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  • Writer's pictureDr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam

Mushrooms - Health Benefits

Mushrooms are not only delicious, but also nutritious. They are a type of fungus that can grow in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Some of the most common edible mushrooms are button, cremini, portobello, shiitake, oyster, and enoki.

Mushrooms are low in calories, fat, and sodium, but high in protein, fiber, and antioxidants. They also contain many vitamins and minerals that are essential for your health, such as vitamin B, vitamin D, selenium, potassium, and copper.

In this article, I will explore some of the health benefits of mushrooms and how you can include them in your diet.

Boost your immune system

Mushrooms can help strengthen your immune system and fight off infections. They contain beta-glucans, a type of polysaccharide that has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Beta-glucans can stimulate the activity of white blood cells, which are responsible for defending your body against foreign invaders.

Mushrooms also contain ergothioneine, a unique antioxidant that can protect your cells from oxidative stress and damage. Ergothioneine can also modulate your immune response and prevent excessive inflammation.

Some studies have shown that mushrooms can enhance the effects of vaccines and antibiotics, as well as reduce the risk of respiratory infections, such as the common cold and flu.

Lower your blood pressure

Mushrooms can help lower your blood pressure and improve your cardiovascular health. They are a rich source of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate the balance of fluids and electrolytes in your body. Potassium can also relax your blood vessels and reduce the effects of sodium on your blood pressure.

Mushrooms also have a low level of sodium, which can help you limit your salt intake and prevent water retention. Too much salt can cause your blood pressure to rise and increase the strain on your heart and kidneys.

Some studies have shown that mushrooms can lower the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood, which are two types of fats that can clog your arteries and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Support your bone health

Mushrooms can help support your bone health and prevent osteoporosis. They are one of the few plant sources of vitamin D, a vitamin that is vital for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in your body. Calcium and phosphorus are the main components of your bones and teeth, and they help maintain their strength and density.

Mushrooms can also provide you with copper, a mineral that is involved in the formation of collagen, a protein that gives your bones and connective tissues their structure and flexibility. Copper can also help prevent bone loss and fractures, especially in older adults.

Some studies have shown that mushrooms can increase the levels of osteocalcin, a hormone that regulates bone metabolism and mineralization. Osteocalcin can also protect your bones from oxidative stress and inflammation.

How to eat more mushrooms

Mushrooms are versatile and easy to prepare. You can eat them raw, cooked, or dried. You can also add them to salads, soups, stir-fries, casseroles, omelets, pizzas, sandwiches, and more. You can also use them as a meat substitute or a flavor enhancer.

When buying mushrooms, look for ones that are firm, dry, and free of bruises or spots. Avoid mushrooms that are slimy, wrinkled, or discolored. Store them in a paper bag in the refrigerator and use them within a few days.

When cooking mushrooms, wash them gently under running water and pat them dry with a paper towel. You can also peel or trim them if needed. You can cook them in different ways, such as sautéing, roasting, grilling, or baking. You can also season them with herbs, spices, garlic, onion, lemon juice, vinegar, or soy sauce.

Mushrooms are a delicious and nutritious food that can benefit your health in many ways. They can boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure, and support your bone health. Try to eat more mushrooms and enjoy their flavor and texture.

Dr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam, MD, FRCP (London), FACP (USA)

Internal Medicine Specialist

Kify Hospital



Phone : 85000 23456

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