Mushrooms are commonly found in many entrees because of their excellent texture and delicious flavor, particularly when they are grilled or sautéed. Often used as a delicious side for steaks or mixed into a creamy pasta dish, mushrooms do more than please the taste buds. They also have a variety of nutrients that are extremely beneficial to one’s health.
Although there are around 140,000 different mushroom species around the world, only a very small percentage of these are edible and beneficial. Common types of health-promoting mushrooms include white button, shitake, maritake, enoki, portabella and oyster mushrooms.
Mushrooms are the only type of produce that contain selenium; typically, this vital nutrient is found in meat. Selenium is essential for strong bones, hair and teeth. It also strengthens the immune system, making it less prone to disease. Enoki and Maritake mushrooms are a good choice for increasing immunity. In addition, selenium is an antioxidant; it may protect the body from free radicals, which can lead to a variety of cancers as well as heart disease.
Oyster mushrooms have excellent levels of iron, which is important for the creation of red blood cells. Adequate iron is particularly imperative for those who are anemic and for women during their childbearing years.
Mushrooms are the only vegetable with vitamin D, which is essential in helping the body utilize calcium and phosphorus.
With high levels of potassium, mushrooms may help decrease blood pressure, thereby decreasing the risk for heart disease. Additionally, potassium may also improve memory and cognitive function.
Due to high levels of B vitamins in mushrooms, they make a great choice for those who want to improve their energy levels and boost metabolism.
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McMillen, Matt; Mushrooms: What’s Edible, Medicinal and Psychedelic; WebMD; accessed September 8, 2014
Health Benefits of Mushrooms; Organic Facts; accessed September 8, 2014
Nearing, Margaret; 5 Health Benefits of Mushroom; Best Health; accessed September 8, 2014