Button Mushrooms on Your Plate, Health on Your Side
Button mushrooms, also known as Porto bellini or baby Bellas, are a versatile culinary delight that brings an earthy flavor to dishes. What sets mushrooms apart is their ability to contribute a rich umami taste to your meals, making them an excellent choice for those looking to enhance the flavor of their dishes. Whether you enjoy them as a savory addition to your favorite recipes or as a stand-alone dish, mushrooms elevate your culinary experience and nourish your body with their health benefits, making them a valuable addition to your diet.
Beyond their delicious taste, they offer a range of essential nutrients and vitamins. These nutrients are crucial in supporting bone health and strengthening the immune system. Button mushrooms elevate your meals while maintaining low fat, calories, and sodium levels. It makes them an excellent choice for those looking to enhance the flavor of their dishes without compromising on health. Moreover, ongoing research has shown button mushrooms’ promise in combating chronic illnesses and contributing to overall well-being. Here are several ways in which mushrooms can positively impact your health:
Reduce the risk of cancer: Research from 1966 to 2020, involving 17 cancer studies suggests that consuming just 18 grams of mushrooms (approximately 1/8 cup or two medium mushrooms) daily may decrease the risk of cancer by up to 45%. It is attributed to ergothioneine, an amino acid and antioxidant found in button mushrooms. It helps prevent or slow cellular damage.
Lower sodium intake: High sodium intake often leads to high blood pressure. Sodium causes the body to retain excess fluid, elevating blood pressure. To reduce sodium intake, consider incorporating these mushrooms into your meals. They are naturally low in sodium, with just five milligrams of sodium in an entire cup of white button mushrooms. Their savory flavor can reduce the need for additional salt, helping to maintain lower blood pressure.
Promote lower cholesterol: Mushrooms are an excellent substitute for red meat, providing fewer calories, less fat, and less cholesterol. Studies show that white button mushrooms, in particular, help maintain low cholesterol levels. They contain compounds that inhibit cholesterol production, block cholesterol absorption, and reduce overall cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.
Provide a source of vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and strong bones. While many rely on supplements or sunlight for vitamin D, these mushrooms can be a dietary source. Certain mushrooms exposed to UV light or sunlight increase their vitamin D content. White button mushrooms are rich in vitamin D after UV exposure. To meet the recommended daily intake, slice three mushrooms, expose them to sunlight for at least 15 minutes, and enjoy. Consuming a little over one cup of maitake mushrooms achieves the same goal without sun exposure.
Promote a healthier gut: The gut microbiome plays a significant role in health and mood. Stimulating the growth of beneficial gut bacteria through prebiotics, such as mushrooms, can help maintain gut health. Research indicates that mushrooms stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria. Unlike many foods that break down in the stomach, mushroom polysaccharides remain intact and reach the colon, encouraging bacterial growth.
Support a robust immune system: Mushrooms contain macronutrients that strengthen the immune system. Several essential nutrients are found in mushrooms, including selenium, which aids in producing antioxidant enzymes to prevent cell damage. Mushrooms also have vitamin D, which supports cell growth, boosts immune function, and reduces inflammation. Lastly, mushrooms are loaded with vitamin B6, ensuring red blood cells, protein health, and DNA formation, thus contributing to a healthy immune system.