Unlike other white foods that you're supposed to avoid (e.g., sugar or white bread), mushrooms are full of nutrients, such as copper, iron, phosphorus, potassium and selenium, which aren't usually found in plant-based foods.
Detailed below are six reasons to add mushrooms to your diet.
According to a 2017 study published in the journal Food Chemistry, mushrooms are rich in two potent antioxidants: ergothioneine and glutathione.
Both ergothioneine and glutathione help protect your body from physiological stress that causes wrinkles -- one of the many visible signs of aging.
In a 2019 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, scientists from the National University of Singapore reported that consuming two 3/4 cup servings of cooked mushrooms each week helps lower your risk of developing mild cognitive decline.
Ergothioneine and glutathione can help prevent Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, according to researchers from Penn State University (PSU). They found that consuming at least five button mushrooms per day helps lower your risk of developing neurological disorders as you age.
For optimum results, grill the mushrooms to preserve their nutritional benefits. (Related: Can reishi mushrooms help prevent cancer and other life-threatening diseases?)
Mushrooms are full of the following B-vitamins:
Your body needs these B-vitamins to utilize energy from the food you eat. B-vitamins also help with the production of red blood cells which help carry oxygen throughout your body.
If you're looking to cut your sodium intake, you can replace salt with mushrooms. Edible fungi give recipes a flavor boost because they contain glutamate ribonucleotides, which are amazing compounds that give food a savory, umami taste. One cup of mushrooms contains only five milligrams of sodium.
You can eat mushrooms to curb your cravings for red meat. Replacing meat with mushrooms helps lower your calorie, cholesterol and fat intake. To control your blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease, add mushrooms to your diet and take it easy on the salt.
Here are some mushrooms that can boost your overall health:
Mushrooms labeled "UVB" were exposed to sunlight during their growth period, ensuring that they have converted ergosterol directly into vitamin D.
Eat at least three ounces of UVB-exposed mushrooms to meet your daily vitamin D requirement and make your bones stronger.
Mushrooms are versatile ingredients. Here are some things that you can try to boost your intake of mushrooms.
If you're not an experienced forager, don't eat mushrooms from the wild. Unless you're 100 percent sure about the difference between edible and poisonous mushrooms, buy organic mushrooms at your local grocery store or from a farmers market.
Boost your brain health and curb your intake of red meat by eating more mushrooms.