5 Health Benefits of Mushrooms

I’m always slightly wary of shouting about superfoods – they are often faddy and as we all know, the secret to a good diet is one packed with fresh, seasonal foods that are high in nutrients. But mushrooms are hardly the new superfood on the block, and for many they’re already a dietary staple. So, do you know just how good for you they are?

Image Credit @ Camilla Akrans for Allure

Love them or hate them, there is no denying the nutritional benefits of mushrooms. Some people don’t like the taste and texture (I’ve had spells of avoiding them) but those people might also be unaware of just how nutrient dense this superfood really is, especially when it comes to our skin. Want to learn more about the health benefits of mushrooms? Read on…

‘Mushrooms are one of the only vegetables that can make vitamin D from sunlight. Essential for healthy bones and teeth, this nutrient also helps to regulate the turnover of skin cells, ensuring a radiant glow. The zinc in mushrooms stops you from producing too much sebum, which in turn is great for the treatment of acne, the result of the body over-producing sebum.’Taken from my book Eat Beautiful.

Image Credit @ Camilla Akrans for Allure

5 Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Anti-Ageing

Studies have revealed that mushrooms have high levels of antioxidants that have anti-ageing properties. They are the very best source of these antioxidants you can eat, with the best choice of species being the wild porcini mushroom.

Immune-Boosters

Nutrients found in the cell walls of fungi help to boost your immune system, so pack your diet with mushrooms to help stave off illness. Stiitake mushrooms are the best source.

Cancer Fighting

Lentinan (found in shiitake mushrooms) can help extend the lives of cancer patients when combined with chemotherapy, plus maitake, crimini, portabella, white button and oyster mushrooms were all found to suppress breast cancer cell growth and reproduction.

Image Credit @ Camilla Akrans for Allure

Lower Cholesterol

Mushrooms themselves are cholesterol free and a good choice for those on a low-fat diet. But they also contain fibres that lower cholesterol. Shiitake mushrooms are a particularly good choice.

Anti-Inflammatory

Not often included on lists of anti-inflammatory foods, mushrooms contain a particularly powerful antioxidant. Reishi mushrooms in particular are known for their multiple health benefits, from lowering inflammation to fighting disease. Anti-inflammatory foods are also known for their anti-ageing benefits.

TOP TIP: While most foods are best enjoyed raw to maximise health benefits, mushrooms are actually better enjoyed cooked, to help break down the cell walls that could prevent nutrient absorption. Grilling and microwaving are believed to be the healthiest cooking methods.



RECIPE: Mushroom Flatbreads

SERVES 2
140 CALORIES PER SERVING

1 tsp raw coconut oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 handfuls of mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 tbsp crème fraîche or coconut milk
15g Parmesan cheese, finely grated, plus extra to serve
2 handfuls of baby spinach
Flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Sea salt and black pepper
2 buckwheat flatbreads to serve

Image Credit @ David Loftus for Eat Beautiful
  1. Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan, add the shallots and garlic and cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms to the pan, then lower the heat and cook for about 5 minutes or until most of the water released from the mushrooms has evaporated.
  3. Add the crème fraîche or coconut milk to the pan with the Parmesan and stir in before seasoning well with salt and pepper.
  4. Throw in the baby spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes or until just softened - it doesn't need to wilt down completely - then add the chopped parsley to the pan.
  5. Serve on top of the buckwheat flatbreads, garnished with extra Parmesan.

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