Mushrooms: Chemistry, Health Benefits and Dangers
Are mushrooms good or bad for you?
Russian people love mushrooms. They are pickling, freezing and making some paste from them. Russians eat mushrooms with fried potatoes, vegetable stews and porridge. This is a tasty and healthy food. However, sometimes mushrooms can cause harm to health.
Chemistry and Nutritional Value of Mushrooms
Nutritional value of mushrooms directly depends on their age. Young mushrooms are the most tasty and healthy. They are rich in enzymes, vitamins and mineral salts. Old mushrooms are less rich in nutritional substances and inorganic compounds. They are almost not useful at all.
Chemistry of mushrooms is unique. 90-95% of mushrooms are a water and the rest is represented by dry substances. They include amylase, lipase, proteinase and oxidoreductase among others. They are also rich in vitamins А, В, С, D, РР vitamins as well as following substances:
- 70% of dry substances are proteins, therefore mushrooms are also called a «forest meat». This is an indispensable food for vegetarians.
- As for chemistry and amount of carbs, mushrooms can be compared to plants. However, they also contain insulin, dextrin and glycogen.
- As for vitamins, mushrooms are comparable with liver and yeast. However, some vitamins are destroyed during thermal processing. It mainly concerns with carotene and vitamin С.
- Edible mushrooms are not so rich in minerals. Yet, they contain sufficient amounts of minerals to provide body with potassium, phosphorus and iron. Mushrooms are not rich in calcium. But they promote its absorption when served with Smetana or milk. Small amounts of iodine, copper, magnesium and zinc are good for human body as these microelements take part in cellular metabolism.
Mushrooms have a low nutritional value. It varies within a range of 10-34 kcal per 100 grams of product. White mushrooms are rich in calories while black snails have low nutritional value. 100 grams of dried and pickled mushrooms contains 24 kcal.
Health Benefits of Mushrooms
Apart from excellent flavor, edible mushrooms are valued for their beneficial properties, which are ensured due to their balanced composition. Consuming just 200-300 grams of mushrooms every day, an adult will meet the daily requirement for proteins. Also, fans of mushrooms will easily lose weight and ensure proper functioning of heart and blood vessels as well as protect themselves from cancer.
Fungi contain substances, which are used to manufacture antibiotics including penicillin. Oriental medicine states that kombucha is a natural remedy, which helps to get rid of inflammation and pain. Folk doctors use mushrooms to make drugs which heal nervous disorders and alcoholism. Shelf fungus is used to create medicines to treat various tumors.
Mushrooms Are Good for Weight Loss
Mushrooms contain few calories, therefore they are a good fit when it comes to dieting. They also normalize metabolism and stimulate excretion of excess fluid from the body. Combined with grains and pasta, mushrooms can reduce appetite and keep you full for long periods of time. As mushrooms are rich in zinc, they boost carbohydrate metabolism. They can be also consumed instead of meat as the benefits will be the same, but the body won’t get extra calories that later will settle at your waist and sides.
Mushrooms Feed the Hunger
Mushrooms have a low nutritional value, but they are very nutritious and feed the hunger well. Just have some champignons or Slippery Jacks with your lunch and you won’t get hungry until dinner.
Mushrooms Bring Down Sugar Cravings
Mushrooms are indispensable source of zinc for human body. Sugar and alcohol cravings appear in presence of zinc deficiency. Regular consumption of mushrooms will sort this issue out.
Mushrooms Are Good for Men
Mushrooms are rich in zinc, which improves sexual vigor. This is an excellent option for men who hate seafood.
Mushrooms Improve Functioning of Heart, Blood Vessels and Immune System
Mushrooms help to strengthen the immune system. The antioxidant selenium, which is contained in edible mushrooms, is a natural remedy for prevention of heart disease and ensuring proper functioning of the blood vessels. This substance normalizes blood pressure and helps to remove the “bad” cholesterol.
Many fungi contain a substance that lowers cholesterol level in blood. Oysters are very rich in it. They should be consumed in an amount of 50 grams a day to decrease cholesterol level by 10%.
Mushrooms Help to Prevent Cancer and HIV
Scientists have proven that some types of fungi contain lentinan. This substance effectively prevents cancerous tumors. Also, it does not let the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to penetrate human body.
Women should regularly consume mushrooms to prevent breast cancer. Mushrooms are particularly rich in a substance that inhibits functioning of enzymes that synthesize estrogen.
Potential Dangers of Mushrooms
Mushrooms should be boiled as they lose their health benefits once fried. These tasty plants should not be combined with raw vegetables as such combinations can cause bloating. Therefore, mushrooms should be combined with boiled or steamed vegetables only.
Mushrooms have also the following disadvantages:
- It is a heavy food for stomach. Human body needs many enzymes to digest mushrooms. Therefore, small children and elderly people should not eat them as they may experience stomach pain and other digestive issues.
- They take a long time to digest. Thus, it is a best food for lunch.
- They can cause allergy. Many people suffer from food allergies. So, you better stay away from mushrooms if you are prone to food allergies. Mushrooms are the most dangerous allergens.
- Mushrooms can cause bloating and gassiness. They take long time to digest, therefore they can undergo fermenting processes in gut. The latter may cause gassiness.
The main danger is that edible mushrooms accumulate toxic substances when growing near roads, military polygons, chemical plants and in areas with polluted environment. Therefore, when shopping in markets, you should always ask where mushrooms have come from.