Is Mushroom a vegetable? If the answer is ‘No’, then are you surprised? The truth is that Mushrooms are fungi. This is technically true as it does not have leaves, seeds, roots or any other parts as the ordinary plants. They don’t need light to grow too!
Facts apart, whether mushrooms are vegetables or not, they have lots of nutritional value and people enjoy lots of health benefits when they include mushrooms as part of their diet.
There are so many types of mushrooms and one need to know how to identify the edible ones and the non-edible (sometimes fatal) ones. If you are a mushroom lover, then you lucky to get nutrients like niacin, riboflavin, selenium, copper, calcium and vitamin D from it.
How Healthy are Mushrooms?
In general, Mushrooms are good in boosting the immune system of our body, in weight management, improves the nutrition as it contains essential nutrients and helps in destroying some viruses, bacteria and yeast. It has also been found to be effective in destroying certain types of cancer cells.
Boosting the Immune System: Mushrooms helps in strengthening the immune system as they contain molecules like alpha and beta-glucans that have positive effects on the immune system. There are also other substances like proteins and peptides that are beneficial for the body’s immunity.
Weight Management: White Button Mushrooms are specifically helpful in managing weight when taken instead of red meat.
Fights Cancer: There are some unique antioxidants present in certain types of mushrooms and they are powerful antioxidants and fights against oxidative damage.
Great Source of Nutrients: Mushrooms are great sources of protein, vitamins, calcium, minerals and fibre.
There are also studies that suggest that mushrooms help in protecting the heart by maintaining proper blood circulation and blood pressure.
One cannot underestimate mushrooms by its look. The nutritional value of mushrooms is much greater. Mushrooms contain essential minerals and vitamins, are high in protein and fibre but much lower in terms of calories. That’s great news, isn’t it?
- Copper: Copper is a mineral found in Mushrooms and helps the body by absorbing oxygen and production of RBCs.
- Selenium: Selenium found in Mushrooms prevents cell damage and also helps in reducing the risk of cancer.
- Potassium: Potassium is essential for regulating the blood pressure. This mineral is found in abundance in mushrooms.
Other minerals like Zinc, Phosphorus and Magnesium are found in Mushrooms.
- Vitamin B: Vitamins like Niacin and other B vitamins are found more in animal food than in plants. But as Mushroom has Vitamin B, it is a good option for vegetarians.
- Vitamin D: This vitamin, responsible for the absorption of Calcium is found in Mushrooms.
If you are looking for food that is rich in protein, then mushrooms are the best options for vegetarians. Mushrooms are high in protein and can be included as part of one’s diet.
Foods high in fibres are important to keep our digestive system healthy and mushrooms are the best choice.
As mushrooms grow close to the ground, they might be dirty. So, proper cleaning is required. Wipe the mushrooms with a towel or brush, one at a time. Mushrooms can be rinsed just before they are cooked but not for a long time as they absorb water like sponge.
Though mushrooms can be eaten raw, it is better to grill them or microwave them for a very short time before consuming them. It is better not to boil or fry them as it tends to decrease their nutritional benefits.
It is better to store mushrooms in a paper bag or in an open container in a refrigerator.
Not all mushrooms offer the same health benefits and not all of them are edible. Some types like the Shiitake are good to fight tumours while white mushrooms are good for weight loss and so on. Also, if you have any health condition like Gout, do not consume mushrooms and ask your doctor before consuming mushrooms.