The Surprising Health Benefits of Mushrooms: Boosting Immunity, Lowering Blood Pressure, and More
Mushrooms have always been a divisive topic, with some people loving them for their earthy flavors and versatility in cooking, while others can't stand the sight of them. However, there are plenty of reasons to include mushrooms in your diet beyond their taste. Here are 5 things you might not know about mushrooms and their health benefits:
Mushrooms can boost your immune system by stimulating the body's microphages, which are responsible for fighting off infections. Specifically, mushrooms contain beta-glucans, which are complex sugars that have been shown to stimulate the immune system by activating the body's natural defense mechanisms. Studies have also shown that consuming mushrooms regularly can increase the production of white blood cells, which help to fight off harmful pathogens.
High in potassium, mushrooms can help lower blood pressure, preventing hypertension and its related health risks. Potassium is a mineral that acts as a vasodilator, which means it helps to relax the blood vessels and lower blood pressure. This can help to prevent hypertension, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Moreover, potassium can help to prevent tiredness, grouchiness, and muscle cramps.
They are also a great source of vitamin D, a nutrient essential for maintaining strong bones and fighting disease. Mushrooms are one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D, which is often referred to as the "sunshine vitamin" because it is produced by the body when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in regulating calcium and phosphate in the body, which helps to maintain strong bones and teeth. It also helps to boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, and prevent chronic diseases.
Lion's Mane mushrooms have been found to have incredible health benefits, such as protecting against dementia and even fighting cancer. Lion's Mane mushrooms contain compounds called hericystin and erinacines, which have been shown to promote the growth of nerve cells in the brain. This can help to protect against cognitive decline and improve memory and concentration. They also contain compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can help to protect against cancer and other chronic diseases.
You might not know that mushroom beers are a thing. These craft beers are made with mushrooms for their unique earthy notes and rich umami flavor. Fungtn is an example of a company that makes non-alcoholic vegan mushroom beers crafted in the UK. These beers have a unique taste and aroma that is different from traditional beers made with barley, wheat or hops. They are also a healthier option for those who do not consume alcohol or gluten.
Personally, I love mushrooms however they can be an acquired taste so in the interest of appealing to as many people as possible with our meals we initially limited their use in our launch range however I did get my way (albeit in a small way) as Rishma and her development chefs added shredded mushroom to the rice portion in our best selling Vegan Tikka Masala meal.
As you can see, mushrooms offer a wide range of health benefits that go beyond their delicious taste and versatility in cooking. They are packed with nutrients, antioxidants, and compounds that can help to boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, and protect against chronic diseases. They are also a great source of vitamin D and a unique ingredient for non-alcoholic beers.
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