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Mushrooms

Mushrooms
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An Underappreciated Snack

Generally speaking, mushrooms don’t usually jump to mind when thinking about healthy snacks. In fact, most people probably think of them as a type of pizza topping and little else. Though they might not appear to have much impact on your wellbeing, mushrooms actually feature a number of nutrients that can provide a significant boost to your overall health.

Fiber

Foods high in fiber should be a major part of your overall diet, as this nutrient is crucial for digestive health. In addition, diets that emphasize fiber can help prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes, gallstones and kidney stone. Fiber-rich foods are also useful for keeping your body at a healthy weight. Mushrooms are surprisingly high in fiber – by eating four to five raw mushrooms per day, you can greatly increase the amount of fiber inside your body.

Potassium

Potassium has an impressive résumé; research has linked healthy amounts of this chemical element with a decreased incidence of strokes and hypertension (known commonly as high blood pressure). Bananas and oranges tend to hog the spotlight when it comes to foods that offer an abundance of potassium. However, mushrooms are also up to the challenge of supplying your body with this critical nutrient; just one portabella mushroom has the equivalent amount of potassium as a banana or cup of orange juice.

Selenium

Longtime Natural Knowledge 24/7 readers are probably well aware of the dangers posed by free radicals, which can hasten the aging process and inflict tissue damage. Even more alarming is that some research suggests that free radicals may also play a hand in the development of cancer and heart disease. In order to limit or even prevent damage from free radicals, many doctors advise their patients to consume foods that are high in antioxidants, such as berries, apples and certain types of beans. You can add mushrooms to the list of free radical-fighting wonder foods; mushrooms contain selenium, an antioxidant that can protect your body from the radicals of free radicals.

Copper

Copper can probably relate to the lack of attention that mushrooms receive – this nutrient get a fraction of the amount of press as some of the other nutrients on this list. Regardless, copper is very beneficial to your cardiovascular system, thyroid, bone health and can lower your levels of bad LDL cholesterol. The benefits don’t end there – like antioxidants, copper is also useful for destroying marauding free radicals within the body. Mushrooms are a bona fide copper goldmine; one cup of sliced porobello mushrooms, for example, holds up to 30 percent of the recommended daily consumption of copper.

Niacin

The benefits of Niacin are almost too numerous to count. According to research, a diet featuring the appropriate amount of Niacin can lower levels of bad LDL cholesterol, while simultaneously assisting in the upkeep of your body’s nervous system. Niacin can also help to prevent cancer, an always noteworthy characteristic. This compound can also do wonders for your aesthetic appearance, providing you with healthy-looking skin, hair and nails. Adding mushrooms to your diet is a great way to get the proper amount of niacin. A cup of Maitake mushrooms boasts roughly 23 percent of the amount of niacin the body needs each day, while the same amount of diced and raw Portabella mushrooms has approximately 20 percent of the recommended daily amount of this nutrient.

A Proven Cancer Fighter

As if the above nutrients weren’t enough reason to pick up some mushrooms while out grocery shopping, here’s some information that should really catch your eye. According to recent research, eating 3½ ounces of white button mushrooms per day can fend off the development of both prostate and breast cancer. Shitake mushrooms also possess tumor-fighting properties.

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