5 Surprising Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite, back by popular demand. It was originally published on May 27, 2014. Enjoy!

Mushrooms often appear on lists of most-hated vegetables. Working in the restaurant industry, I got lots of requests to omit them from salads, pizzas and calzones. I guess there’s something about the texture or taste (or both) that turns people off. I wouldn’t know, because I’m a big fan of the friendly fungi. They add a deliciously-earthy flavor to a plethora of dishes, from vegetable stir fry to grilled steak.

Related: 7 Reasons Mushrooms Could Save the World

Their flavor is just one reason to love the humble mushroom. For one thing, they’re incredibly easy to grow at home. They can also be used to make lots of inedible things, like packaging and even houses. But for now, let’s focus on what they can do for your health. Read through the list of surprising benefits below, then choose one of the recipes to celebrate the mushroom today!

5 Surprising Health Benefits of Mushrooms

1. Weight Loss

Results of a study conducted by the University of Buffalo indicate that consumption of mushrooms could be useful in regulating glucose levels, a benefit thatmight make it easier to lose weight and exercise longer by controlling blood sugar, especially for women. The study used a Portabella powder, but we’re fairly certain eating them whole works just as well.

2. Nutrient Absorption

Vitamin D is vital for many aspects of human health, and supplements just don’t cut it. Mushrooms just happen to be one of the few vegetables considered to be a good source of edible Vitamin D. “This essential vitamin can facilitate the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous,” explains Organic Facts.

3.Stronger Bones

In addition to Vitamin D (which is good for bones) mushrooms also contain calcium (the very nutrient that Vitamin D helps you to absorb!) This serendipitous occurrence just increases the benefits for your bones. Eating adequate amounts of calcium has been shown to reduce joint pain, lack of mobility and even osteoporosis risk.

4. Diabetes Management

Between the obesity epidemic and the proliferation of food deserts, it’s no wonder that diabetes rates have skyrocketed. Mushrooms are considered a good tool for dietary management of this condition, asthey contain natural insulin and enzymes which help the body break down sugar and starch in other foods.

5. Immune Health

As we’ve mentioned many times before, food–not pills–is your best chance for a strong immune system and overall health. Long before we had the word “superfood,” humans were reaping the immune benefits of eating mushrooms. As one ofthe highest antioxidant foods in the world, it’s no surprised that mushrooms have been found tostimulate and regulate the body’s immune system. Research also indicates that mushrooms can help reduce risk of breast and prostate cancer, two of the most common kinds.

5 Healthy Mushroom Recipes

Mushrooms Stuff with Spring Greens

Mushroom Tofu Stroganoff

Arugula and Grilled Mushroom Salad

Mushroom-Freekeh Casserole

Mushrooms with Red Wine and Thyme

Image via renemensen

346 comments

Robert N.
Robert N22 days ago

Same as Maya, I love cooking with mushrooms, Thank you for sharing this.

Andrea B.
Maya B2 months ago

I love cooking with mushrooms, Thanks for sharing.

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla3 months ago

Awesome, I love them!

Zah K.
Zah K4 months ago

Thanks for the info

Jim Ven
Jim Ven4 months ago

thanks for the article.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus5 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

Sanaa Naeem
Sanaa Naeem6 months ago

Alright! Can't drink milk but love mushrooms. I just read a thing on grapefruit, too, so I'm all set for calcium. Or at least, I know a couple of alternative sources for it, anyway...

Mona Pietsch
Mona Pietsch6 months ago

thanks

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rogers6 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

Yến Giang T.
Yến Giang T6 months ago

Mushroom has been my favorite since a long time ago but until now, I've never known about the advantages of this. Thank you. :)