Mushrooms: Magical youth elixir?

By: Bel Marra Health | Anti-Aging | Tuesday, May 26, 2015 - 05:01 AM

health benefits of mushroomsMagic mushrooms can do some amazing things. No, not just those kind of things! Some do contain natural psychedelic chemicals, but there are many mushrooms whose botanical magic lies in the amazing things they can do for your health. Even celebrities are using mushrooms as an anti-aging secret weapon in creams and facial peels.

Sound far-fetched? Not really, once you get to know more about the special health benefits of mushrooms.

There are about 150,000 different kinds of mushrooms. They are a unique species – neither animal nor plant, these fungi basically exist on decomposing matter and funnel nutrients back into the earth. Pretty much ever since humans have be hunting and gathering, mushrooms have been on the menu.

Eat more fungi! Health benefits of mushrooms

mushroom for healthMushrooms have been linked to medicine and healing since ancient times. And recently, more and more scientific studies are uncovering the benefits of mushrooms. It turns out that they just may be up there with the other “superfoods” that we hear about, like kale and quinoa.

Portobello mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms are ingredients in many different kinds of dishes. You can look for these next time you are eating out at a restaurant or try them in mushroom recipes at home. There are more mushrooms in your diet than you might think.

Here’s an important thing to remember when it comes to mushrooms: Don’t hike out to the woods to collect them fresh. It takes a lot of study before people can determine which types are edible and which types are not. While some can be just too hard to chew, there are more than a few out there that can make you seriously sick – or worse. Luckily, there is a large and robust industry that is devoted to the cultivation of mushrooms.

Many grocery stores have an excellent variety of mushrooms that you can use. You can also find many types in health food stores that you can use to experience the health benefits of mushrooms.

OK, that’s nice, but there’s more to this than sautéed chicken and mushrooms. There are anti-aging secrets to uncover.

Anti-aging benefits of mushrooms

anti aging benefits of mushroomsThere are a number of surprising links between mushrooms and longevity.

If you go into your local health food store, you may find any number of mushrooms in many different forms. All of these are promoted for their overall immune-boosting benefits because of mushroom’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial properties. Mushrooms have been linked to diverse health benefits like fighting infections, treating diabetes, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, and helping ward against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

When it comes to the anti-aging properties of mushrooms, it’s the antioxidants which are found in certain mushrooms like shitake mushrooms that really shine. Antioxidants help prevent cell breakdown and exfoliate the skin.

It’s also been shown that they have anti-inflammatory properties which can help treat many skin problems and makes them a valuable anti-aging agent that we can use. A lesser known compound called kojic acid is also found in certain mushrooms. Kojic acid is a highly-regarded skin lightener that can fade sunspots and acne scars. It’s also useful as a natural alternative to chemical skin lighteners that may be toxic in some cases.

Mushrooms to help you look and feel younger

look younger by eating mushroomsNot only do mushrooms help with skin-related issues, they can also help you in the fight against the aging process. Research is revealing why mushrooms are one of the more important foods to add to your diet. They can help boost immunity, manage stress levels, lower cholesterol and even have anti-aging benefits.

BMJ recently reported a clinical study of people with slightly elevated blood pressure and cholesterol who took red reishi mushrooms (a type of mushroom found in eastern Asia) daily for three months which showed positive effects on insulin and cholesterol levels.

Another study by Hong Kong researchers took a closer look at reishi mushrooms, examining the antioxidant properties that may help protect against cancer and other chronic diseases. In particular, it’s the protection of cellular components from oxidative damage, which may lead to the decreased risk of mutations. Antioxidants combat against this free-radical damage, boosting immune cells so your body can maintain good health.

Researchers suggest the reishi muchroom can be used in a wide range of applications. It’s important to note that the reishi is not the kind of mushroom you can throw on a pizza or salad, it must be used in capsule or liquid form. While studies of this particular type of mushroom are scarce, the reishi has been used in Asia as traditional herbal remedies for their overall health benefits and to promote anti-aging.

Nutritional Value of Mushroom
% Daily Value per 100g
Vitamins
Riboflavin 24%
Niacin 18%
Pantothenic acid 15%
Vitamin B6 5%
Thiamin 5%
Minerals
Copper 16%
Selenium 13%
Phosphorus 9%
Potassium 9%
Iron 1%
Nutrients
Protein 6%
Dietary Fiber 4%
Calories 1%
Carbohydrates 1%

Ref: Organic Facts

Adding mushrooms in your diet

If you don’t know much about mushrooms, but want to add them to your diet, there are a number of mushroom recipes out there. Here are a few ideas that you can try to put more mushrooms in your dining routine without adding a lot of fuss:
Lentil-mushroom burgers – patties made with mushrooms, lentils and sun-dried tomatoes sliced between whole wheat buns.

Wild mushroom ragout – this is like a stew that features mushrooms with some cream, mustard and onions.

Mushroom risotto – is a traditional Italian rice recipe that tastes awesome when you add some mushrooms.

Mushrooms samosa – this is a classic Indian snack that you can substitute mushrooms instead of the traditional potato.

Mushrooms in pasta – yup, it’s just that simple. You can top your pasta with mushrooms in a sauce.

Some of the most popular mushrooms in America include button, oyster, shitake, portobello, white and cremini. All of these are very versatile and can be prepared in any number of ways (including on top of your next pizza). And now that you know the health benefits of mushrooms, you will also find it easier than you think to make mushrooms part of your diet.
And when it comes to anti-aging benefits of mushrooms, consult your local health food store as a resource to find out what is best for your skin and your overall health.

 

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