Mushrooms have been known for their medicinal properties for millennia. Rumour has it that the ancient Egyptian pharaohs considered mushrooms the food of kings and wouldn’t allow mere commoners to eat them. It’s estimated that there could be up to 2,000 types of edible mushrooms dotted around the globe but only a handful are commercially produced.
Today’s supermarkets are full of mushrooms of all shapes and sizes, from your humble button mushroom to exotics ones, such as enoki, maitake and morel. As more research is conducted, so the health benefits of eating mushrooms regularly is being discovered and documented.
Vitamins and Minerals
Mushrooms have high quantities of vitamin B and are one of the few food sources of vitamin D. Mushrooms also contain important minerals such as selenium, potassium and copper.
Cancer and Mushrooms
There have been many studies showing a positive link between cancer prevention and the consumption of mushrooms. The University of Western Australia conducted an extensive study with 2,000 women. Their results showed that women’s chances of contracting breast cancer were reduced by 64% by eating just 1/3 ounce of mushrooms per day.
Fibre and Digestion
Mushrooms are a prebiotic, meaning they nourish the good bacteria in your gut, leading to a healthier digestive system. Their high fibre content also leaves you feeling full for longer, while keeping the digestive system moving.
Protecting your Brain
Studies from Penn State, point to the possibility that antioxidants, such as ergothioneine and glutathione, that are found in mushrooms may help prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. They found that countries who consumed high quantities of these antioxidants had a far lower incidence of these diseases.
As an added bonus, although we don’t like to admit, we would love a way to keep the wrinkles at bay and these antioxidants help protect are bodies from the physical signs of aging.
The University of Singapore found an association between eating mushrooms and preventing mild cognitive decline and enhancing memory.
It’s interesting to note that many nutritionists say we should opt for colourful foods to obtain maximum nutrition, and yet, here is the white mushroom which is now being hailed as a superfood.