The Mind-Blowing Benefits of 4 Mushrooms

Mushrooms are popular in the United States as a flavorful, nutritious food. The average American eats nearly three pounds of mushrooms a year, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. Many people also use mushrooms for medicinal purposes in dietary powders, liquids and supplements.Mushrooms are a fungus. Scientists have identified thousands of species, but only about two dozen are widely accepted for use as food. Some mushrooms have psychedelic compounds (psilocybin) that cause hallucinations or an altered state of consciousness. Many others found in nature — like the “death cap mushroom” — can’t be safely consumed.
Unless you’re a mushroom expert, stick to your supermarket aisle to avoid poisoning or other side effects. You’ll still have plenty of options, though prices vary.
Some mushrooms have a rich umami (savory) taste, making them a good meat substitute. Others feature more delicate, earthy flavors. Button mushrooms, the most common mushrooms in the U.S., have a mild taste.Other, widely available types include:
Chanterelle, shaped like a trumpet.
Cremini (baby bella), firm and dark.
Enoki, small white stems with caps.
Maitake, dimpled and spongy.
Oyster, fan-shaped with a thin cap.
Porcini, thick-stemmed with a reddish-brown cap.
Portobello, brown with a thick, large cap.
Shiitake, ivory-colored stem and a dark brown cap.Mushrooms also contain compounds (including polysaccharides and sterols) that may help protect your health and prevent disease. Nutrients in mushrooms include:
Selenium: Helps your body make antioxidants to prevent cell damage.
Vitamin B6: Supports your nervous system and helps form red blood cells.
Riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid: Help carry out several metabolic reactions and are involved in the production of energy
Potassium: Identified in the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans as an underconsumed nutrient. Helps muscles contract, assists with fluid balance and maintains normal blood pressure
Zinc: Supports your immune system and healthy growth in babies and children.Chronic inflammation (long-term swelling) is associated with heart disease, cancer and other medical conditions. Mushrooms contain certain antioxidants that help protect your body from stress and prevent or slow cell damage.
Mushrooms also activate substances in your immune system that can enhance its ability to protect you against infection and disease, including the growth of tumor cells. Some research has found a potential link between higher mushroom consumption and lower cancer risk, especially breast cancer.Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte that helps your body control blood pressure. Most Americans don’t get enough potassium. Because mushrooms are rich in this mineral, they may help lower high blood pressure (hypertension). They may also reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
7 Impressive Reasons To Eat Mushrooms