Types of mushrooms – Health, nutritional benefits of eating mushrooms

There are several types of mushrooms out there. According to the mycologists the number of mushroom species is over 1,000 and many of these are not still identified. While some of these mushrooms are edible, some may be poisonous for the body. There are also particular types of wild mushrooms that may have medicinal actions on the body in lower concentration but will work as a toxin when consumed in higher amount.

So, when you are buying mushrooms for preparing your favorite dish, it is important to ensure that you are buying it from an authentic store. Wild mushrooms that are not edible can be dangerous for health. It is best to pick your weekly quota of mushrooms from a super store or a local prominent grocery shop that takes the responsibility for what they sell.

Knowing in detail about the different types of mushrooms can be a real time taking affair, but we can easily take a quick look at the common edible types of mushrooms that we often use in preparing different dishes.

Some of the most common types of edible mushrooms include,

Chanterelle

Health benefits of mushrooms

This is one of the most expensive edible mushrooms that come with a distinctive fruity aroma and the color of the mushroom varies from light yellow, orange to pale white or even black. These mushrooms are funnel shaped and the top looks like an inverted umbrella instead of an open one. Instead of gills, wrinkles are visible on the surface of the flowery top part of the mushroom.

Button mushrooms

These are the most common types of edible mushrooms that we often enjoy in our diet. Button mushrooms are usually white in color and they come with a round and smooth upper part along with a comparatively stiff stalk. Button mushrooms are usually small in size and they are very delicate. In button mushrooms the gills might or might not be visible.

Jumbo mushrooms

The bigger variety of button mushrooms is often regarded as the jumbo mushrooms. The color of these mushrooms varies from pale white to creamy.  They come with a comparatively firm texture and the flavor is delicate.

Oyster mushrooms

The oyster mushrooms are branched and trumpet shaped.  Their color varies from light brown to reddish caps with more whitish stems. The young and small oyster mushrooms come with a distinctive peppery flavor and can be prepared in various ways according to your taste.

Portobello mushrooms

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The top cap of these mushrooms can spread as much as 6 inches and they are quite bigger compared to the many other common varieties of mushrooms enjoyed regularly in diet. These mushrooms have an open umbrella like look with prominent gills and woody stems. These mushrooms taste similar to steak. The color of these mushrooms varies from creamy white to woody brown.

Shiitake mushrooms

These mushrooms are best known for their distinctive smoky flavor that becomes even more prominent after cooked. These branchless mushrooms have a comparatively flatter top cap and the gills are not prominent. The color of the top umbrella can vary from pale white to brown, but the inner part of the umbrella is usually creamy or pale white. The steams of these mushrooms are woody and they need to be chopped off before cooking.

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Cremini mushrooms

Cremini mushrooms have a deeper flavor which makes it a preferred choice of the connoisseurs.  These mushrooms are actually the immature smaller form of the Portobello mushrooms but they differ distinctively in flavor and taste. The caps of these mushrooms are button like and the stems are soft and edible. The color of the mushroom cap can range from pale while to deep brown or tan.

Morels mushrooms

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Morels look like a small plant in itself with a brownish and conical upper part and a woody stock.  The upper cap of the mushroom has a honey comb like appearance. Morel mushrooms come with a rich aroma and they have a number of medicinal properties. These mushrooms are delicious and can be the center of attraction in any dinner table.

Shimeji mushrooms

These tiny mushrooms come with a small cap with long stems and are used mostly in soups and also in dishes for garnishing due to their rich aroma. These mushrooms have excellent medicinal properties and can be a source of great nutrients in your diet.

Having elaborated about some of the most common types of edible mushrooms available out there, now let us take a look at the health and nutritional benefits of mushrooms,

A source of complete nutrition

Edible mushrooms come with great nutritional value. They are a store house of calories, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, fat, vitamins and minerals. Most interestingly, the content of the different species of mushrooms vary from one to another, but they are always a rich source of nutrients that are rare to find in a single food. Apart from providing a balanced and nutritional diet, many mushrooms come with medicinal properties that can be helpful to fight a number of diseases starting from AIDS to cancer.

Mushrooms boost immunity

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A strong immunity system is the key to a happy disease free life. The compounds present in a range of mushrooms come with active antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. They help in turning the inner body environment more towards alkaline, which promotes better functioning of the immunity system.  Mushrooms help in fighting deadly viruses and bacteria and strengthen the immunity system through proper nutrition.

Mushrooms help in preventing cancer

One of the most important health benefits of eating mushrooms is that they help in preventing and even killing cancer. Mushrooms come with certain unique anti-oxidants that prevent the formation of tumors and even induce cell death in the cancerous growths. Mushrooms also protect the DNA from damage and offer a detoxification effect on the body which can be naturally helpful to fight cancer. There are also certain species of mushrooms that come with specific ingredients to induce death in cancerous tumors.

Promotes cardiovascular health

Mushrooms are also known for their ability to promote cardiovascular health. Compounds present in mushrooms help in lowering the bad cholesterol in the blood and thus increases the percentage of good cholesterol which promotes an overall healthy cardiovascular system.  The potent phytonutrients present in mushrooms prevent the sticking of blood cells with the walls of the arteries which stops the formation of plaque. Consuming mushroom in your diet regularly can be a natural way not only to keep heart diseases at bay but also to cure heart problems.

Promotes brain activity

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Mushrooms are known for their high B vitamin content which improves the function of the neurotransmitters and helps in producing the feel good hormones in brain. These vitamins help in reducing stress and cures anxiety, enabling the brain to work more efficiently. The B vitamins can also be effective in preventing disorders of thyroid and promoting brain activities. The ability of mushrooms to lower inflammation also helps in promoting cognitive abilities.

Promotes bone health

Mushrooms are a rich source of Vitamin D which is vital for stronger bones. Vitamin D helps in the absorption of Calcium from food and prevents bone density loss. Mushrooms can supply Vitamin D2, D3 and D4 to the body that can promote healthier bones as well as can give protection from cancer, heart diseases and even mood disorders.

Helps in weight management

If you are trying to lose a few kilos then substituting the animal proteins in your diet for mushrooms can be an effective option. Mushrooms are low in calorie and high in nutrients which make them ideal for filling hunger while providing minimum calories to burn. Eating mushrooms has directly been linked with a healthy body weight in many studies.  Mushroom consumption can also be helpful in hormone related weight problems.

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