Nutritional Benefits of Mushrooms

Healthy Picks: The Nutritional Benefits of Mushrooms

There may be no more contentious category of food than mushrooms. With some varieties known for altering your reality or taking you out of existence altogether, it can be easy to miss the fact that mushrooms are among the healthiest and most beneficial foods you can eat.

Mushrooms have near-infinite potential to be included in soups, stir-fries, or side dishes. The irresistible umami flavor of some varieties such as portobello mushrooms can mean these nutritious plants can even find their way onto your plate as the centerpiece of a main dish.

There are many types of mushrooms that are safe to eat, and the variety of flavors and textures available in almost any grocery store can accommodate a wide range of culinary needs. Some of the most popular types include:

  • crimini (sometimes spelled cremini)
  • shiitake
  • portobello
  • white or button mushroom
  • reishi
  • maitake
  • porcini
  • enoki
  • beech
  • oyster

What are the Disadvantages of Eating Mushrooms?

Probably the most obvious disadvantage of eating mushrooms is that some kinds of mushrooms are poisonous. Thankfully this downside is easily avoided by only consuming known varieties of mushrooms purchased in grocery stores. Picking wild mushrooms can be extremely dangerous and is not recommended.

When it comes to edible mushrooms, there are relatively few downsides. As with any food, there is a possibility of interacting with supplements or medication, so if you are going to make a significant change in your diet, you should consult your physician first to see if there might be any concerns.

Is it OK to Eat Mushrooms Every Day?

Eating mushrooms every day may not suit everyone’s palette, but the health benefits of mushrooms are hard to deny. Daily consumption of mushrooms is typically considered healthy, as long as you are consuming mushrooms purchased at a grocery store so you can be sure not to ingest any varieties that may be harmful.

What are the Health Benefits of Mushrooms?

The nutritional value of mushrooms solidly puts these fungi in the superfood category. Packed with dietary fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins, hard-to-find minerals such as magnesium and selenium, mushrooms have health benefits to offer in everything from supporting your immune system to helping prevent cardiovascular disease.

Research continues to show that antioxidants are incredibly important, as the oxidative stress of free radicals have been linked to everything from Alzheimer’s to heart disease. Mushrooms are a good source of antioxidants, which is part of what makes them such an attractive choice from a nutritional perspective. Though antioxidants are usually associated with fruits such as blueberries or cranberries, many kinds of vegetables and even fungi can provide these nutrients as well.

Other, more obscure nutrients such as beta glucans are also present in some mushrooms. Oyster and shitake mushrooms in particular are thought to have the most effective beta glucans. This form of soluble dietary fiber can help stave off type 2 diabetes by helping your body manage blood sugar levels.

Managing blood pressure and cholesterol seem like near-universal challenges, especially as we age, and these two areas of heart health can be improved by eating mushrooms. With a host of vitamins and nutrients that are known to help with all aspects of cardiovascular health, mushrooms provide a powerful nutritional punch. A few of the more important nutrients found in mushrooms include:

  • niacin
  • folate
  • potassium
  • riboflavin

There is increasing interest in medicinal mushrooms, though in many areas research lags behind some of the supposed benefits sensationalized on social media. Anyone hoping to use mushrooms in a medicinal context, even as a supplement, should consult with their physician first to make sure there is no chance of a negative reaction with other medication.

Many people today are on some kind of weight loss diet, and often this means keeping a close eye on your carb intake. Mushrooms are naturally low in carbohydrates, but they are not completely free of carbs, which means they may be good for nearly all diets except some of the most restrictive such as the keto diet.

Cooking with Mushrooms

Whether your go-to preparation is a quick sauté in olive oil or a more involved preparation, mushrooms can be a fairly forgiving food to prepare. Their earthy, funky taste can combine well with savory flavors from many different culinary traditions.

Developing the healthy and delicious foods your customers are looking for is no easy task. Getting the right flavors in line is one thing, but making sure the taste experience is backed by the nutritional credentials people are looking for takes expertise to get everything right from start to finish.

Quality controls are important in all aspects of the food industry, but ingredients like mushrooms demand a bit of extra care when it comes to food safety. Ensuring that you, and your customers, can have complete confidence that each and every ingredient in your end product is safe and clean is of the utmost importance. That is why Silva takes industry-leading attention to detail with every step in processing our ingredients.

If you are ready to see the difference that using Silva’s good-for-you ingredients in your end products can make, contact us today to learn more about how partnering with Silva can help you exceed your customers’ expectations.