What You Should Know About Mushrooms; Types, Uses and Health Benefits

Mushrooms

Mushrooms (also called Toadstool) firstly, are very famous and easily recognized because of their shape, and then their taste and texture also make them quite a hot topic.

Furthermore, they are classified as fungi and have many variants, shapes with different colors; they grow on wood, soil or directly on their food source. Some species of mushrooms or mushroom types are edible, and some are poisonous or not quite edible.

This umami-rich and meat-like health food features in our local delicacies, continental (European) and oriental (Asian) dishes as well.

 

Types of Mushrooms

 

There are over 100,000 types of mushrooms according to Wikipedia, and about 100 are poisonous to humans read more about that here.

Some really popular edible mushrooms include;

  • Button Mushrooms.
  • Crimini Mushrooms.
  • Portabello Mushrooms.
  • Shiitake Mushrooms. …
  • Porcini Mushrooms
  • Maitake Mushroom.
  • Hedgehog Mushroom.
  • Morel Mushroom
Mushroom colony
Mushroom colony
Death cap a poisonous mushroom
Death cap a poisonous mushroom
Oyster mushroom or Pleurotus ostreatus as easily cultivated mushroom
Oyster mushroom or Pleurotus ostreatus as easily cultivated mushroom
More Photos like this here...
Portabello mushroom
Shiitake mushrooms in hands on blue background, close-up.
Shiitake mushrooms in hands on blue background, close-up.

 

And according to Bonappetit.com some of the tastiest mushrooms are;

  • Maitake mushrooms
  • Shitake mushrooms
  • Cremini mushrooms
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • White button mushrooms
  • Oyster mushrooms

You can also read more about them here.

The Chaga, Cordyceps and some other mushrooms have a high reputation in the health world, they are used to produce health supplements.

Here in Nigeria the most common types of mushroom are Chanterelles, Shitake, Morels, and Oyster mushrooms and mushroom farming has become a booming agribusiness.

 

USES

 

Mushrooms serve as food (the edible kind only) and there a lot of different exciting mushroom recipes online that you can try, also these have great medicinal value.

 

As food;

 

  • They are a meat substitute for vegetarians and vegans.
  • Reconstituted dried mushrooms gives a depth of flavor to broths.
  • They are tasty side dish by itself.
  • They go well with eggs and veggies for a quick and healthy breakfast.
  • They can be used alongside other proteins to make; stews, soups, pasta, noodles, stir-frys, pizza, salads and rice dishes.

 

Industrial/medicine;

 

  • They are used to produce bio fertilizers.
  • Some variants are used in the production of antibiotics and treatment of antibiotics resistance.
  • They also used as antibacterial, anticancer and antioxidant agents.
  • They are used in the production of vitamins.
  • They are used in folk medicine.
  • Psychedelic mushrooms (magic mushrooms) are used by some people for entertainment purposes but it can be used to treat alcohol and cigarette addiction. For more information on its uses read here 

 

Some Health benefits of Mushrooms;

 

  • They are low in calories.
  • they are rich in fiber, proteins and minerals.
  • It is an anticancer food, because it has antioxidants in its nutrient content.
  • It has Vitamin B complex i.e. it is rich in vitamin Bs (niacin, folic acid, riboflavin, thiamine, pantothenic acid); the benefits include blood building, fetal health, healthy brain, transmission of nerve impulses…. Etc.
  • It is also a good source of vitamin C and D.

 

Note;

 

Mushroom toxicity is a very serious health risk, it is can cause damage/failure of internal organs like kidney, liver etc. and it can lead to death.

However, there are chances that a person may suffer stomach upset and vomiting instead depending of the type of mushroom consumed.

Picking of wild mushrooms when you are not well informed with the types of edible mushrooms out there is a terrible choice versed and a risk. People have even died from mistaking a certain mushroom for another and consuming deadly variants (Death cap mushroom, Destroying angels mushroom).

 

Summary

 

Mushrooms are delicious and highly nutritious fungi, that have high potentials for commercial and industrial use and they are already well used in the pharmacological industry.

They are used to make a number of dishes and pair well with other protein options, also one must not overcook them. Incorporating them into your diet whether canned, raw or dried can help to meet our dietary fiber, vitamin, and mineral intake. It even helps vegans to gain a lot of the nutrients they struggle to get normally in their diet.

Lastly, be wary of poisonous mushrooms, do not cook slimy mushrooms, avoid wild mushroom picking, buy from the local market; also store properly in the fridge and only wash when you are ready to use it.

Thank you for reading!

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