Cutting to the chase: There are some very clear health benefits of raw mushrooms being a part of your diet. These range from building healthier red blood cells, balancing cholesterol levels, reducing digestive issues, and providing a rich source of vitamin D. Not bad for a snapshot of the humble fungi, right? So let’s go a little deeper…
For something that grows in cool, dark, damp environments, mushrooms are versatile fungi used in many culinary dishes and oh so tasty. But, did you know that mushrooms are medicinal as well? Yes, that’s right, mushrooms have many health benefits. In this article, we will explore the health benefits of raw mushrooms and why you should consider adding them to your diet.
Mushrooms have been used for medicinal healing long before physicians were indoctrinated into the general practitioners that we know today. Before pharmaceutical drugs were relied upon to heal our aches and pains, natural medicine doctors would use the plants, roots and holistic healing practices which are now seen to be “alternative” in modern society.
Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical drug companies dismiss the benefits of so many natural medicines. I think it’s wrong that natural medicines are dismissed in “modern medicine” when it is so clear that the health benefits are extensive and proven for centuries before pharmaceutical drugs were cooked up in labs. For true good gut health you need to go back to nature.
Anyway, I’m getting off topic…
So, what are the health benefits of raw mushrooms?
Modern research shows that medicinal mushrooms help stimulate the immune system, assist with the healing of the kidneys, heart tissues and liver. Some impressive health benefits of mushrooms, particularly with medicinal mushrooms, is that they have anti-tumor and antibacterial properties and have been used for the prevention and treatment of cancers.
They are alkaline and Dr. Sebi approved, gluten-free, fat-free, low in sodium, cholesterol, and calories. They are high in protein, copper, fiber, sterols, selenium, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, minerals, B and D vitamins. When mushrooms are cooked, they produce antioxidants called ergothioneine, which is amino acids containing sulfur.
The magical components of nutrition in mushrooms
Niacin (B3) helps to balance cholesterol levels, promotes heart health, healthy digestive system, helps the nervous systems function properly, which promotes healthy skin. Low niacin levels may cause digestive problems, insomnia, weakness, and fatigue. High niacin levels may cause nausea or vomiting, dizziness, headaches, heart problems, low blood pressure, and skin reactions. Good sources of niacin can be found in peanuts, liver, meat, fish green peas and mushrooms
Potassium balances minerals in the body helps with healthy nerves, and helps muscles to contract. It improves your metabolism, helps control blood pressure, and maintains normal fluid. Low potassium levels may lead to hypokalemia which can cause muscle cramps and spasms, dizziness, confusion, diarrhea, fatigue and can be potentially fatal.
High potassium levels can lead to hyperkalemia which can cause kidney failure and may be life-threatening. Good sources of potassium can be found in yogurt, dark leafy greens, beans, potatoes, squash, avocados, bananas, and mushrooms.
Copper helps with the creating of red blood cells which are vital for carrying oxygen through the bloodstream and keeps nerves healthy and bones strong. Low copper levels may cause varicose veins, fatigue, anemia, nerve damage, a decrease in white blood cells, hemorrhoids, and iron deficiency.
High copper levels may cause heart disease, paranoid and hallucinatory schizophrenia, hypo-tension, hyperactivity in children, autism, dry skin, constipation, PMS, and hypoglycemia. Good sources of copper can be found in asparagus, meats, capers, basil, almonds, lentils, dark chocolate, and mushrooms
Riboflavin (B2) helps to maintain healthy red blood cells. Low riboflavin levels may cause dermatitis, swelling of the tongue and soreness/swelling of the throat, anemia. High riboflavin levels can be toxic. Riboflavin can react with light causing toxic peroxides, damage liver and promotes the development of cancer-causing cells. A good source of copper in food can be found in coffee, yogurt, buttermilk, milk, beef, port, salmon, egg, almonds, soy nuts, spinach, and mushrooms.
Vitamin D occurs when our skin is exposed to sunlight. Mushrooms are the only known vegetable to contain natural sources of vitamin D. Low vitamin D levels may cause low moods, depression, fatigue, muscle weakness, bone pain, and deficiencies.
High vitamin D levels may cause vomiting, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, high blood pressure, and heart arrhythmia. Long-term vitamin D deficiency can cause kidney damage and kidney failure. A good source of copper in food can be found in salmon, tuna, caviar, eggs, raw milk, and mushrooms.
Selenium is a nutritional antioxidant, which influences the immune and inflammation responses and supports fertility in males. In Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, some areas have been found to have low selenium levels in the soil. Low selenium levels may cause impaired immune function.
Having too much selenium in your diet can cause white spots on nails, hair loss, fatigue, irritability, and distress. Good sources of selenium can be found in grains, Brazil nuts, meat, and fish but mushrooms are among the richest sources of selenium.
Ergothioneine reduces oxidative stress in cells, improves the immune system, reduces inflammation, sun damage, prevents wrinkles, and reduce the signs of aging. Low ergothioneine levels may cause inflammation, an increase in oxidative stress in cells and toxicity.
High ergothioneine levels may cause cataracts, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and liver damage. Good sources of ergothioneine can be found in liver, oat bran, black beans, kidney beans, and mushrooms.
Adding raw mushrooms will bring a range of amazing benefits. If you are planning to make some diet changes, it is always a good idea to also plan a detox. This will help your body purge anything that it needs to once it starts to get the good things it has been waiting for.
As you can tell, there are some amazing health benefits of raw mushrooms which are often underrated. With the many different ways that you can prepare mushrooms that you could enjoy. Check out our recipes category form some yummy ideas.