Mushrooms provide many potent health benefits.
In recent media and over the years, from ancient times until now, mushrooms have been recognized and used for their exceptional health benefits. From boosting the immune system to promoting brain health, mushrooms are truly a nutritional powerhouse. Discover the 7 major health benefits of mushrooms.
Rich in Nutrients
Mushrooms might be low in calories, but they pack a nutritional punch. They are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, B vitamins, selenium, copper, and potassium, making them rich in antioxidants. Modern-day diets are often lacking in vitamin D, which is less than ideal since vitamin D plays a crucial role in bone health and immune function. Especially for people who have limited sun exposure, mushrooms provide that essential vitamin D while also helping good cholesterol health, acting as an anti-inflammatory, and promoting gut health, brain health, and immune health1.
Beyond all the vitamins, fibers, minerals, trace elements, mushrooms have high protein content (up to 44.93%). They are low in calories, and they lack cholesterol, making them a robust superfood2.
Mushrooms possess unique compounds that bolster the immune system and help fight off infections. One such compound is beta-glucans, which stimulate the production of immune cells, enhancing the body’s defense mechanisms. Shiitake and maitake mushrooms, in particular, are rich in beta-glucans. Additionally, mushrooms contain antioxidants that protect cells from damage done by free radicals. These antioxidants contribute to overall immune health.
Consuming mushrooms regularly may contribute to cardiovascular health. They are a good source of dietary fiber, which helps to lower cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease. Depending on the variety, one serving of mushrooms can contain 2.4 to 4.9mg of ergothioneine. Mushrooms that contain the highest amount of these compounds are cordyceps, king oyster, and shiitake.
The beta-glucans and ergothioneine have been associated to improved heart health. These substances assist in regulating blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and preventing the formation of plaques in the arteries.
Brain Health & Cognitive Function
Higher mushroom consumption has benefits for protecting the brain in older adults and may prevent the growth of amyloid proteins related to dementia3. Mushrooms contain several compounds that support brain health and cognitive function. The choline in mushrooms aids in the production of neurotransmitters, helping with muscle movement, learning, and memory4. Lions Mane is particularly helpful with brain health. Furthermore, ergothioneine has been linked to reduced risk of neurodegenerative disease as its antioxidant properties help protect the brain from oxidative stress and inflammation.
Mushrooms are able to break down stored body fat due to the B vitamins and minerals. Cordyceps is an important mushroom that can boost metabolic efficiency increase (fat metabolism) and helps to prevent the host from viral infections by its ability to synthesize nucleoside derivatives. The fiber content promotes feelings of satiety, helping to manage weight as it reduces the likelihood of snacking on calorie-dense foods. One great way to get the weight management benefits of mushrooms is through Sunwarrior’s Superfood Protein + Mushrooms providing the best of health with superfood blends of quality organic proteins, mushrooms, ashwagandha, apple cider vinegar, and so much more!
The fiber content in mushrooms not only promotes weight management, but it also promotes a healthy digestive system. It aids in maintaining regular bowel movements, preventing constipation, and supporting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Mushrooms also possess prebiotic properties, meaning they provide nourishment for beneficial gut microbes, which play a critical role in overall gut health.
Chronic inflammation has been linked to numerous health issues, including heart disease and autoimmune disorders. Mushrooms contain various bioactive compounds that reduce inflammation in the body, promoting overall well-being.
Mushrooms are not only delicious and versatile in the kitchen, providing a tasty umami flavor, but they also provide a plethora of health benefits. From immune support and weight management to brain and digestive health, they truly shine as a superfood. Incorporating a variety of mushrooms in our diets can be a tasty way to boost our overall well-being.
- Rai M., Tidke G., Wasser S.P. Therapeutic potential of mushrooms. Nat. Prod. Radiance. 2005;4:246–257. [Google Scholar]
- Zhang S, Tomata Y, Sugiyama K, Sugawara Y, Tsuji I. Mushroom consumption and incident dementia in elderly Japanese: The Ohsaki Cohort 2006 Study.Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2017 Jul;65(7):1462-9.