Nutritional Value of Mushrooms

mushrooms

The hum­ble mush­room is gain­ing in pop­u­lar­i­ty as a healthy food, and for good rea­son. They are a source of impor­tant nutri­ents like riboflavin, niacin, potas­si­um and sele­ni­um. They are also very low in fat and calo­ries, but are filled with lots of water and fiber, so they can make you feel full. They have been pro­mot­ed as a weight-loss food for this effect.

The potas­si­um you’ll find in mush­rooms is an impor­tant nutri­ent for main­tain­ing healthy blood pres­sure and off­set­ting the neg­a­tive effects of dietary sodi­um, which can con­tribute to hyper­ten­sion. Potas­si­um is also need­ed to avoid acid-alka­line imbal­ance. While bananas or cit­rus fruits are the foods that come to mind for most peo­ple, mush­rooms are in fact rich­er in potas­si­um than either of these.

Sele­ni­um  is a nat­u­ral­ly occur­ring ele­ment found in trace amounts in many foods. As an anti-oxi­dant, sele­ni­um helps pre­vent the dam­ag­ing effects of “free rad­i­cals,” the harm­ful by-prod­ucts of metab­o­lism. Also, stud­ies show that a diet rich in sele­ni­um is asso­ci­at­ed with a low­er risk of can­cer.

Fiber refers to the parts of plants that the body can­not digest. The fiber you get with mush­rooms makes you feel more full with­out adding any calo­ries to your diet, and is there­fore use­ful for weight con­trol. A diet high in fiber also helps main­tain a healthy diges­tive tract and cho­les­terol lev­el.

Mush­rooms are a great addi­tion to a veg­e­tar­i­an or veg­an diet. They are a good source of iron, and vit­a­min B6, and are sur­pris­ing­ly high in pro­tein — nutri­ents which are hard to get enough of in a diet with­out meat or ani­mal prod­ucts.

All of these facts present a strong case for adding mush­rooms to your diet. Beyond the com­mon white but­ton mush­room, there are many deli­cious vari­eties of mush­room to explore, includ­ing porta­bel­la, cri­m­i­ni, porci­ni and shi­itake, all of which have the excel­lent health ben­e­fits list­ed above.

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