flavor. But few people realize that this popular fungus can also be valuable health food. Mushrooms are packed with antioxidants, and like blueberries, are a rich source of flavonoid quercetin. These substances reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, two problems that can contribute to heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses.
Did you know that these fungi are an excellent preventative against heart disease? Microscopic fungi, called shiitakes, have been shown in a study to increase levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
And mushrooms are also rich in vitamin D, which improves calcium absorption and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Mushrooms are also loaded with B vitamins. These are especially important during pregnancy when the developing baby needs these nutrients. B vitamins also help protect against carpal tunnel syndrome, cataracts, and anemia. Finally, mushrooms are a great source of potassium, which reduces hypertension.
Mushrooms are nature’s medicine cabinet, and among their many medicinal properties are anticancer, antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, and immune-enhancing. Mushrooms are also rich in antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals – unstable molecules that damage substances within cells. Free radicals also contribute to the development of cancer, but antioxidants prevent them from forming.
So, how can you get more of these tasty fungi? Many grocery stores carry dried mushrooms, but you can also grow your own mushrooms. Mushrooms are fun to grow and harvest, and they can provide delicious rewards. Plus, because you don’t need much space, mushrooms are great for the beginner gardener.
Mushrooms are a great addition to most dishes. A burger with a fried egg and mushrooms is perfect, but mushrooms have a lot more to offer. Mushrooms have a meaty texture and absorb flavors from other ingredients really well so they taste great in sauces, stir-fries, soups, and stews.