By Garry Messick
Some of the healthiest “vegetables” you can eat aren’t really vegetables. Take the savory mushroom. It’s actually a fungus, which doesn’t sound appetizing, but nevertheless, mushrooms are one of the most popular “veggies” around.
Luckily, they’re also quite nutritious—low in fat and sodium, cholesterol free, but high in dietary fibers, minerals and B vitamins, among many other important nutrients.1
Just one word of warning: Unless you really know what you’re doing, it’s best to avoid picking your own wild mushrooms. Some types are toxic and can make you seriously ill, or worse.
Here’s a list of some of the specific health benefits of mushrooms…
Boost Your Immune System
Unlike the majority of fruits and vegetables, mushrooms contain selenium,1 which improves the activity of T cells, which in turn contribute to the body’s immune defenses.2 They also harbor beta-glucans in their cell walls, which help prevent tumors from developing by boosting the immune system.3
Lower Blood Pressure
Mushrooms contain a good amount of potassium.1 Potassium helps control blood pressure by maintaining normal fluid and mineral balance.4
Improved Nutrient Absorption
Mushrooms are a good source of vitamin D,1 which doesn’t turn up much in other foods. Vitamin D helps the body absorb and metabolize minerals such as phosphorous and calcium,5 which mushrooms also contain.
Lowered Risk of Diabetes
Mushrooms contain dietary fibers1 and high-fiber diets help fight diabetes.6 According to research, type II diabetics have shown better sugar, lipid, and insulin levels on diets higher in fiber.7
- Int J Microbiol. 2015;2015:376387.
- Endocrine. 2015;48(3):756-75.
- Available at: http://tinyurl.com/hezchqf. Accessed May 17, 2017.
- Available at: http://m.mushroominfo.com/benefits/. Accessed May 17, 2017.
- Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK109831/. Accessed May 17, 2017.
- Horm Metab Res. 2007;39(9):687-93.
- N Engl J Med. 2000;342(19):1392-8.