By Lucy Gornall
They’re great in soups, risottos and pies – to name a few – but are mushrooms good for you? The short answer is yes, those tasty mushrooms are actually a powerhouse of health benefits.
From keeping wrinkles at bay to easing sugar cravings – if you’re not including mushrooms in your diet, then now’s the time to make a change, especially when there are so many great, easy mushroom recipes online. Dr Naomi Beinert PhD answers our question: are mushrooms good for you?
Are mushrooms good for you?
The short answer to the question, are mushrooms good for you, is yes. Dr Naomi Beinert revealed to woman&home the 5 health benefits of mushrooms...
1. Mushrooms support your natural defenses
Bored of missing out on nights out due to too many colds? Mushrooms could be your answer. They’re high in beta glucans – natural substances, which have been found to help ‘prime’ our immune system, making sure it’s ready for action to fight off bugs and germs. Certain types of mushroom such as reishi, shiitake and maitake are especially rich in the most powerful beta glucans. So, getting a daily dose of these mushrooms could be beneficial at times when we need extra support, such as over the cold season.
2. Mushrooms boost energy and help you cope with stress
Certain mushrooms are traditionally used as a mood tonic or ‘adaptogen’. Adaptogens are natural substances said to help the body adapt to stress and protect against some of its negative effects, such as fatigue and poor sleep. The bonus: more energy! Maitake and reishi are among the mushrooms said to have adaptogenic qualities. We love this vegan-friendly Mushroom Plus complex, which contains 4 different adaptogenic mushrooms.
3. Mushrooms keep blood sugar in check
When blood sugar levels get out of control it can affect everyday energy as well as increase the risk of other problems such as diabetes and weight gain. Maitake mushrooms have been found in animal studies to help bring blood sugar down by improving sensitivity to insulin – the hormone that triggers cells to take up glucose out of the blood. They may also help protect the pancreas, which actually produces insulin.
4. Mushrooms help you look young!
Mushrooms such as shiitake and reishi are rich in youth-boosting antioxidants. These include polyphenols, like those found in fruits and vegetables. But mushrooms actually have the upperhand on so many other vegetables. Firstly, because their powerful beta glucans can also have antioxidant activity. Secondly, mushrooms are a great source of the minerals copper and zinc, used by our body to make its own powerful antioxidants. All this means that they can have anti-ageing and protective activity for our skin, as well as our heart, brain and liver. Why not try Pukka's Mushroom Capsules - they contain acarefully selected formula to bring you the full potential of mushrooms.
5. Mushrooms can ease your joints
Inflammation around the joints can be a major concern for many people, especially those with arthritis or joint damage. Mushrooms can have anti-inflammatory activity, helping to ease pain and discomfort, or prevent it happening in the first place. Reishi and shiitake mushrooms in particular could be helpful – reishi has been shown to ease symptoms in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Lucy Gornall is the former Health & Fitness editor at Future and a personal trainer specializing in pre and post-natal exercise.
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