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5 + 1 Significant benefits of mushrooms for our health

Μανιτάρι Βωλίτης Μανιτάρι Βωλίτης Photo: Alexander Schimmeck https://unsplash.com/@alschim

We all know that mushrooms are fungal and very tasty. While wild mushrooms such as morels, porcini, cantharellus, etc. taste incomparably better than cultivated ones, even a portion of about 80 grams of the very common white mushrooms (Portobello or agaricus bisporus) that we find almost every grocery store contains 2.5-3g of protein, 21 calories, 1g of fiber, and no fat. Apart from that, they are full of vitamins and minerals. Here are some of them:

Vitamin D supports the immune system and bone health
Mushrooms are one of the few sources of vitamin D in addition to animal and fortified products. Vitamin D is essential for supporting a normal immune system and plays a vital role in maintaining bone health, as it works to regulate calcium, magnesium and phosphorus intake. Vitamin D deficiency due to the modern lifestyle, as a result of which adults and children need to take vitamin D supplements.
Mushrooms make vitamin D from sunlight by converting ergosterol (a compound found in the fungus) into a form of vitamin D. The more light the mushrooms are exposed to, the higher their vitamin D content. Wild mushrooms, such as cantharellus and morels, contain significantly higher amounts of vitamin D than the species found in supermarkets, which are grown indoors in very low light conditions or even in the dark.
Some growers fortify their mushrooms with vitamin D, but the best and most enjoyable way is to go out into the woods and pick your own mushrooms.
Another way is to expose them to sunlight between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. for up to 60 minutes. Research has shown that mushrooms fortified with vitamin D are thermally stable and retain their nutrients even after cooking.

Λευκά μανιτάρια κομμένα σε φέτεςPhoto: Gunaseelan K https://unsplash.com/@gunaseelank

Good source of selenium and other antioxidants
Mushrooms are also one of the main sources of selenium and other antioxidant phenols which are often missing from the diet of many people. In addition to supporting the immune system, antioxidants protect our cells from significant damage. Antioxidants prevent the destruction of cells in your body by keeping free radicals within proper limits. Otherwise, free radicals can accumulate and cause oxidative stress, which increases the risk of diseases such as cancer and heart disease, while there is evidence that they accelerate the aging process.

Mushrooms help keep bowels healthy
Mushrooms contain b-glucan, a form of soluble fiber that can help lower cholesterol, ensure that bowel function remains regular, and help manage blood sugar levels. Beta-glucan slows down the passage of food through the digestive system, reducing the rate of absorption of your food and pumping cholesterol as it travels through the intestines.

μανιτάρια agaricus bisporusPhoto: Thanh Soledas https://unsplash.com/@thanhsoledas

Potassium for healthier blood pressure
Mushrooms are also a rich source of potassium, which helps reduce the negative effects of sodium (a component of salt) on the body. Potassium also reduces the tension in blood vessels, potentially helping to lower blood pressure.

B vitamins for the brain, eyes, nerves and blood
The B vitamins that mushrooms contain in large quantities, help the body release energy from food and are important for the formation of red blood cells and brain function. Vitamin B6 is also important for the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates and can play an important role in preventing eye diseases, especially age-related macular degeneration. Vitamin B12 helps maintain the health of nerves and blood cells and helps build DNA.

Another important benefit is that wild mushroom hunting makes us go out in nature, discover beautiful places and make creative use of our free time. Basic rule: We only collect and consume that we are 100% sure it is edible.

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