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The Many Sides To A Mushroom

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By Nonso Egbo

14 November 2021   |  
10:25 am

Mushrooms are the fleshy, spore-bearing fruit of the body of a fungus, that is produced above the ground, soil or in its food source. Mushrooms are highly proteinous, edible fungus, non-fat food (low-carb) that can provide several kinds of important nutrients which have kinds of varying compositions and are of nutritional value. Mushrooms come in…

Mushrooms are the fleshy, spore-bearing fruit of the body of a fungus, that is produced above the ground, soil or in its food source.

Mushrooms are highly proteinous, edible fungus, non-fat food (low-carb) that can provide several kinds of important nutrients which have kinds of varying compositions and are of nutritional value.

Mushrooms come in different types, such as the white button mushroom, cremini mushroom, portabello mushroom, shiitake mushroom, maitake mushroom, oyster mushroom, enoki mushroom, amongst others. 

The white button mushroom is known as the most common and mildest. It is also known to be less intensely flavoured than many of its more exotic kin, and it can be eaten either raw or cooked. It also works well in soups, salads and pizzas. 

Cremini is darker, firmer and more flavourful than the white button mushroom. Hence, the two can be used interchangeably. Portabellos are common in Italian cooking. Dense, rich portobellos lend depth to sauces, pasta and also make a great meat substitute. 

Shiitake are best identified by their umbrella-shaped brown caps, which curl under ever so slightly. Fresh shiitakes have a light woodsy flavour and aroma, while their dried counterparts are more intense. 

Maitake mushrooms are cultivated as well are found in the woods. Maitake mushrooms are often sold in clusters with their soft, feathery caps overlapping. This mushroom has an earthy aroma and a gamy flavour, and it is mainly native to both the northwestern United States and Japan.

Mushrooms come in form of puffballs and truffles that range from everyday fare to costly delicacies. It can be bought or harvested while fresh, canned or dried. It contains proteins, vitamin minerals and antioxidants that have various benefits to human health.

The antioxidant in mushrooms like selenium, vitamin C and choline helps to free radicals like toxins, byproducts of metabolism and other bodily processes which are harmful to the body. They also help to prevent lung, prostate, breast, stress, and other types of cancers, according to studies by National Cancer Institute. Studies also show that consuming choline can reduce the risks of some types of these cancers. Its fibre helps to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Also, for those who already have the disease, mushrooms help to reduce their blood sugar levels. The fibre, potassium and vitamin C in mushrooms contribute to cardiovascular health. Its potassium helps to regulate blood pressure thereby reducing the risks of suffering from hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.

Studies also show that people with vitamin C deficiency are more likely to experience cardiovascular disease, therefore, consuming mushrooms may help to prevent this illness. Also, there is evidence that consuming mushrooms provides folate in pregnant women which boosts their fetal health.

Mushrooms are rich in vitamin B such as riboflavin or B-2, folate or B-9, thiamine or B-1, pantothenic acid or B-5 and niacin or B-3. All these vitamins help the body get energy and to form red blood cells in the body. They also appear to be important for a healthy brain. Its choline help with muscle movement, learning and memory. It also helps maintain the structure of cellular membranes and also play a role in the transmission of nerve impulses. 

Mushrooms are the only vegan, non-fortified dietary source of vitamin D. Several other minerals like selenium, potassium, copper, iron and phosphorus that may be difficult to get from a vegan diet are all available in mushrooms. Many types of mushrooms are edible and most of them provide about the same quantities of the same nutrients regardless of their shapes and sizes.

However, eating meals that are low in salt and also eating more foods that contain potassium are highly recommended by experts. And these are the benefits one gets while consuming mushrooms to health. Therefore, when harvesting or buying your fresh mushrooms, choose ones that are firm, dry and unbruised. Avoid mushrooms that appear slimy or withered.

Wild mushrooms have toxins that can trigger fatal health issues. To avoid these dangers, it is advised to only consume mushrooms from a reliable source.

Source: The Guardian

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