Ah, mushrooms. The Romans used to call them the “food of the Gods”, and the Chinese still refer to them as an “elixir of life”1.
These fungi have had a hold on humanity for thousands of years, but recently, they’ve been getting a lot more press. New mushroom-related products and even Netflix films are released daily, singing praises for these “fantastic fungi”.
Have you ever wondered why?
If so, this is the article for you. Keep reading to discover 8 mind-blowing health benefits of mushrooms!
Health benefits of mushrooms
High nutritional value.
We could only talk about mushrooms after first addressing their incredible nutritional value! They are high in protein, fibre, vitamins B-12 and D2 and act as rare sources of ergothioneine and selenium2,3.
This makes mushrooms a vital staple in our modern diet, as few other foods can boast so many health-promoting nutrients.
Yup, you read that right. The natural sugars, bioactive proteins, and specialized antioxidants found in mushrooms have been shown in preliminary studies to decrease the likelihood that mushroom-lovers will develop cancer.
This is because cancers are characterized by excessive cell reproduction, and the bioactive compounds in mushrooms can help intercept this process4!
Support healthy brain function.
Mushroom consumption protects your vital neurons against cell death by reducing oxidative stress and promoting the creation of new cells2,4.
On top of that, they may delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and even improve cognitive function in those with mild cognitive impairment2,3.
Natural anti-microbial agents.
When consumed, mushrooms share their natural defenses against fungi, bacterium and viruses3–5!
In fact, the antimicrobial properties of mushrooms are so strong that they have proven more effective in preventing oral gingivitis than leading gingivitis mouthwashes3.
Promote heart health.
Mushrooms significantly reduce cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure levels4,5.
Pave the way to a healthy immune system.
Mushrooms promote healthy immune and inflammatory responses because they support a healthy gut by supporting beneficial bacteria!A healthy gut is so important, as it acts as a barrier to pathogens and reduces inflammation in the body3.
Reduce symptoms of diabetes.
The regular consumption of mushrooms has been shown to decrease insulin resistance after just 12 weeks4!
Mushrooms are incredibly resistant and adaptive; when you eat them, they transfer these qualities over to you. Very few foods boast so many proven health benefits, which makes them an essential component of a healthy diet.
So, have we convinced you to add more fungi to your diet? We sure hope so!
Today’s Daily Action
Can you incorporate mushrooms into one of your meals today? One of the best things about mushrooms is their versatility: Add them to soups, stews, stir-fries or make a delicious, vegetarian mushroom gravy! The sky’s the limit!
- Valverde, M. E., Hernández-Pérez, T. & Paredes-López, O. Edible Mushrooms: Improving Human Health and Promoting Quality Life. International Journal of Microbiology 2015, e376387 (2015).
- Martinez-Medina, G. A. et al. Bio-funcional components in mushrooms, a health opportunity: Ergothionine and huitlacohe as recent trends. Journal of Functional Foods 77, 104326 (2021).
- Feeney, M. J. et al. Mushrooms and Health Summit Proceedings. The Journal of Nutrition 144, 1128S-1136S (2014).
- Roupas, P., Keogh, J., Noakes, M., Margetts, C. & Taylor, P. The role of edible mushrooms in health: Evaluation of the evidence. Journal of Functional Foods 4, 687–709 (2012).
- Cheung, P. C. K. The nutritional and health benefits of mushrooms. Nutrition Bulletin 35, 292–299 (2010).