Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Published 3/17/14

Ranging from use in gourmet risotto to chicken casserole, mushrooms are used in many delicious recipes, and are one of the few usable and edible fungi.

Types of mushrooms

Mushrooms come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, with many different properties. In this article, we shall focus only on the edible mushrooms. What types of mushrooms are out there, for you to add that magical taste to your dish? The most common type is the white mushroom, i.e. Agaricus, also referred to as button mushrooms. The color of these mushrooms varies from white to light brown, with the size range from tiny to huge.

Crimini is another basic mushroom. This has a naturally dark cap, with color ranging from light tan to rich brown. Compared to the Agaricus mushroom, this tends to have a more intense, earthy flavor.

Then there is the Shiitake, which also goes by the names forest mushroom, oak mushroom and golden oak. Characterized by umbrella-shaped caps that are up to ten inches in diameter, this mushroom is tan or brown in color. Usually, when cooked, they have a meaty texture. You can actually bake the caps and use the sticks for soup.

Enoki is another common type of mushroom that you can use for garnishing. This appears as several bean sprouts held together by a thick stem. Usually the caps are tiny and snow white in color. Their crispy texture also makes this type of mushroom a perfect choice for salads and sandwiches.

Four health benefits of including mushrooms in your diet

White mushrooms have been proven to be effective when it comes to weight management. As compared to red meat, white mushrooms contain fewer calories.

Dried button mushrooms are a good source of vitamin D, which is vital in boosting your immune system. Consuming enough white mushrooms can replace the need for taking vitamin D supplements. This means that you not only live healthier, but also save the money that you would have rather invested in the supplements, which do not always give the desired results.

Vitamins B2 and B3 are essential when it comes to the conversion of carbohydrates into energy that is later distributed throughout the body. Mushrooms contain loads of these vitamins. 100 grams of Crimini mushrooms contain 44 percent of the recommended daily amounts of B2 and 30 percent of B3, while white mushrooms have 36 and 30 percent respectively. With a high conversion rate of food to energy, your metabolism can be improved.

In addition to this, mushrooms are also rich in selenium, a mineral that helps prevent the growth and development of cancer cells in the bladder and can slow the aging process. 100 grams of cooked Shiitakes contain 45 percent of this essential mineral, while the same amount of raw crimini has 47 percent.

Given that some mushrooms are toxic, you need to be careful with the types of mushrooms you pick for your recipes. Use the above information to help make informed decisions.

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