Mushrooms are one of the oldest forms of life on our planet. The largest mushroom currently living is underground in eastern Oregon, ranging from 2,000 acres. Mushrooms are lower plants. These plants are classified as Thallophyta by Linnaeus.
It lacks true roots, true stems, true leaves, true flowers, and true seeds. These are basically edible fungi. This can be either above ground or underground. The most common type of mushroom is umbrella-shaped with a cap and stem.
Categories of mushrooms
- Edible mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus)
- Mushrooms that are having medicinal properties.
- Those mushrooms are poisonous.
Nutritional Values of Mushroom
- Protein content in edible mushrooms is twice that of cabbage, oranges, and apples. Mushrooms contain 19% to 35% protein. Amount of crude protein, mushrooms rank below most animal meats but are most other foods, including milk.
- The essential amino acid present is lysine, and the lowest levels among the essential amino acids are those of tryptophan and methionine.
- Fat content in different species of mushrooms ranges from 1.1 to 8.3%.
- Mushrooms are a good source for several vitamins including thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin, biotin, and Vitamin C.
- Carbohydrates contents range from 46.6 to 81.8%. Mushrooms have the ability to inhibit the growth of tumors. Fiber content ranges from 7.4 to 27.6%.
- Mushrooms are a good source of minerals. It contains calcium, lead, zinc, and cadmium.
Overall mushroom contains a rich amount of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, ash, low-fat content. They are a good source of essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. It contains potassium and phosphorus.
Medicinal Value of Mushrooms
Mushrooms have antitumor and immunostimulating properties. It contains polysaccharides mainly beta-glucans which activate the immune system.
It is anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant, anti-tumor, and anti-viral. It is very helpful with conditions related to blood pressure, blood sugar, heart disease, cholesterol, immunity, kidney tonic, liver tonic, lungs, nerve tonic, sexual potentiator, and a stress reducer.
It is also helpful in the side effects of chemotherapy, like hair loss, nausea, pain. It diminishes the pain that comes with the last stage of cancer. Mushrooms are anti-viral and a liver and lung tonic.
Some varieties of mushroom are
- White Button: It has a mild taste and pairs well with any food item.
- Cremini: It is a deeper, earthier flavor than white button
- Portabella: It is deep, and have a meat-like texture and flavor
- Enoki: It has a mild taste and crunchy texture.
- Oyster: It has a mild, delicate flavor.
- Maitake: It has a distinctive aroma and rich, woody, taste
- Shiitake: Rich and woody when cooked
Nutrients Present in Mushrooms
Mushrooms are good sources of some B vitamins like Riboflavin or Vitamin B2m Pantothenic acid or Vitamin B5, and Niacin or Vitamin B3. These vitamins B act on the nervous system. They provide energy by breaking down carbohydrates, fat, and protein.
Selenium– It keeps the body’s cells healthy. It helps to prevent heart disease and cancer. Selenium promotes a strong immune system. It promotes fertility in men. Since selenium is only found in animal foods, it is a very good source of selenium in vegetarians.
Copper– It keeps bones and nerves healthy. It helps in the formation of red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout the body.
Potassium– It helps control blood pressure. It helps to maintain normal fluid and mineral balance.
Vitamin D – Mushrooms are a rich source of vitamin D. This vitamin D content is often increased by overexposing them to ultraviolet light.
Health Benefits of Mushrooms
- Mushrooms are lower in calories and fat.
- It is a great substitute for red meat.
- It helps in weight loss, lower waist circumference, and lower blood pressure.
- It is low in sodium.
- I have Beta-glucans that have been known to exhibit anti-tumor activity.
- It has been used in health care for treating some conditions like skin disease to disease like AIDS.
- It is anti-allergic and anti-cholesterol properties.
- Mushroom can cure epilepsy, wounds, skin diseases, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, cold, liver disease, gall bladder diseases, and used to kill worms.
- It also used in India for treating joint pain.
- Some mushrooms are used for memory improvement, for inducing sleep.