Mushrooms are one of the oldest forms of life on our planet. The largest mushroom currently living is underground in eastern Oregon, ranging 2,000 acres. Mushrooms are lower plants. These plants are classified as Thallophyta by Linnaeus. It lack true roots, true stems, true leaves, true flowers, and true seeds. These are basically edible fungi. This can be either above ground or underground. The most common type of mushroom is umbrella shaped with a cap and stem.
Categories of mushrooms
- Edible mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus)
- Mushrooms that are having medicinal properties.
- Those mushrooms that are poisonous.
Nutritional Values of Mushroom
- Protein content in edible mushrooms is twice that of cabbage, oranges, and apples. Mushrooms contain 19% to 35% protein. Amount of crude protein, mushrooms rank below most animal meats but is most other foods, including milk.
- Essential amino acid present is lysine, and the lowest levels among the essential amino acids are those of tryptophan and methionine.
- Fat content in different species of mushrooms ranges from 1.1 to 8.3%.
- Mushrooms are a good source for several vitamins including thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin, biotin, and Vitamin C.
- Carbohydrates contents ranges from 46.6 to 81.8%. Mushroom have an ability to inhibit the growth of tumours. Fiber content ranges from 7.4 to 27.6%.
- Mushrooms are good source of minerals. It contain calcium, lead, zinc, and cadimum.
Over all mushroom contains rich amount of protein, carbohydrates, fibre, ash, low fat content. They are good source of essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. It contains potassium and phosphorus.
Medicinal Value of Mushrooms
Mushrooms has antitumor and immuno stimulating properties. It contains polysaccharides mainly beta-glucans which activate immune system.
It is anti- bacterial, an anti- oxidant, anti- tumor and anti- viral. It is very helpful with conditions related to blood pressure, blood sugar, heart disease, cholesterol, immunity, kidney tonic, liver tonic, lungs, nerve tonic, sexual potentiator, and a stress reducer.
It is also helpful in side effects of chemotherapy, like hair loss, nausea, pain. It diminish pain that comes with last stage of cancer. Mushrooms are anti-viral and a liver and lung tonic.
Some of varieties of mushroom are
- White Button: It has mild taste and pairs well with any food item.
- Cremini: It is deeper, earthier flavour than white button
- Portabella: It is deep, and have meat- like texture and flavor
- Enoki: It has a mild taste and crunchy texture.
- Oyster: It has mild, delicate flavor.
- Maitake: It has distinctive aroma and rich, woody, taste
- Shiitake: Rich and woody when cooked
Nutrients Presents in Mushrooms
Mushrooms are good sources of some B vitamins like Riboflavin or Vitamin B2m Pantothenic acid or Vitamin B5, and Niacin or Vitamin B3. These vitamins B act on nervous system. They provide energy by breaking down carbohydrate, fat, and protein.
Selenium– It keep the body’s cells healthy. It helps to prevent heart disease and cancer. Selenium promotes a strong immune system. It promotes fertility in men. Since selenium is only found in animal foods, it is very good source of selenium in vegetarians.
Copper– It keeps bones and nerves healthy. It helps in formation of red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout the body.
Potassium– It helps control blood pressure. It helps to maintain normal fluid and mineral balance.
Vitamin D – Mushrooms are rich source of vitamin D. This vitamin D content is often increased by over exposing them to ultraviolet light.
Health Benefits of Mushrooms
- Mushrooms are lower in calories and fat.
- It is great substitute for red meat.
- It helps in weight loss, lower waist circumference, and lower blood pressure.
- It is low in sodium.
- I has Beta-glucans that have been known to exhibit anti-tumor activity.
- It has been used in health care for treating some conditions like skin disease to disease like AIDS.
- It is anti-allergic and anti-cholesterol properties.
- Mushroom can cure epilepsy, wounds, skin diseases, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, cold, liver disease, gall bladder diseases and used to kill worms.
- It also used in India for treating joint pain.
- Some mushrooms are used for memory improvement, for inducing sleep.