Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Mushrooms are widely known for their great taste and amazing health benefits. Packed with a ton of essential vitamins and minerals, they make for an excellent addition to your diet, adding flavor to many different recipes. 

Crimini mushrooms are one of the most widely used mushroom varieties, popular in kitchens around the world. Many don’t realize that mushrooms, including crimini mushrooms, are actually a kind of fungus. They’re native to North America and Europe and are known for their delicate flavor and meaty texture. 

Health Benefits

Mushrooms are a low-calorie food that packs a nutritional punch. Loaded with many health-boosting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, they’ve long been recognized as an important part of any diet. For instance, mushrooms raised with exposure to ultraviolet light are a good source of Vitamin D, an important component in bone and immune health. 

Crimini mushrooms are a particularly excellent source of zinc, an essential trace element. Zinc is a vital nutrient for the immune system and is also needed for ensuring optimal growth in infants and children. 

Moreover, researchers have found a number of other excellent reasons for incorporating mushrooms into your diet, such as: 

Lower Blood Pressure

Mushrooms are rich sources of potassium, a nutrient known for reducing the negative impact that sodium can have on your body. Potassium also lessens the tension in blood vessels, potentially helping to lower blood pressure.  

Boost Immune System

The anti-inflammatory effect of mushrooms has been shown to greatly improve the efficiency of the immune system. Research has found that mushrooms help stimulate microphages in the immune system, enhancing its ability to defeat foreign bodies and making you less susceptible to serious illnesses. 

Weight Loss

Long and short-term studies alike have found that mushrooms, in combination with exercise and other lifestyle changes, can have an important impact on weight loss. For example, after being asked to substitute 20 percent of their beef consumption with mushrooms, research participants showed improvements in their BMI and belly circumference. The antioxidants in mushrooms are also thought to reduce the risk of hypertension and other metabolic disorders.

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Nutrition

Mushrooms are a rich, low calorie source of fiber, protein, and antioxidants. They may also mitigate the risk of developing serious health conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes

They’re also great sources of: 

  • Selenium
  • Copper
  • Thiamin
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorous

Nutrients Per Serving

One cup of crimini mushrooms contains: 

Portion Sizes

One cup of chopped mushrooms is considered the typical serving size. Thanks to their umami texture, mushrooms can be used as a substitute for meat in many dishes. 

How to Prepare Mushrooms

Mushrooms are almost always readily available in the produce section of any grocery or health food store. It’s not recommended to source them from the wild as many mushroom varieties are poisonous and hard to distinguish from edible varieties. 

Crimini mushrooms can be eaten raw or cooked, sliced or unsliced. They can be simmered in a pot of water for about 5 minutes until soft, or sautéed in a hot skillet. When sautéing, cook the mushrooms in a pan with olive oil on a medium-heat for about eight minutes, stirring frequently until they brown at the edges.  

Chopped mushrooms can be sprinkled raw over your meals to add a little more texture and flavor. Just make sure to wash them thoroughly first. 

Here are some popular ways to add more mushrooms to your diet: 

  • Add mushrooms as an ingredient in homemade pizza
  • Sprinkle chopped crimini mushrooms on salads
  • Cook mushrooms with garlic and butter for a tasty side dish
  • Use mushrooms as an ingredient in pasta sauce
  • Mix mushrooms into cooked beef, chicken, or turkey
  • Make cream of mushroom soup
  • Add mushrooms into a stir-fry alongside other vegetables
  • Eat mushrooms with eggs in the morning
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 17, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

AllRecipes: “Mushrooms.”

National Institute for Biotechnology Information: “Anti-Obesity Effects of Medicinal and Edible Mushrooms.” 

National Institute for Biotechnology Information: “Anti-inflammatory and Immunomodulating Properties of Fungal Metabolites.” 

National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: “Zinc.” 

Harvard School of Public Health: “Mushrooms.” 

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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