Mushrooms are a major culinary hit in many cultures. A delicacy for some and a food staple for others, mushroom benefits the body like a superfood. This edible fungus is not only delicious but rich in nutrients like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. They are a great dietary supplement for protein for vegetarians and have multifold benefits for skin, hair and overall health. Here are some of the lesser-known mushroom benefits for skin and hair you need to know about - and how to properly consume them!
- 1. Mushroom benefits for the skin
- 2. Mushroom benefits for the hair
- 3. Mushroom benefits for the health
- 4. How to pick out mushrooms
- 5. How to store mushrooms
- 6. How to cook mushrooms
- 7. Did you know?
- 8. FAQs about mushroom benefits
1. Mushroom benefits for the skin
- Hydrates skin: Mimicking the action of hyaluronic acid, the polysaccharides present in mushrooms hydrates your skin, making it soft and supple.
- Treats acne: Mushrooms are high in vitamin D and when applied topically, they help shrink breakouts and treat acne. Skincare made with mushroom extracts are often used in acne treatments and when added to your diet, they help improve your body’s healing capacity to recover from acne damage.
- Brightens skin: The kojic acid present in mushrooms gently exfoliates the skin from within and reveals bright complexion. It is a good dietary alternative for harsher external exfoliants.
- Has anti-aging benefits: Mushrooms are rich in antioxidants like selenium, vitamin C and choline. These essential nutrients fight free radical damage in your system and keep signs of aging at bay.
2. Mushroom benefits for the hair
- Stops hair loss: Mushrooms are rich in iron and are capable of fulfilling your daily iron requirement, keeping issues like anemia away. A diet rich in mushrooms can help combat hair loss and promote the growth of new hair.
- Slows down greying: Mushrooms are also known for their high copper content. This directly affects the melanin production in your blood that is responsible for maintaining the pigment of your hair.
- Maintains overall health: As mentioned before, mushrooms are rich in selenium. They are an essential compound that makes up the structure of your hair. Also used in many hair care products, regular mushroom intake could keep your hair feeling healthy and looking shiny!
3. Mushroom benefits for the health
- Promotes heart health: Mushrooms are rich in fibre and potassium and contribute to improving cardiovascular health. They also help regulate blood pressure to reduce the risk of hypertension.
- Lowers risks of diabetes: Including dietary fibre in your daily routine helps lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. As little as 70 grams of mushroom can deliver a gram of fibre to your body, 20-25 grams being the daily requirement.
- They can help prevent cancer: The antioxidants present in mushrooms are known to help prevent certain types of cancers - including lung, prostate and breast cancer.
- Burns cholesterol: Even though mushrooms are rich in proteins and enzymes, they have low carbohydrate levels and are known to burn cholesterol. They also aid in digestion, helping in maintaining weight when consumed responsibly.
4. How to pick out mushrooms
Unlike other nutrient-rich foods, mushrooms require extra care while picking them. Look for the ones that are firm, dry and unbruised. You have to make sure of their freshness and viability to make the most of the nutrients present in them. Fresh mushrooms have a bright and unblemished colour, aren’t shriveled up due to dehydration and have a slightly shiny surface.
Avoid picking up mushrooms from nature - some are highly poisonous and can result in serious consequences. You should also consider shopping from your local produce seller, supermarkets that are known to handle fresh greens or a farmer's market. Do a label check as mushrooms are known to be best when they are less than a week old.
5. How to store mushrooms
Storing mushrooms is another important aspect of consuming them properly. Keep them in their original packaging until right before cooking. Store them in a refrigerator; you can keep them fresh by storing them in paper bags. Keep away from foods that have strong scents or flavours as mushrooms tend to absorb them. Never freeze mushrooms raw, they can, however, be frozen after being sauteed for a couple of minutes.
6. How to cook mushrooms
Check your batch of mushrooms before cooking them. A surface that is dry, shiny and white indicates fresh mushrooms. But sticky/slimy surfaces that have gone darker mean that that batch has gone bad.
Mushrooms can be prepared a number of different ways as they do not need a lot of cooking. Overcooking mushrooms can make them wilted and mushy. Sauteed and grilled are some of the popular ways of preparing them. Make sure to dab them with a dry tissue before cooking and remove the lower part of the stem.
You can cook mushrooms whole, sliced or diced. But make sure to rid them of all dirt and grime before cooking them whole. Given that they are grown in thick soil, you can still find impurities stuck in tricky crevices even after multiple washes.
7. Did you know?
The word mushroom comes from the French word for fungi and moulds. Mushrooms were first discovered around 1650 by a Parisian melon farmer, who decided to cultivate them after they started to grow on his crops. That is why, even though they are popular in modern cuisine, mushrooms have been used in traditional food preparations in many cultures for ages. The Chinese used them for medicinal purposes (thick soups), ancient Romans and Greeks used them in feasts and Egyptians revered them for their taste and texture.
8. FAQs about mushroom benefits
1) Can you eat mushrooms every day?
A. Yes, eating mushrooms every day is safe. It is recommended you eat about 6 button mushrooms every day to maintain health, and make sure they are cooked properly on a grill (or sauteed).
2) Are there any harmful effects of mushrooms?
A. When prepared properly, there are no side effects of mushrooms. Having said that, there can be some gastrointestinal issues if you are not careful while cleaning them. Spoilt mushrooms can also lead to issues like nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhoea.
3) Which variety of mushrooms is the healthiest?
A. Even though most mushroom variants are known to be highly beneficial for you, there are some that take the top spot for different reasons. Oyster and shiitake mushrooms are the richest in fibre content. Maitake mushrooms and portobellos that are grown under UV light are high in vitamin D. White mushrooms are equally healthy and boost your body with a lot of essential nutrients.