I must confess that I am a great fan of mushrooms and have enjoyed consuming them right from my childhood. There would be rarely any person in this world who doesn’t like mushrooms. They taste great and are used as vegetables or even in pizza topping. The meat-like taste will completely hook you.
Mushroom has been consumed since ancient times. Edible mushroom species have been found at a 13,000-year-old archaeological site in Chile. The body of a man who lived around 3400 years ago in Europe has been found with two types of mushrooms.
They have been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years. Some Chinese herbal medicines use mushrooms for their therapeutic properties as they contain beta-glucans (natural polysaccharides) which support the human immune system.
Over twenty species of mushrooms are commercially cultivated and they are grown in more than 60 countries.
It is true that the superfood mushroom is gaining traction in the wellness industry. They have a great deal of nutritional value and are full of micronutrients. Here are some of the advantages of consuming mushroom-
· Oxidative stress is the main reason for diseases of aging such as cancer, heart disease, and dementia. Mushroom contains antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione which protect the body from physiological stress that causes visible signs of aging. It is an extremely rich source of ergothioneine and contains 10 times the level of any other food source.
· The antioxidants may help prevent lung, prostate, breast, and other types of cancer.
· They are rich in Vitamin B such as riboflavin; folate and thiamine which help the body get energy from food and form red blood cells.
· The fiber, potassium, and vitamin C in mushrooms may contribute to cardiovascular health. Potassium can help to regulate blood pressure.
· Mushroom contains vitamin D which helps in strengthening bones.
· Many women take folic acid or folate supplements during pregnancy to boost fetal health, but even mushrooms can provide the necessary folate.
· Mushroom can protect your brain as you age. The antitoxic diets may help prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
· For people looking for a weight loss diet mushrooms don’t contain gluten or cholesterol.
· They are rich in beta-glucans that can fend off cold by destroying disease-causing cells and boost the immune system which has been weakened by chronic illness.
· Mushrooms are low in sodium and high in potassium ((a 3-ounce portabella cap has more potassium than a banana).
Different ways of consuming Superfood mushroom-
The mushroom powder is the dried mushroom that has been crushed into a powder. It can be made from any edible mushroom and adds the mushrooms earthy, meaty flavor to whatever you mix along with the nutritional benefits. This can be easy to prepare yourself. First, dehydrate the mushroom in an oven on low heat for a long time, and once they are crispy crush them in a blender.
The difference between consuming whole mushroom and mushroom powder boils down to two things. First thing is that in mushroom powder you are getting the nutrients in a compressed form. The other thing is that when you eat the whole mushroom you are getting hydration as against the dried mushroom where the water content is removed.
Benefits of mushroom powder
The mushroom powder has many benefits similar to a mushroom. They support a healthy immune system and in Asia, they have been a part of a staple diet for centuries. Shiitake mushroom in powdered form has a beneficial effect on the circulatory system. The powder is low in calories and high in phytonutrients.
Where can the mushroom powder be used-
The mushroom powder provides a mellow, earthy flavor and can blend with many things. You can add shiitake mushroom powder to scrambled eggs or put it in porcini soups and sauces. The streak can be coated in mushroom powder before putting it on a grill.
It should be remembered that mushroom powder should be used in the right quantity as mushrooms do make you feel fuller but with mushroom powder, you have to consume in moderate quantity.
Mushroom coffee has an earthy flavor, combined with the taste of instant granules. As the coffee cools a bit there isn’t an overwhelming mushroom flavor. To create a cup of mushroom coffee all you have to do is mix the powder with hot water just like instant coffee.
Four Sigmatic mushroom coffees available in the market contain real coffee mixed with mushroom extracts and each serving contains 500mg of dual extracted mushroom and 50mg of caffeine.
The mushroom coffee has values as an antioxidant and helps in digestion. Adding mushroom powder to coffee can offset some of the downsides of coffee like acidity and disrupted digestion.
Mushroom Hot Chocolate-
When adding mushrooms to things like hot chocolate you are reaping the benefits of various types of mushrooms along with the antioxidants in cacao.
Some of the beneficial mushroom:
The Reishi mushroom is also known as Ganoderma lucidium, is a fungus that grows in various hot and humid locations in Asia. For many years it has been a staple in Eastern medicine. Within this mushroom, there are many molecules like triterpenoids, polysaccharides, and peptidoglycans that are responsible for its health benefits. While the mushroom can be eaten fresh it is often used in powdered form. The benefits of this mushroom are-
· Boosts the immune system.
· Has anti-cancer properties.
· Can fight fatigue and depression.
· Maintains heart health.
· Affective in treating arthritis or gout.
The Chaga mushroom grows on birch trees throughout the northern hemisphere. It resembles a dark clump of dirt more than a mushroom but is distinguished from other growths by its orange tissue.
Doctors and researchers are getting increasingly interested in the health benefits of Chaga mushrooms and the studies have yielded promising results. The benefits of consuming Chaga mushroom are-
· They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
· Help in slowing the aging process.
· Lower Cholesterol.
· They may be able to slow the growth of cancer.
· Lower blood pressure.
· Fight inflammation.
· Support the immune system.
Cordyceps is a mushroom that lives on certain caterpillars in mountainous regions of China. Supplement makers are able to get enough of the product to sell because cordyceps reproduce in the laboratory.
These mushrooms are used to treat cough, respiratory disorders, kidney disorders, nighttime urination, anemia, high cholesterol, liver disorders, weakness, etc. It is also used for strengthening the immune system and improving athletic performance.
Lion’s mane mushrooms also known as yamabushitake are large white shaggy mushrooms that resemble a lion’s mane as they grow. They are used for culinary and medicinal properties in China, India, Japan, and Korea. They can be enjoyed raw, cooked, or dried and people describe their flavor as seafood like comparing it to a crab or lobster. Their health benefits are-
· Helps relieve mild symptoms of depression or anxiety.
· May help in speeding recovery from nervous system injury.
· Protects against ulcers in the digestive tract.
· Could protect against dementia.
Oyster mushrooms are delicious and have a lot of health benefits. The oyster mushroom family contains several species like king oyster, pink oyster, pearl oyster, and blue oyster and is the one you would most likely find in the grocery store.
They are great for health as they are full of antioxidants, Vitamin–D, and iron. Their other benefits include building strong bones, lowering blood pressure, and protecting against cardiovascular disease.
Shiitake mushrooms have a rich, earthy flavor and a taste similar to meat. They have a cap measuring from 2 to 5 inches and vary in color from light to chocolate brown. It is native to the mountain region of Japan, Korea, and China where it grows on fallen logs.
People in China first began cultivating shiitake mushrooms about 1000 to 1200 years ago and it is used in both food and traditional medicine. The cultivation later spread to Japan with the Samurai warriors controlling most of the production.
Shiitake mushroom supports an anti-inflammatory response and contains anti-cancer properties.
· May support heart health
· Antibacterial and antiviral effects
· Strengthen bones
The mushroom is a superfood due to the various associated health benefits. We can consume them as vegetables or even in powder form. They have been used for centuries in Eastern medicine for health benefits and research is going on to ascertain more of their benefits. People can consume them to keep fit along with other health benefits.