Saturday, November 1, 2008

Mushrooms for Your Health

Mushrooms are used widely in cooking notably in Chinese cuisine. People enjoy eating mushrooms for their flavor and texture. Eating mushrooms is also beneficial for your health.

Most edible mushrooms are commercially grown. The most popular one is the Agaricus bisporus or the white button mushrooms because it is grown in controlled, sterilized environments. The other well known species are crimini (brown mushrooms) and portabello. According to the latest findings, white button mushrooms reduce the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer. Shiitake mushrooms, another cultivated species, have been widely used for a long time by the Chinese and Japanese to treat colds and flu.

Mushrooms offer good quality protein, vitamins, unsaturated fatty acids and fiber. They are low in calories, sodium and fat. So, mushrooms are ideal food for people following a weight loss program. Mushrooms are also excellent source of potassium, which helps to lower elevated blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke. You can also get rich source of riboflavin, niacin and selenium from mushrooms. Selenium is an antioxidant that works with vitamin E to protect cells from the harmful effects of free radicals.

Eat mushrooms regularly to strengthen your body and fight off illness and maintain physiological homeostasis.

Be careful with wild mushrooms because many species are poisonous and only experts can tell the difference between edible species and poisonous ones. Mushroom eaters are called mycophagists and the act of collecting them in the wild are called mushroom hunting, mushroom picking or just mushrooming.

My favorite dish is mushroom soup. I usually ask for a second helping.

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