by Jennifer Gumba
The use of mushroom as food item is probably as old as civilization. Mushroom has been recognized as important food item because of the taste, flavor, high nutritional value and medicinal properties.
Mushrooms are the richest source of protein and are suitable for human consumption. They are fleshy fruiting bodies of higher fungi. Mushrooms also used in medicine traditionally, which may help to prevent heart diseases, diabetes, cancer and obesity.
Mushrooms are low in calories, high in fiber, and contain many important vitamins and minerals. Some also have medicinal properties such as complex carbohydrates that strengthen the immune system.
Here below are the nutrients we can get from mushrooms:
1. Protein– Most mushrooms have a high protein content, usually around 20-30% by dry weight. This can be useful for vegetarians or anyone looking to increase the protein content in their diet.
2. Fiber– Helps lower cholesterol and is important for the digestive system.
3. Niacin and other important B vitamins– As certain B vitamins are found in animal tissue but not plants, this can be another good supplement for vegetarians.
4. Vitamin D-Essential for the absorption of calcium.
5. Copper– Aids in helping the body absorb oxygen and create red blood cells.
6. Selenium-An antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals, thus preventing cell damage and reducing the risk of cancer and other diseases. Mushrooms contain more selenium than any other form of produce.
7. Potassium– An extremely important mineral that regulates blood pressure and keeps cells functioning properly. A large portobello mushroom is said to have more potassium than a banana.
8. Other important minerals– Such as phosphorous, zinc, and magnesium.
9. Low levels of fat, calories, and sodium
10. No cholesterol
Not all types of mushrooms have the same levels of vitamins, minerals, and medicinal properties. Do a little research if you have special health needs or goals. Of course, don’t forget to take taste into account.