Whether you’re a vegetarian or trying to follow a more plant-based diet, mushroom health benefits are what you should be reaping. A protein-packed meat substitute with B and D vitamins, selenium, potassium, and copper, this low-calorie food is very versatile!
The magical mushroom health benefits!
No matter which mushroom is your favorite – Shiitake, Cremini, Button, White, Brown Beech, etc. – all forms of this fabulous fungi are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. All types of edible mushrooms contain varying degrees of protein and fiber, making them perfect for a plant-based diet. This low-calorie food is high in vitamins B and D, as well as potassium and copper; all nutrients your body needs to function properly. As an added bonus, mushrooms are loaded with selenium which helps support the immune system.
What can mushrooms do for me?
- Increase Your Vitamin D Naturally – Just like us, mushrooms produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. American growers are now exposing them to high levels of ultraviolet B just before going to market to increase this effect and offer more of this nutrient to consumers.
- Lower Cholesterol – In general, mushrooms are cholesterol free, but they’re also a good source of chitin and beta-glucan which are fibers that lower cholesterol. According to a 2012 study in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, pink oyster mushrooms reduced total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol) in hyper-cholesterolemic rats.
- Fight the Signs of Aging – In a 2017 study by Penn State, researchers found that mushrooms have high amounts of ergothioneine and glutathione, both important antioxidants. The amounts of the two compounds varied greatly between mushroom species, but they found that mushrooms are the highest dietary source of these two antioxidants delivered together.
- Boost Your Immune System – Research has shown that white button mushrooms may promote immune function by increasing the production of antiviral and other proteins that are released by cells while they are trying to protect and repair the body’s tissues.
- Improve Your Digestive System – Mushrooms are a good source of both insoluble chitin and soluble beta glucans. Insoluble fiber is crucial to proper digestion, while soluble fiber can slow the rise in your body’s blood sugars after a meal and can also help moderate your blood pressure and cholesterol.
Our top 5 mushroom recipes for your plant-based diet:
- Learn how to easily make Homemade Mushroom Stock with mushroom stems and veggie scraps. This mushroom broth makes the perfect soup base, stew base, and more. Save your scraps, save money, and make homemade vegetable stock!
- If you’re looking for a vegan alternative to the French classic, Beouf Bourguignon, this One-Pot Vegan Mushroom Bourguignon is the recipe for you. Substituting mushrooms for traditional beef ensures that the texture and taste will not disappoint!
- Dill Pickle Soup with Mushrooms is the ultimate bowl of comfort. Slightly sour and extremely flavorful, this easy soup is sure to warm you up during chilly days. This will soon become the star of the show in your fall recipe book!
- These Vegan Mushroom Sausage Rolls are made with mushrooms, celery, nuts, and lentils to mimic the taste and texture of sausage. Serve anytime you want a better-for-you appetizer.
- This Spinach Mushroom Veggie Lasagna is a delightful one-pan dish that’s lower in sodium and fat than traditional lasagna recipes. Packed with veggies, cheese, and homemade marinara, this is a simple family meal everyone will love!
We hope you find this information about the health benefits of mushrooms useful in your every day life and that you enjoy these plant-based recipes. If you enjoyed this article, be sure to visit our Healthy Food Tips section for more like it. For daily recipe inspiration, subscribe to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Pinterest and Instagram. Enjoy!
Disclosure: The author of this article is not a trained medical professional, nor a dietician. All of the information in this post is based on research, doctor recommendations, and personal experience.