The Health Benefits of Wild Mushrooms in Your Diet

Wild mushrooms have long been a prized ingredient in the culinary world- they impart a rich, delicate flavor, while also providing a unique texture to a variety of dishes. In addition to being delicious, wild mushrooms are also full of nutrients which are very beneficial to one’s health. From weight loss to improved immune system functioning, mushrooms can make a big difference when consumed regularly.

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient, and mushrooms are the only fruit or vegetable sources that naturally contain high levels of this vitamin. The body needs Vitamin D for a number of purposes, such as calcium absorption, carrying messages through nerves from the brain to other body parts, and allowing the immune system to fight off bacteria and viruses. A Vitamin D deficiency is a serious condition, and may lead to soft, brittle bones, and several other health problems. Consuming mushrooms regularly is a simple way to provide the body with the Vitamin D that it requires. Most mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D especially wild morel mushrooms, wild chanterelle mushrooms and wild porcini mushrooms.

Scientists are continually learning more about the amazing immune system boost that eating mushrooms can provide. According to a recent study published in The Journal of Nutrition, mushrooms contain powerful antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-tumor properties. The results of the above-mentioned study lead researchers to believe that mushrooms increase the production of antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-tumor proteins that are released by cells while they are protecting and repairing tissue within the body. This process is thought to give the body the upper hand when it comes to fighting off invading microbes. Even more reason to include wild and organic mushrooms in your diet.

Free radicals within the body can lead to the development of numerous diseases, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease; they are also responsible for part of the aging process, which can result in fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of elasticity in the skin. Antioxidants have long been known to fight the effects of free radicals, and a diet of foods rich in antioxidants is highly recommended. A study conducted at Penn State University has discovered that portabella and crimini mushrooms contain the same high levels of antioxidants as foods such as red bell peppers, carrots, green beans, and broccoli. This data supports the fact that including mushrooms in one’s diet can greatly increase protection against the damage that free radicals cause.

Many people are concerned about their weight for both health and cosmetic reasons, and wild mushrooms are an excellent source for B Vitamins, which promote a healthy metabolism. B Vitamins are essential in the process of turning carbohydrates (food) into glucose (fuel for the body), and allowing the body to efficiently burn the glucose to produce energy. Mushrooms are particularly rich in riboflavin (Vitamin B2) and niacin (Vitamin B3); oyster, shiitake, and wild chanterelle mushrooms are particularly high in these nutrients.

With hundreds of varieties of wild mushrooms safe to eat, there is no shortage of varieties for one to include in their diet. Mushrooms can easily be sautéed, grilled, roasted, or eaten raw after being cleaned. In order to receive the highest levels of nutrients, as well as the best flavor, it is recommended that one consumes mushrooms that are organic or wild. At Northwest Wild Foods we supply only the highest quality wild or organic chanterelles, morels, lobster, porcini, oyster and shiitake mushrooms fresh or dried for you liking.

Sources:

Penn State (2006, June 27). Mushrooms As Good An Antioxidant Source As More Colorful Veggies. Science Daily. Retrieved June 17, 2013, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/06/060627104934.htm.

Pirjo, Matilla, et al. Contents of Vitamins, Mineral Elements, and Some Phenolic Compounds in Cultivated Mushrooms. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. April 2001, vol. 49, no. 6, pp. 2343-2348.

Wu, Dayong, et. al. Dietary Supplementation With White Button Mushrooms Enhances Natural Killer Cell Activity in C57BL/6 Mice. Journal of Nutrition. June 2007, vol. 137, no. 6, pp. 1472-1477.