Over the past year or so our family has been trying to eat more vegetarian meals, aiming for at least 1 or 2 dinners per week to be veggie based. We’ve really enjoyed the impact this lifestyle choice has had on our bodies, minds and wallets!
One of the best food substitutes we have been enjoying instead of meat is mushrooms! Fortunately we all enjoy this delicious food source so when Denny asked me if I would like to partner with them on their #AddGoodness campaign it was an easy “Yes!” I always partner with brands that I resonate with and that already a part of my life and Denny has been for a long time. I can’t wait to tell you more about their very special campaign and how you can get involved but I thought I would first share more about the health benefits of mushrooms and why you should seriously consider adding more of this super food to your diet.
The Health Benefits of Mushrooms
Mushrooms are edible fungus that provide several important nutrients in a diet. They are being increasingly researched and used for their important health benefits with different varieties having different medicinal properties and nutritional profiles.
1.Mushrooms contain antioxidants and protect against cancer
These chemicals help the body to eliminate free radicals which are the toxic byproducts of metabolism and other bodily processes. They can accumulate in the body, and if too many collect, oxidative stress can result. This can harm the body’s cells and may lead to various health conditions. Antioxidants in mushrooms protect our cells against DNA damage but also inhibiting tumour formation. The antioxidant content in mushrooms may help prevent lung, prostate, breast, and other types of cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. Mushrooms also contain a small amount of vitamin D. There is some evidence that vitamin D supplementation may help prevent or treat some kinds of cancer, though according to a 2018 report, the effect may vary from person to person.
A study published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine tested five types of mushrooms (maitake, crimini, portabella, oyster and white button) and found that they “significantly suppressed” breast cancer cell growth and reproduction, suggesting “both common and specialty mushrooms may be chemoprotective against breast cancer.”
Also, shiitake mushrooms contain lentinan, a type of sugar molecule, according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which adds that lentinan may help extend the survival of patients with some cancers when used with chemotherapy. In fact, it has been approved as an adjuvant for stomach cancer in Japan since 1985 since it has anti-tumor effects. “Lentinan does not kill cancer cells directly. Instead, it enhances the immune system, which may aid in slowing the growth of tumors. Lentinan also kills viruses and microbes directly in laboratory studies,” according to the cancer center.
Researchers in Japan studied more than 36,000 men for more than a decade and found that those who regularly ate mushrooms had a lower risk of developing prostate cancer. Those who consumed mushrooms three or more times per week had a 17% lower risk than those who ate mushrooms less than once a week. It was especially significant for men 50 or older.
2. Mushrooms contain Choline
Choline is another antioxidant in mushrooms. The choline in mushrooms can help with muscle movement, learning, and memory. Choline assists in maintaining the structure of cellular membranes and plays a role in the transmission of nerve impulses.
3. Mushrooms contain Selenium
Selenium is another powerful antioxidant and sources have suggested that selenium may help prevent cancer. Selenium also helps to support the immune system and prevent damage to cells and tissues.
4. Mushrooms protect against Diabetes
Dietary fiber may help manage a number of health conditions, including type 2 diabetes. A 2018 review concluded that people who eat a lot of fiber may have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. For those who already have it, fiber may help reduce blood glucose levels. A cup of sliced, raw mushrooms, weighing 70 grams (g), provides almost 1 g of fiber.
5. Mushrooms improve heart health
The fiber, potassium, and vitamin C in mushrooms may contribute to cardiovascular health. Potassium can help regulate blood pressure, and this may decrease the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. According to current guidelines, people should consume around 4,700 milligrams (mg) of potassium each day. Mushrooms appear on the AHA’s list of foods that provide potassium. A 2016 study concluded that people with a vitamin C deficiency were more likely to experience cardiovascular disease and suggested that consuming vitamin C may help prevent this illness. They did not find evidence that vitamin C supplements can reduce the risk of this type of disease.
Phytonutrients in mushrooms help to prevent cells from sticking to blood vessel walls and forming plaque build-up. This in turn then helps protect the heart by maintaining healthy blood pressure and circulation.
6. Mushrooms lower bad cholesterol
Mushrooms are cholesterol free and there is some evidence that consuming a type of fiber called beta-glucans may lower blood cholesterol levels. Beta-glucans occur in the cell walls of many types of mushrooms and in the stem of the shiitake mushrooms. This has been documented particularly in overweight adults. They’re also a good source of chitin which is a fiber that lower cholesterol. Shiitake mushrooms contain a compound that helps the liver process cholesterol and remove it from the blood stream.
7. Mushrooms improve foetal health
Many women take folic acid supplements during pregnancy to boost foetal health, but mushrooms can also provide this essential nutrient.
8. Mushrooms are rich in B vitamins
B vitamins help the body get energy from food and form red blood cells. A number of B vitamins also appear to be important for a healthy brain and good mental health.
- riboflavin, or B-2
- folate, or B-9
- thiamine, or B-1
- pantothenic acid, or B-5
- niacin, or B-3
Cremini mushrooms are high in vitamin B12, which is important for vegetarians as B12 is most often found in meat, poultry, eggs, fish and dairy.
9. Mushrooms provide essential minerals for vegans
White button mushrooms are one of the few non-animal sources of vitamin D and are therefore one of the only vegan, non-fortified dietary sources of vitamin D.. When they are grown, whether indoor or outdoor, they are exposed to UV light which increases their concentration of vitamin D. D vitamins are important because they help our bodies absorb calcium and promote bone growth.
Several other minerals that may be difficult to obtain from a vegan diet — such as selenium, potassium, copper, iron, and phosphorus — are available in mushrooms.
10. Mushrooms protect against neurodegenerative disease
There is some evidence that mushrooms may be beneficial in the treatment and management of neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s. A 2019 study found that seniors who ate more than 300 grams of cooked mushrooms a week were half as likely to have mild cognitive impairment. The six-year study — conducted from 2011 to 2017 — collected data from more than 600 seniors over the age of 60 living in Singapore.
11. Mushrooms are immune-boosters.
Lentinan in mushrooms can boost your immune system. Beta-glucan is a sugar found in the cells walls of fungi (among other plants) that also helps boost your immune system. Lentinan comes from shiitake mushrooms, but beta-glucan is found in many varieties, namely the common button mushrooms.
12. Mushrooms could help fight aging and inflammation in the body
In a study researchers found that mushrooms have high amounts of two antioxidants, ergothioneine and glutathione, which are both associated with anti-aging properties. Mushrooms are the highest dietary source of these two antioxidants taken together. Ergothioneine also helps to lower inflammation throughout the body.
I’ve posted in the past about the health benefits of many different foods as well as the benefits of various treatment. For more of these posts click on over to read a few of my previous The Benefits of… blog posts
Should you eat mushroom raw or cooked?
Whilst mushrooms can be eaten raw and may have a beneficial effect on the digestive system, cooking mushrooms breaks down the tough cell walls, making nutrients more easily available to your digestive system. Mushrooms often contain chemical compounds that can interfere with digestion and nutrient absorption. Sufficient cooking breaks down the tough cell walls, inactivates the anti-digestive elements and destroys many toxins.
What is the best way to cook mushrooms?
Certain cooking methods have been shown to increase some of their nutrient status. When mushrooms are exposed to short cooking times they retain more of their vitamins and nutrients therefore microwaving or grilling mushrooms significantly increases their antioxidant activity, even when grilled in a small amount of oil, when compared to boiling or frying.
What is the best way to store mushrooms?
Mushrooms can start to deteriorate quite quickly and, if bought pre-packaged, they are often best kept in their original packaging in the fridge.
If you buy loose mushrooms then they should be stored in a paper bag or in a container (without the lid) wrapped with plastic that is punched with a few air holes and stored in the fridge.
Now I hope you know more about mushrooms than you did before! With all these health benefits they certainly are worthwhile incorporating into your weekly menu as often as possible…
#AddGoodness with Denny this winter
This winter Proudly South African mushroom brand Denny has been adding the goodness by providing ultimate comfort and warmth this winter to a variety of charitable causes by donating many tonnes of mushrooms to shelters and old age homes across the country to help feed those less fortunate.
Denny is all about adding goodness…. to plates, homes, and communities
The company also spearheaded a knitting initiative where many of Denny’s staff members picked up their knitting needles to knit blankets to shelters. Denny also partnered and volunteered at soup kitchens, such as Ladles of Love in the Western Cape, helping to hand out mushroom soup to those in need.
Aligned with the brand’s efforts to #AddGoodness, their latest #WinterComforts campaign is adding goodness in a brand new way and this time YOU can get involved too!
For this campaign all South Africans are encouraged to #AddGoodness and warmth themselves through a donation drive which will benefit Food Forward SA.
Food Forward SA supports over 1 000 beneficiary organisations reaching close to 500 000 vulnerable people directly (and an estimated 1,5 million people indirectly) with food parcels to households. Denny’s parent company Libstar is a food partner to the charity.
WIN with Denny
Partner with Denny this winter and #AddGoodness by donating and stand a chance to win!
By donating as little as R10 you can stand the chance of being rewarded with a limited edition bespoke onesie and a mushroom hamper. I can vouch for the comfort and warmth of this onesie myself as it really is the fluffiest, snuggliest onesie around!
Make a donation and you could WIN a limited edition onesie and a Denny mushroom hamper!
All donations are welcome, no matter how small and all money raised will go to the Food Forward SA charity. The goal is to raise R50,000!! For every R10 donated you get 1 entry in the random draw so donate as much as you are able!
Becoming you has partnered with Denny on this campaign along with a leading South African feel good media title – Good Things Guy, and four fabulous “warm and fuzzy” bloggers who are distinctly into #WinterComforts: Fit Like Mummy, Crazy Rio, Just Ella Bella and Modern Zulu Mom Follow them to find out more about the campaign and how they have been enjoying adding mushrooms to their menu!
To #AddGoodness and feel #WinterComforts with #DennyMushrooms visit: https://dennyaddgoodness.co.za/