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Mushrooms the Healthy Fungus

By Paul Rothbart

People have been eating mushrooms since ancient Egypt, where legend has it, pharaohs declared them food only fit for royalty. Mushrooms are a billion dollar a year industry with a huge number of edible varieties. Their earthy flavor pairs well with meats and vegetables and they are a nice addition to a soup or stew. There's nothing quite like a mushroom gravy and if you've ever had a good beef wellington, you know how much the duxelles add to it. Mushrooms are pretty tasty, but you may know how healthy they are. This humble fungus has a number of health benefits.

High In B and D Vitamins

The B vitamins are essential nutrients. Many vegetables contain some of the Bs, but not B12, which generally comes from meat. Mushrooms contain B12, so they are a good option for vegans to include in their diets. B vitamins are important for turning food to fuel for energy. Mushrooms are one of the few foods that provide Vitamin D, usually made by the body from sunlight. Vitamin D aids absorption of calcium which builds strong bones.


Mushrooms contain ergothioneine, an antioxidant that helps lower inflammation throughout the body. This aids in preventing diseases like cancer and reduces tumor growth. Mushrooms are especially effective at preventing breast cancer.  They can also suppress allergic reactions. Anti-inflammatories are also good for brain health.

Lower Cholesterol

As a cholesterol free food, mushrooms also contain chitin and beta-glucan. These fibers can help reduce cholesterol in the blood. Shiitake mushrooms provide a compound that assists the liver in processing cholesterol and removing it from the blood. Mushrooms also contain phytochemicals that prevent blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels, This keeps plaque from building up, boosts the circulation and lowers blood pressure. This will help to prevent heart attack and stroke. 

Fight Aging

The ergothioneine in mushrooms, along with another antioxidant, glutathione, has anti-aging properties. A study conducted in 2019 found that by eating 300 grams of cooked mushrooms a week, seniors were 50 percent less likely to experience cognitive impairment. Wild porcini mushrooms contain the largest amount of these antioxidants.

Mushrooms are a popular food worldwide. They can be eaten raw or cooked in a variety of ways and make a good meat substitute. They are also ones of the healthiest foods there is. Including your favorite type of mushroom to your regular will pay dividends to your health.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractor in Wichita, Kans.

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