Kales, quinoa, chia seed … mushrooms? That’s correct!
Mushrooms are the real MVPs, the unsuspecting superfood that you should be incorporating into your everyday diet.
Mushrooms are full of micro nutrients and biologically active compounds that provide great benefits for your health.
In many cultures, mushrooms are not only used as a source of nutrients but as well as an integral part of medicine and postpartum recovery.
The mushroom is especially beneficial for supplying the body with all of its necessary nutrients because of its bioactive compounds, which provides compounds like vitamin D2 and antioxidants that naturally diminishes in the human body with age.
In particular, mushrooms supply a bioactive compound called Ergo, which is an important transport protein that the human body needs.
Ergo can be found predominately in the fungi family but with present-day agricultural practices, the amount of natural fungal has significantly decreased.
However, Ergo can still be found in mushrooms and should be frequently incorporated into our diets since Ergo proteins are linked to specific health interests like fighting neurodegenerative disease and increasing longevity.
As mushrooms provide a significant amount of bioactive compounds and micronutrients for the body, needless to say, mushrooms provide many health benefits.
Mushrooms are a great dietary superfood to add to your meal plan when you are focused on your weight loss journey.
Most mushrooms are high in fiber while low in sodium and saturated fat.
For the most part, mushrooms are typically also cholesterol-free, which makes mushrooms a great buffer food to add to your meals for density, without the added calories, carbohydrate, or sodium.
Mushrooms also offer an abundance of potassium, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, iron, and protein.
As mushrooms have a meaty, roasted flavor when cooked, they are great to use when replacing meat or starch in your meals.
With only 45 calories per cup, dieticians believe that mushrooms are an effective source of nutrients that should not be axed out of any weight-loss strategies.
Mushrooms are known as a superfood because they are one of the best food for developing ‘natural killer cells’, a lymphocyte white blood cell, that plays a significant role in containing and destroying cancerous cells or other virally infected cells.
The anti-tumor properties in mushrooms with the Phellinus are also known to induce cancer preventative compounds that cause apoptosis, or the death of, breast, colon, and bladder cancer cells.
Mushrooms also have anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic properties that fight off inflammation, which helps prevent tumor development.
Many biomedical studies indicate that mushrooms have many complex compounds such as anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, and hypoglycemic properties and more.
This means that mushrooms are extremely beneficial to many types of ailments and are known immune boosters that help protect the body from developing infections.
In particular, mushrooms are known candidates in helping the body lower inflammation, which contributes to the prevention of chronic inflammatory diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Mushrooms also produce antibacterial compounds that can fight dangerous bacteria and other viral microorganisms. Common antibiotics that are used to treat bacterial infections, such as penicillin, include mushroom extracts.
Mushrooms can be extremely beneficial to your cardiovascular health because they are low in sodium and help to reduce sodium intake with their unique umami flavors.
One cup of mushrooms only counts for 5 mg of sodium and adds great flavor to your meal without added salt.
Mushrooms are also a great substitute for red meat because of their hearty, meaty texture.
Try mixing, or substituting mushrooms for meat to eliminate calories, fat, and cholesterol that are saturated in meat-dense meals.
Recipes and The Best Types of Mushrooms to Buy
Now that we have discussed in detail the great benefits of mushrooms, you are probably about the ask this common question, “Do all mushrooms give you the same health benefits?”
The answer is no. There are many different families of fungi that mushrooms belong to and each mushroom is built up of different compositions.
It is estimated that there are 140,000 mushroom species on Earth and scientists have only studied a very small percentage of this plant life.
However, what we do know is that there is an abundance of mushrooms that is currently available in your local grocery store.
Here is a guide of three kinds of delicious mushrooms, with recipe ideas, that provide amazing benefits to incorporate into your daily diet!
1. Cremini Mushroom: Do not be fooled by its fancy name. The cremini is common, white button mushrooms that are commonly bought and consumed everywhere.
Most commonly, cremini provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Cremini is delicious when made as creamy homemade soup. Check out the recipe below!
Cremini Mushroom Creamy Soup
- 1 tablespoon a toasty walnut oil
- 4 cups chicken broth or 4 cubes of chicken bullion
- 11/2 pounds cremini mushrooms, crushed in a blender
- 1 clove garlic, crushed in a blender
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- Pinch of salt for added flavor
- A handful of shredded parmesan for garnish and to add to the creamy broth
2. Portobello Mushroom: A giant capped mushroom that is meaty and flavorful. The Portobello mushroom is low in sodium and saturated fat while packing with magnesium, fiber, and potassium.
Hence, the Portobello is a great mushroom choice for your weight loss diet. Check out our recipe for a tasty Portobello mushroom burger below!
- 2 large Portobello mushrooms caps
- 1 cup of sliced red onion
- 1 tablespoon of
- 2 slices of beefsteak tomatoes
- 2 buns or 2 large lettuce leaves for wraps
- 1 1/2 cups basil, crushed in a blender
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese
- 1 tablespoon garlic, crushed in a blender
- 1 pinch of salt for extra flavor
- 1/3 cup of crushed walnut
3. Oyster Mushroom: Oyster mushrooms are truly the oysters of the earth. They have a crisp but subtle seafood flavor that has an uncanny resemblance to the taste of oysters.
These mushrooms are low in calories and sodium, while packed with calcium, fiber, and anti-cancer properties. We suggest trying a wok-tossed oyster mushroom stir-fry for your weekly meal plan.
Oyster Mushroom Stir-Fry
- 4 cups of oyster mushroom, remove the ends and cut into bite-size strips
- 1 1/2 tbsp of oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp sodium-free soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp of dark sweet soy sauce
- 1 thumb ginger, shredded
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 3 scallions, sliced
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 pinch of black pepper and salt for flavor
- 1 bunch of basil, tossed in at the end for added greens
While this guide has outlined the array of wonderful potentials that mushrooms produce, some precautions must be taken.
After all, mushrooms are hosts to a collection of different biomedical and microorganism components that have different effects on the human body.
Not all mushrooms provide good properties that are helpful or safe for human consumption. Here are a few quick and simple precautions to take to successfully incorporate mushrooms to your everyday diet.
Where To Get Your Mushrooms
Please do not try to collect your mushrooms out in your local woody forests or on the steep terrains of the mountains.
Mushrooms like to grow in conspicuous places, which may be dangerous for collecting and gathering for the best of experts.
More importantly, though, leave mushroom wild cultivation to the professionals!
Mushrooms that have been produced and processed for commercial use have been grown and procured in carefully controlled environments and meticulously inspected by your local agricultural facilities.
Therefore, we always recommend that you buy your mushrooms from trusted vendors. We recommend going to your local supermarket, organic grocers, or the farmer’s market.
If you are looking for specific or rare mushrooms with specific health benefits, we suggest that you take a trip to your local Chinatown and check out a Chinese herbal store.
Chinese herbal specialists take on a holistic approach to health and are happy to show you an array of dried mushrooms that are tailored to your needs.
It is always a good idea to eat your mushrooms fresh.
After all, mushrooms are associated with psychedelic properties that can be unstable through chemical changes as the mushroom ages.
Although, this is not to say that you will become intoxicated or poisoned if you eat a mushroom that has gone bad.
While there is a risk of eating mushrooms that have gone bad, the chances of becoming extremely sick with store-bought mushrooms are quite low.
Although with that said, nobody wants to eat any type of food that has gone bad.
Here are some tips and tricks on telling signs of when your store-bought mushrooms have gone bad and how to keep your mushrooms as fresh as possible.
1. Your mushroom may have gone bad if they have a slimy texture, wrinkly cap, a bad odor, or have dark spots. While store-bought mushrooms can still be eaten even with a couple of dark spots, use your judgment. Mushrooms that have been sitting in your refrigerator for more than two weeks have likely gone bad and are no longer edible.
2. To store your mushrooms for optimal freshness, make sure that your mushrooms can breathe. Keep your mushrooms in the paper bags that they were tossed in from the grocery store. If your mushrooms were bought in sealed containers, keep them sealed until ready to use. Keep all leftover mushrooms in a plastic bag for later use. If you are thinking of freezing your mushrooms, ensure that they are cooked first to eliminate the water retention and store them in airtight freezer bags.
While mushrooms are a great source of nutrients for humans but can be fatally dangerous for dogs.
Mushrooms contain properties that are toxic for dogs, such as ibotenic acid, muscimol, and Clitocybe.
For the most part, common store-bought mushrooms won’t be toxic enough to instantly cause death for your dogs if they happen to sneak a bite.
However, many backyards and lawn mushrooms are lethal to your pets.
Every year, new stories break out about pet owners warning others about how their dogs were poisoned when accidentally eating mushrooms in their backyards.
As a rule of thumb, always take the utmost caution when it comes to any interaction between mushrooms and your beloved pets.
Mushrooms that are especially dangerous to dogs are those with white gills or rings around the stem.
If your dog has an unshakable habit of taking a nibble at anything that looks interesting, ensure that your dog is always under supervision when they are outdoors.
If your dog does happen to take a bite and ingests a piece of wild mushroom, ensure that you take a picture of the mushroom to show your vet and to closely monitor your pet for the next few hours.
Some signs and symptoms that you would want to look for include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, unstable movement, seizure, or excessive drooling. If your pets begin to show these symptoms after ingesting any sort of wild mushrooms, ensure that you take them to your veterinarian or the pet emergency room immediately.
A poisonous mushroom that has been introduced to Western North America is the Amanita Mushroom, a highly toxic to mushroom to humans and pets.
The Amanita phalloides, notoriously nicknamed the Death Caps, can be found in urban, cosmopolitan environments of Western North America and commonly, in the British Columbian woodlands.
The Amanita mushroom holds a substance called Amatoxin in its body, which is highly toxic to humans and dogs by causing liver failure.
There are currently no antidotes available for the Death Cap mushroom, while a bite of the mushroom is extremely lethal.
The good news is that mushrooms in the Amanita phalloides family are easy to detect.
It is confirmed that the Death Caps can be found in the southwest parts of Vancouver Island and the southern parts of Fraser Valley. The Amanita mushrooms have also been found in the Kelowna and Okanagan regions.
Thankfully only three cases of poisoning and one death have been confirmed as a result of the mushroom.
Mushrooms from the Amanita varieties have a fishy odor and have a round bulbous cap. Typically, the caps have yellow or orange warts and have white gills.
The Amanita mushrooms are generally large with a bulbous stump and grow like clumps.
Common Amanita mushrooms that can be found in BC woodland are the large red caps with white warts.
This is a natural red flag to avoid the mushroom.
However, the Amanita mushroom can also be easily mistaken for other edible mushrooms, especially if they happen to be in their immature stage, which gives them the look of white, smooth caps.
When handling wild mushrooms, do not go by gut instinct.
Always be extremely sure of your environment when foraging for mushrooms and ensure to report sightings of dangerous mushrooms to help manage potential risks in public spaces.