Mushrooms are white color, umbrella shaped, delicious and true wonderful foods. It is easily found everywhere at cheap prices in the market. Basically, it is the fruiting body of a fungus, of which all the types are not edible as some of them becomes poisonous. Edible variety of the mushrooms has high range of various essential and healthy nutrients like vitamins, protein, fiber and minerals. Earlier it was eaten by the limited people of the Himachal Pradesh but after lots of research activities by the experts it has become famous edible fruiting body among whole human fraternity. It can be cheaply cultivated as it needs only fresh waste disposals, cow dung, waste twigs and etc to grow and develop. Several thousand varieties have been known till date of the mushroom worldwide however, only 2000 varieties are considered to be edible.

Especially, three types called button, oyster and straw mushroom is cultivated commercially in the country (India). It is cultivated for fulfilling both the therapeutic (shiitake, maitake, reishi) and food purposes. Actually, it is neither a vegetable nor a fruit as well as not a plant; it is a special edible fungus type. It develops a strong antibiotic in the body as a defense against the bacterial invasion. It is a fleshy fungus body having spores, a stem, a cap and gills underside the cap.

Benefits of Mushrooms

Mushrooms are very low-calorie food having low fat, carbohydrate, high level protein, high level vitamins and minerals including other essential nutrients. It provides good level of the required vitamin D to the body when eaten on regular basis. Some of the most important health benefits of the mushrooms are listed below:

Benefits of Mushrooms for weight loss

Manages Weight

  • Mushrooms plays great role in the weight management as it enhances weight loss among weight conscious people if eaten around one cup of the mushrooms daily.

Contains High Protein

  • It is low calorie diet, has no cholesterol, low fat, high fibers content, high protein, high level of vitamins and minerals thus, helps in managing the weight properly.

Enhances Metabolic Rate

  • White mushroom has special type of carbohydrate which helps in enhancing the metabolic rate, maintaining blood sugar levels, burning more fat thus, aids a lot in weight loss.

Benefits of Mushrooms for Athletes

Boosts Energy Level

  • A type of mushrooms called Cordyceps (caterpillar fungus or Tochukasu) is considered as the most effective for the athletes as it instantly increases the ATP production, boosts their strength and endurance.

Prevents Ageing

  • It also has anti-aging effects on the body.

Benefits of Mushrooms for Diabetes

Reduces Blood Glucose Level

  • It is the food of low Glycaemic Index and has hypoglycemic property which reduces the blood glucose level.

Induces Sleep

  • It has antidepressant effects which lower down the stress level by inducing sleep.

Protects Major Organ Disorders

  • It protects the liver and kidneys from various diseases and disorders.

Prevents from Atherosclerosis

  • Shiitake mushrooms also helps in stabilizing blood sugar level, reduces platelet aggregation and prevents from atherosclerosis.

Maintains Cholesterol Level

  • Himematsutake mushroom plays a great role in decreasing the insulin resistance among diabetics and normalizing the cholesterol level.

Benefits of Mushrooms for Cancer

Inhibits Tumor Cells Growth

  • A type of mushroom called Cordyceps which has property to fight with the tumor cells by inhibiting their growth and development. It has a medicinal compound called cordycepin which acts as a most effective cancer drug.

Involves in Synthesizing Messenger RNA

  • Cordycepin acts directly with the synthesis of mRNAs (messenger RNA) and reduces the inflammatory genes expression in the smooth muscle cells through the process of polyadenylation.

Treats Stomach Cancer

  • Shiitake is another type mushroom having some stimulating agents called lentinan (a polysaccharide of antitumor property) which is very beneficial in treating the stomach cancers and other disorders of the stomach like gallstones, hyperacidity, ulcers including anemia, ascites, pleural effusion and etc.

Treats Other Cancer

  • Reishi mushroom (mushroom of immortality) is a special type mushroom having ganoderic acid useful in treating the lung cancer, leukemia and etc.

Destroys Tumor

  • Shimeji mushroom has a type of compound called betaglucan which is a very effective in reducing and destroying the tumor.

Benefits of Mushrooms for Heart

Lowers Blood Cholesterol Level

  • Shiitake mushrooms contain eritadenine which helps in lowering the blood cholesterol level thus prevents from various heart diseases.

Maintains Blood Pressure

  • All types of the edible mushrooms are very beneficial in maintaining the blood pressure. Potassium acts as a good vasodilator which relaxes the tension of blood vessels thus reduces the blood pressure and prevents from heart attacks and strokes.

Prevents Early Ageing

  • Selenium found in it has antioxidant property; protects body cells from getting damaged and prevents from the heart diseases and early ageing.

Maintains Fluid and Mineral Balance

  • Potassium is a mineral found in it helps in maintaining the normal fluid and mineral balance in the body thus helps in controlling the blood pressure. It also maintains the functioning of nerves and muscles.

Improves Cardiovascular Health

  • Mushrooms are very good sources of the fibers, chitin and beta-glucan which have property of lowering the cholesterol level and improving the cardiovascular health.

Helps Liver to Process Cholesterol

  • Shiitake mushrooms have a compound called critadenine which helps liver to process cholesterol.

Lowers High Blood Pressure

  • Reishi Mushrooms has Gonadodermic acid which helps in reducing the cholesterol and lowering the high blood pressure.

Benefits of Mushrooms for Men

Treats Prostate-Related Problems

  • Reishi mushroom is a special type mushroom helps men in reducing their prostate-related urinary symptoms.

Improves Fertility Level

  • It has been found improving the immune system and fertility level among men.

Prevents from Prostate Cancer

  • It has phytochemicals which prevents the occurrence of prostate cancer among men.

Benefits of Mushrooms for Women

Improves Immune System Functioning

  • Mushrooms are known to be very effective against the breast cancer among women by improving their immune functioning.

Suppress Growth of Breast Cancer Cells

  • White button mushrooms (crimini mushroom) helps women by removing excess estrogen from their blood circulation thus, prevents them from breast cancer. It also suppresses the growth and reproduction of breast cancer cells.

Lowers Risk of Breast Cancer

  • It is the rich source of disease-fighting phytochemicals which lowers the risk of breast cancer if eaten regularly.

Benefits of Mushrooms for Nervous System

Maintains Nervous System Functioning

  • Mushrooms are very good source of the B group vitamins which are very necessary for maintaining the nervous system functioning.

Rich Source of Vitamin B5

  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) helps in producing hormones which involves in the well functioning of the nervous system.

Benefits of Mushrooms for Skin and Hair

Maintains Health of Skin and Hair

  • Niacin (vitamin B3) found in mushroom helps in maintaining the healthy skin and hair.

Source of Protein and Vitamins

  • It is the high source of protein and vitamins which is good for healthy skin and hair.

Source of Vitamin D

  • It is the good source of vitamin D which makes the skin healthy and prevents skin damage.

Lowers Risk of Acne

  • Its low Glycaemic Index property keeps the blood glucose level normal thus lowers the risk of acne.

Benefits of Mushrooms for Bones

Enhances Absorption of Calcium

  • Mushrooms are the natural source of vitamin D which enhances the absorption of calcium in the body and strengthens the bone and joints.

Prevents from Gout

  • It reduces the risk of gout.

Strengthens Bones

  • It is the good source of calcium and phosphorous which are necessary for the bones strength and prevents from the bone degradation, osteoporosis and other joint problems.

Benefits of Mushroom during Pregnancy

Maintains Haemoglobin Level

  • Mushrooms have good level of folates and vitamin B12 which helps in increasing the production of red blood cells thus, maintains the haemoglobin level among pregnant women.

Prevents from Anemia

  • It prevents the pregnant women from anemia thus prevents from many pregnancy disorders like fatigue, headaches, digestive issues, reduced neural function and etc.

Enhances Oxygen Supply

  • It enhances the oxygen supply to the body thus provides better environment for the infant to grow healthy and well.

Benefits of Mushroom for Kids

Good Source of Glutamate

  • It is gluten free food (gluten is a protein which is sensitive to coeliac disease people) but good source of glutamate which is an amino acid acts as a neurotransmitter and useful for the muscles and brain.

Good for Growing Children

  • It is good source of vitamin D, calcium, iron and phosphorus thus, it is good for the growing children.

Other Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Increases Vitamin D Level

  • Mushrooms are naturally the source of vitamin D which fulfills the daily need of it in the body.
  • Eating mushrooms on daily basis can easily enhance the level of vitamin D. Dried white button mushrooms extract is considered as the best supplement of the vitamin D2 and D3 which increases the vitamin D level in the body.

Immune System Booster

  • Mushrooms are best immune system booster as it contains long chain polysaccharides (alpha and beta glucan molecules) which boost up the human immune system. Dried shiitake type mushrooms are more beneficial and effective for the immune system.

Normalizes Blood Cholesterol

  • It enhances the blood flow all through the body as well as normalizes the blood cholesterol level.

Remedy to Patients

  • It is the best treatment for the patients suffering from the Hepatitis B.

Contains Anti-Inflammatory Property

  • Cordyceps type mushroom has anti-inflammatory property and helps people suffering from various diseases such as renal failure, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke damage and so many.

Promotes Wound Healing

  • It provides helps in the normal wound healing process and prevents from various infectious diseases.

Rich in Valuable Nutrients and Enzymes

  • Button mushrooms are very excellent and low-calorie food having valuable nutrients and enzymes for the diabetics.

Source of Powerful Antioxidants

  • Mushrooms are the good source of powerful antioxidants having polyphenols, selenium, ergothioneine (master antioxidant) and etc.

Prevents DNA Damage

  • Ergothioneine is an amino acid having sulfur which helps in protecting the DNA from getting damaged through the oxidation process.
  • Ergothioneine is a compound found in the mushroom which is not produced by the body, prevents the DNA damage.

Fights with various Infections

  • Shiitake mushrooms have antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties provide immunity to fight with various viral, bacterial and fungal problems like HIV, hepatitis, cold and etc.

Enhances Digestive System Functioning

  • Mushrooms are the best sources of the healthful dietary fibers which act as better medium for the growth of probiotic organisms thus enhances the digestive system functioning.

Boosts Energy Level

  • Mushrooms are good sources of the B group vitamins which help in boosting the energy level by breaking the molecules of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

Maintains Healthy Red Blood Cells

  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2) helps in maintaining the healthy red blood cells.

Makes Bones and Nerves Strong and Healthy

  • Copper is a mineral found in it helps in making the healthy red blood cells as well as increases the oxygen level throughout the body. It also makes the bones and nerves strong and healthy.

Enhances Resistance Capacity

  • Beta-glucans is a compound found in the mushroom has immunity-stimulating effect as well as enhances the resistance capacity against allergies.

Counterbalances Saltiness

  • Mushrooms are good source of the Umami (basic taste) which counterbalances the saltiness and motivates for less salt use in meal.

Source of Beta-Glucan

  • Beta-glucan found in mushrooms has property of protecting against common colds, flu and other viral problems.

Prevents from Free Radicals

  • Crimini mushroom is the natural source of the germanium mineral which enhances the body capacity to use more oxygen and prevents from the damaging effects of free radicals.

Beneficial for HIV Patients

  • Oyster mushrooms have life saving ingredients and are very beneficial for HIV patients as it boosts the defense system against the HIV because of the high anti-oxidant compounds availability.

Reduces Risk of Diabetes

  • It reduces the occurrence of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Contains Hydrophobins

  • It has a special type of protein called hydrophobins which improves the growth and development of the body.

Benefits of Mushroom Soup

Contains Soothing Property

  • Mushroom soup has all the benefits of a mushroom including soothing property for sore throats, immune booster and prevents from general malaise.

Improves Body Ability

  • It enhances the body ability to fight with diseases and infections very effectively.

Powerful Diuretic

  • It acts as anti-inflammatory and powerful diuretic and expectorant.

Relieves Chest Congestion

  • It helps to clear out the nasal and chest congestion very quickly.

Benefits of Mushroom Powder

  • Mushrooms powder comes in the market in pill form as a capsules which can be taken by adding into the smoothie, veggie drinks, tea and etc which promotes the healthy blood circulation, improves digestion, maintains bowel regularity, reduces fatigue and so many.
  • It prevents from the neuralgia and other degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.

Nutritional Benefits of Mushroom per 100 g

(Source: USDA Nutrient Database)

Energy: 27 kcal

Carbohydrates: 4.1 g

Fat: 0.1 g

Protein: 2.5 g

Water: 88 g

Ash: 0.8 g

Vitamins

Thiamine: 0.1 mg

Riboflavin: 0.5 mg

Niacin: 3.8 mg

Pantothenic acid: 1.5 mg

Folate: 12.2 mcg

Choline: 13.1mg

Vitamin B6: 0.5 mg

Vit K: 0.0 mg

Vit C: 16 mg

Vit D: 13 IU

Minerals

Calcium: 18 mg

Phosphorus: 120 mg

Zinc: 1.1 mg

Iron: 475 mcg

Copper: 300 mg

Magnesium: 6.5 mg

Selenium: 8.4 mcg

Phosphorus: 60.5 mg

Electrolytes

Potassium: 448 mg

Sodium: 6 mg

How to Select and Store

Always select fresh, firm, plump, clean and white color mushrooms. Avoid buying wrinkled and spotted or rotten mushrooms. Be aware of the toxic mushrooms in the market as they cause serious health problems. Always go for the organic type mushrooms and not for the non-organically grown to avoid the insecticides, synthetic herbicides and heavy metals. Fresh and locally bought mushrooms are needed to be consumed quickly as they cannot be stored for long whereas canned mushrooms can be stored for long and have greater shelf life.

Mushrooms can be stored in the refrigerator in packed container or in a damp cloth for 3-7 days. However it should be used within 3 to 4 days after buying from the market. Dried mushrooms can also be stored in a tight container in the refrigerator or cool dry place for several months.

How to Enjoy

Mushrooms can be enjoyed in many ways like vegetable, soup, pizza toppings, salad, mushrooms pakoade, mushrooms fry, chopped mushrooms can be added to the tomato pasta sauce, mushrooms stuff, mushroom omelet, dried mushroom, mushroom powder and so many other dishes.

Disadvantages, Side Effects and Precautions of Mushrooms

Mushrooms are edible and nutritious food can be eaten anytime however it needs some care to be taken for. Some species of it are not edible and toxic can cause serious health problems. Some of the disadvantages, side effects and precautions are mentioned below which you must need to be aware of:

  • A type of mushroom called Crimini mushrooms contains a natural substance, purines which may cause serious health problems if taken in excessive amount. It broken down into uric acid and gets accumulated in the body which triggers the occurrence of gout and kidney stones.
  • Beware of the toxic mushrooms which may cause the lethal food poisonings. Toxic mushrooms have amanitin (amatoxins) which may lead to the kidneys and liver failure, cause discomfort, jaundice, internal bleeding, hepatic coma, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal cramps and even death.
  • It may have harmful effects on the person suffering from the hypoglycemia.
  • Some people are very sensitive to the psilocybin found in some mushrooms.
  • It may cause allergic reaction to some person depending on their sensitivity level. Allergic symptoms are itchy skin, throat and mouth itching, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hives, dizziness, shock and etc.

How Much Mushroom to Eat

Obviously, it is very clear that anything is healthy within limit for any age group. It is same truth about the mushrooms, one can enjoy its all the beneficial effects when it is consumed in limit. Eating how much mushroom a day is depends on the age, sex, health condition and variety of mushrooms. A type of mushroom called cubensis, the overdose of which may be frightening to health. However, a rough idea of 0.75 g to 1.5 g of the cubensis mushroom is sufficient for the beginner. Consult your doctor if you are going to add it to your daily diet or feeling any discomfort or side effect of it.