Mushrooms are high in antioxidants, just like carrots, tomatoes, green and red peppers, pumpkins, green beans, zucchini, and other whole foods. Antioxidants are chemicals that get rid of free radicals, a type of chemical that can harm a person’s body cells, potentially leading to cancer.
Selenium is a mineral that is not present in most fruits and vegetables but can be found in mushrooms. It plays a role in liver enzyme function, and helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body. Additionally, selenium prevents inflammation and also decreases tumor growth rates.
The vitamin D in mushrooms has also been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells by contributing to the regulation of the cell growth cycle. Placing freshly cut mushrooms in the sun significantly increases their vitamin D content. The folate in mushrooms plays an important role in DNA synthesis and repair, thus preventing the formation of cancer cells from mutations in the DNA.
2. Improve Digestion
Mushrooms are a gut-friendly food.
They are prebiotic, which means they nourish the good bacteria in your gut. They’ve also been found to balance the microbiome’s beneficial bacteria, such as Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium.
3. Help Lower Cholesterol
In general, mushrooms are cholesterol free, but they’re also a good source of chitin and beta-glucan, which are fibers that lower cholesterol.
Shiitake mushrooms contain a compound that helps the liver process cholesterol and remove it from the blood stream. The mushrooms contain potent phytonutrients that help keep cells from sticking to blood vessel walls and forming plague buildup, which maintains healthy blood pressure and improves circulation.
4. Fight Aging
The mushrooms have high amounts of two antioxidants, ergothioneine and glutathione, which are both associated with anti-aging properties. Mushrooms are the highest dietary source of these two antioxidants taken together, and that some types are really packed with both of them.
5. Improve Bone Health
Mushrooms are a rich source of calcium, which is an essential nutrient in the formation and strengthening of bones. A steady supply of calcium in the diet can reduce your chances of developing conditions like osteoporosis, and can also reduce joint pain and general lack of mobility that is associated with bone degradation.
6. Increase Iron Absorption
Copper has a number of beneficial effects on the body and can be found in mushrooms. Copper deficiency can lead to anemia and neutropenia. This is because copper regulates and stimulates the absorption of iron from food, and properly utilize it by getting it released from primary storage spots in the body like the liver. Mushrooms also have high levels of iron, so the two work together for healthy bones and also prevent anemia.