How Mushrooms Promote a Healthy Lifestyle
Good Source of:
- Riboflavin – 17%
- Niacin – 13%
- Pantothenic Acid – 10%
Also a Source of:
- Thiamin – 4%
- Vitamin B6 – 4%
- Vitamin D – 3%
- Folate – 3%
Good Source of:
- Copper – 11%
Also a Source of:
- Selenium – 9%
- Phosphorus – 6%
- Potassium – 6%
Also a Source of:
- Protein – 4%
- Fiber – 3%
- Antioxidants – Flavonoids, Phenolic Acids, Polysaccharides, Selenium
How Mushrooms Prevent Chronic Disease
How Mushrooms Prevent Cancer
Mushrooms are exceptional at preventing cancer cells from reproducing and minimizing the damage caused by oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. Oxidative stress is often the cause of cancer cells being able to metastasize to various parts of the body. Primarily, this negative effect is in response to free radicals. When free radicals are in excess form, they will attack your body’s tissues and disrupt essential functions. (2)
However, mushrooms are loaded in antioxidant compounds, specifically polyphenols, polysaccharides, selenium, and vitamin C, which all play a potent role in preventing the adverse effects caused by free radicals and oxidative stress. (3)
Vitamin C has been shown to prevent several cancers by increasing the number of white blood cells in your body. White blood cells help eradicate the free radicals and reduce oxidative stress on your body’s systems. (4)
Other primary compounds found in mushrooms are flavonoids and phenolic acids. These antioxidants specifically lead to cell death and prevent tumor development through their apoptotic abilities.
In addition to these compounds, polysaccharides have been shown to have potent antioxidant effects.
- Specifically, mushrooms are rich in beta-glucan, a polysaccharide that activates the immune system, such as the natural killer cells and macrophages. These immune, response compounds help prevent a number of diseases, including cancers.
Mushrooms are also rich in glutathione and ergothioneine. Glutathione is able to eliminate harmful foreign substances, such as cancer cells. To prevent oxidative stress, ergothioneine protects the DNA in your body from being damaged by free radicals. (9, 10)
Lastly, mushrooms are rich in selenium. Similar to vitamin C, selenium is responsible for producing immune system cells in your body. Specifically, selenium helps produce natural killer cells, which can help counteract the effects of free radicals and eradicate them. (11)
How Mushrooms Prevent Diabetes
Mushrooms are also rich in polysaccharides, which can help reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is often developed through high blood sugar levels. Foods that have a high glycemic index and are high in sugars can lead to significant fluctuations in your blood sugar levels after a carb-loaded meal.
However, as mushrooms are high in polysaccharides and have a low glycemic index, they are able to reduce your risk for diabetes.
- Polysaccharides have been shown to prevent type 2 diabetes by improving insulin resistance and lower your blood sugar levels. (12)
How Mushrooms Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
Mushrooms have been shown to reduce your risk of a number of heart disease conditions. Specifically, beta-glucan and ergothioneine are primarily responsible for lowering your risk for these diseases and promoting heart health. (13)
Typically, heart diseases can be caused by a buildup of “bad” LDL cholesterol. When LDL cholesterol is in excess form, the LDL cholesterol will clump together. As these clumps form, they can block off blood vessels and prevent blood flow from traveling to portions of the body. Eventually, this buildup will lead to adverse events such as heart attacks and strokes.
Now, as mentioned above, mushrooms are rich in beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is a soluble fiber that has been shown to lower your blood cholesterol levels. Specifically, it helps lower your LDL cholesterol by trapping the LDL cholesterol and preventing their absorption into the bloodstream. Instead, these fibers will excrete the LDL cholesterol from the body. (14)
Similarly, ergothioneine has been shown to reduce your levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides from being absorbed.
- There have been studies that have shown the protective effects of mushrooms when it comes to blood triglycerides. Specifically, one study showed that consuming mushroom powder as part of a meal can significantly reduce the levels of blood triglycerides in your body compared to the control group. (15)
- Ergothioneine has also been shown to inhibit arterial plaque development. Often, this can develop into atherosclerosis and lead to high blood pressure and increase your risk for heart diseases. (16)
Mushrooms Promote a Number of Health Benefits
How Mushrooms Promote Gut Health
Mushrooms have also been shown to improve your overall gut health. The polysaccharides found in mushrooms act as prebiotics. Prebiotics have been essential to improved gut health because they provide food for the beneficial bacteria in your gut. As a result, the beneficial bacteria remain healthy, and food is able to pass through your digestive system properly. (17) Gut Health has been shown to influence other areas of health including, the immune system and mental health. (18, 19)