Global Health Asia-Pacific July 2022 - Page 23

Mushrooms can be an essential part of clean eating

Mushrooms can be an essential part of clean eating

They can make us healthier in several ways
“ If your immune system is lowered , mushrooms can help improve the count and function of white blood cells and have a protective effect against cancer .”

Veggies and fruits are the darling of any healthy diet , but there ’ s another food with significant health benefits that often takes a back seat � mushrooms . Often mistaken for plants , mushrooms are actually a fungus , a different type of organism that absorbs nutrients from its surroundings instead of producing its own food with sunlight like plants do .

To begin with , they ’ re packed with nutritious components that can boost your immune system . “ Mushrooms have a constituent called beta-glucans which help increase the production of white blood cells . If your immune system is lowered , mushrooms can help improve the count and function of white blood cells and have a protective effect against cancer , � Lawrence Tredrea , a nutritionist at the Integrated Medicine Institute in Hong Kong , told the South China Morning Post .
�ushrooms are rich in fibres and potassium . The former can contribute to good gut health and could help manage or even lower the risk for type 2 diabetes , while the latter is known for regulating blood pressure , which in turn may decrease the risk for heart problems .
They can use sunlight to produce vitamin D , an essential nutrient that can further strengthen the immune system while protecting the bones . Vitamin D is also an antioxidant , as are many other key components in mushrooms like the anti�inflammatories selenium and ergothioneine , or ergo . These substances counteract oxidative stress , a process that is believed to play a role in chronic conditions , including cancer , heart disease , and dementia .
“ Mushrooms are a great food to consume when you have minor inflammation , such as an injury , or if you have any autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis , rheumatoid arthritis , or lupus ,” Angela Lemond , a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics , told Time .
A study of si� different types of mushrooms showed that all were associated with reduced levels of mild cognitive impairment ( MCI ), with seniors who had two portions of mushrooms weekly experiencing a 50 percent reduction in MCI .
The researchers who conducted the study believe ergo is what offers protection against the cognitive condition . “ We ’ re very interested in a compound called ergothioneine ( ET ),” said Dr Irwin Cheah , Senior Research Fellow from NUS Biochemistry , in a press release . “ ET is a unique antioxidant and antiinflammatory which humans are unable to synthesise on their own . But it can be obtained from dietary sources , one of the main ones being mushrooms .”
Mushrooms can also provide folic acid , which is often taken by pregnant women in the form of supplements because it can boost fetal health .
Though different types of mushrooms may have varying amounts of nutrients , with white mushrooms stacked with the most potassium and portobello with the greatest quantity of ergo , they ’ re all good choices especially when eaten regularly .
“ The best mushrooms are the ones you enjoy and will eat most consistently ,” Brian St . Pierre , a registered dietitian and director of performance nutrition at Precision Nutrition , told Time . “ They all provide an array of benefits . �
GlobalHealthAsiaPacific . com JULY 2022
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