They are the star product of each autumn at a gastronomic level, although each season of the year has its own. Mushrooms offer such a variety of options in their universe that you like at least one type of them.
With a delicate or more intense flavour, a penetrating or subtle fragrance, a honeyed or slightly tougher texture, mushrooms are a delicious ingredient with hardly any accompaniment or as part of a recipe. And they also have a few beneficial properties for your health.
The advantages of eating mushrooms
You already know that the fungi world is vast. Fungi are living beings whose reproductive organs are mushrooms, and from them, a group is suitable for human consumption. Did you know that it was from a fungus of the penicillium family, Penicillium notatum, that the most medicinal product was extracted? Important story?
The researcher Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928, with which antibiotics were developed, the drug that saved millions of people from death from various diseases considered incurable.
Moving to a more everyday environment, mushrooms offer a few health benefits, in addition to the immense gastronomic enjoyment that savouring them represents. Here are some of them:
They are abundant in water and high-quality protein. Its caloric intake is minimal. They are rich in iron, phosphorus, magnesium, iodine, potassium, and zinc. They are rich in vitamins A, B and D. Due to their content of B12, which is usually found in meat, it comes in handy in vegetarian and vegan diets. Mushrooms, in general, have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties; one of the most outstanding in this regard is reishi. Some experiments have proven the anti-cancer properties of various edible mushrooms, such as Lentinus edodes -the oriental shiitake- which improves the immune system and is a natural cholesterol reducer used in research against AIDS, among other properties. Thanks to beta-glucan, they strengthen the immune system and protect the heart. Many mushrooms contain phytonutrients that help prevent cells from adhering to the walls of blood vessels, promoting good circulation.
And if we talk about specific mushrooms, we find a few good news to eat them more:
The St. George mushroom or perretxico -Calocybe gambosa- contributes to lower blood sugar levels, and therefore is effective for diabetes. The Polyporus umbellatus variety has draining functions; that is why it is good for fluid retention and has antitumor effects. The Boletus edulis, one of the most appreciated mushrooms at the gastronomic level, feels great to the body: it is very rich in selenium, an element with antitumor and antioxidant properties; it is also anti-inflammatory and protects blood vessels. The morel or Morchella spp is antibacterial and antioxidant, as well as antitumor and anti-inflammatory. The beef tongue or liver fistula is an antioxidant and antitumor.
However, despite all these health advantages, mushrooms are indeed a food that can be difficult to digest for some people due to their high fibre content.
Almost like meat
Some of the proteins are of such high biological quality that they could even be compared to meat. Therefore, they are beneficial in vegetarian and vegan diets.
- Energetic but with no fat
They are also a source of energy. One hundred grams contain about 20 calories, but their fat content is minimal so that they can be included in weight-loss diets.
- They strengthen the bones
Mushrooms contain a substance called ergosterol, which with the action of the sun, turns into vitamin D. This micronutrient favours the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, essential for strengthening bones.
- They are very satiating
These foods are rich in insoluble fibre. It is a very slow nutrient to digest, which makes a small number of mushrooms satiate. But you have to be careful and not abuse as they cause a lot of heaviness and even indigestion.
- They boost your defences
They are considered a superfood for nothing. Some typical mushrooms of Asian cuisine such as shiitake, enoki, maitake, etc. They strengthen the immune system and have even been attributed beneficial properties against infections, some types of cancer, heart disease or allergies.
- Recommended in diabetes
The mushroom is an excellent cultivated mushroom to use in special diets, such as diabetes. This is because its carbohydrate intake is low, and it also contains B vitamins and proteins. It also contains vitamin C but in less quantity.
- Source of medications
Some well-known antibiotics Those like penicillin, are produced by fungi such as Penicillium or Aspergillus. But, of course, they are not edible.
The champignon is one of the most popular, commercialized and consumed mushrooms in Western countries. There are numerous species of mushrooms, and all of them are beneficial for our bodies. Being low in calories but rich in B vitamins, potassium, iron, copper and selenium, these mushrooms are usually present in weight loss diets.
At the time of purchase, it is advisable to choose white mushrooms of a hard consistency and with the hat tightly closed and attached to the stem. All this indicates that it is fresh and quality mushrooms. In the kitchen, they lend themselves to a lot of preparations. They work very well in tortillas, savoury cakes or as a base for vegetable patés. They also combine great with salads, sauces, in simple preparations (fried or grilled) or in longer preparations, such as stews.
With the arrival of autumn and the rains of this season, the moment awaited by many fans of nature and gastronomy arrives the mushroom season. Mushrooms are one of the most beloved products in the kitchen since they are tasty and combine very well in many dishes.
But in addition to the pleasure for the palate, mushrooms are also rich in nutritional properties beneficial to our health. Among these properties, they are low in fat and rich in fibre, and protein stands out.
Going into more detail, mushrooms provide us with large amounts of iron, phosphorus, iodine, magnesium, selenium, calcium, potassium, zinc, vitamins A, and vitamins B1, B2, B3, C and D. According to the Spanish Nutrition Foundation, mushrooms are rich in water, provide high-quality protein and fibre, and have very little fat and zero cholesterol, making them an ideal ingredient for healthy and balanced diets.