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The Nutritional Value of Mushrooms

Mushrooms can provide more than just taste and texture for our meals--they actually have a surprisingly high nutritional value also. With more than 14,000 kinds of mushrooms in existence, only 3,000 of those are edible and about 1,400 are actually recognized as poisonous.

Nutrients in Button Mushrooms

White button mushrooms, the popular ones you see in all the grocery stores, have a surprising amount of nutrients including: 

  • Niacin
  • Riboflavin
  • Folate
  • Phosphorus
  • Iron 
  • Panthothenic Acid
  • Zinc
  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin B6
  • Selenium
  • Thiamin

In addition, white button mushroom extract has been found to reduce the size of some cancer tumors and slow down the production of some cancer cells. It is most prominently linked to reducing the risk of breast and prostate cancer.

A Great Weight Loss Food

For those who are always looking for nutritious weight loss foods to pack into our diets, mushrooms are a less well-known option. Mushrooms are low in calories, carbohydrates, fat and sodium. However, like watermelon, they are very high in water content (80 to 90% water) and fiber which makes them a great diet food!

An Excellent Source of Potassium

Most people think bananas are the high potassium food, but it may surprise you to learn that mushrooms out rank bananas on the potassium chart. Potassium helps the body process sodium and lower blood pressure. So people with hypertension or a high risk of stroke can enjoy tremendous health benefits from a regular dose of mushrooms in their diet.

Disease Fighting Properties

All mushrooms are an excellent source of the antioxidant Selenium which works with vitamin E to protect cells from damaging free radicals. Some studies also indicate that antioxidants are some of the best nutrients for preventing and fighting cancers. Like almonds, mushrooms are becoming more popular for their cancer-fighting and disease protecting properties.

Shitake mushrooms in particular are also high in the beta-glucan Lentinan. Lentinan has been linked with strengthening the immune system and helping combat illnesses that attack the immune system like AIDS.   

In addition, mushroom extract has been linked to some treatments for both migraines and mental disorders.

A Metabolism Support Nutrient

The human metabolism relies on a healthy dose of protein, fiber and vitamin B to keep it functional and robust. Mushrooms rank high in all three of these metabolism-supporting nutrients.

A Great Source of Heart-Healthy Copper

Copper is one of the less talked about minerals that is essential to the body, but that the body can not make on its own. Copper has properties that help protect our cardiovascular system, and just one small serving of mushrooms contains more than 20 percent of the copper we need daily.

With our fast-paced lifestyles and the highly processed foods we may frequently find ourselves eating in haste, the magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and selenium nutrients found in a single dish of mushrooms can really make up for some of the deficiencies we struggle to combat in our diets.

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