Mushrooms! A fungi with natural medicinal properties

Introduction

Mushrooms are the fresh edible fungi which are commonly known as Agaricus. They contain about 80-90% water and are very low in calories (only 100 calories/oz). But it is dense source of minerals like iron, selenium, copper, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorus. It also contains vitamins like Vitamin A, B- complex, C and D. They have little sodium and fat and are rich in protein and fiber.

Health benefits of Mushrooms

  • It is an excellent source of potassium, a mineral that helps lower elevated blood pressure as it acts like a vasodilator and helps in relaxing blood vessels which also reduces the risk of stroke. It also helps in increasing blood and oxygen supply to the brain which stimulates neural activity and improves memory and knowledge retention.
  • One serving of mushrooms provides about 20-40 % of the daily value of copper, a mineral that has cardioprotective properties.
  • It is the best source of Selenium for vegetarians as, selenium is mostly found in animal proteins. It acts as a powerful antioxidant that works with vitamin E to protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals and strengthens the immune system. It also gives strength to bones, teeth, hair and nails.
  • As it is a good source of zinc which helps in wound healing and stabilize blood glucose levels and also helps in enzymatic processes that affect the metabolic functioning including cell division and cell repair.
  • Mushrooms are rich source of proteins and have very low carbohydrates and fat. This high protein helps in burning cholesterol when mushrooms are digested and helps in controlling cholesterol levels.
  • Mushrooms are good source of iron which can be absorbed easily as it also contains copper, zinc and vitamin C all of which helps in iron absorption. Due to which it helps in formation of RBCs and prevents from anaemia.
  • Mushrooms itself is a complete food for diabetics as they have no fat, no cholesterol, low level of CHO and high proteins with lots of vitamins, minerals, water and fiber. It also contains certain compounds which promote the efficient working of the liver, pancreas and other endocrine glands, helping in the formation of insulin.
  • Mushrooms contains a powerful antioxidant ERGOTHIONEINE, which helps in protecting body from free radical damage and give strength to the immune system.
  • Mushrooms are rich source of calcium and Vitamin-D both of which helps in the formation of bones and prevent osteoporosis. And even helps in reducing pains and promote mobility related to bone degradation.
  • Mushrooms are also good source of polysaccharides, beta-glucans and conjugated linolenic acid, all of which have anti- carcinogenic effect. As beta-Glucans prevents from the growth of cancerous cells in males against prostate cancer and linolenic acid prevents females from harmful effect of estrogens.
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