Autumn! It is the very time when many, in order to get an emotional discharge, to escape from the ubiquitous problems, and just to get some fresh forest air, arm themselves with a basket, a folding leg, and go to the forest to look for mushrooms. In the silence that the birds occasionally dilute with their singing and the rustling of autumn foliage under their feet, you walk, look for mushrooms, and when you find it, so much joy appears in you, so many pleasant emotions! For many people, such a day in the forest and a basket of mushrooms as a trophy bring a lot of pleasure! And after all, not only moral satisfaction does a person receive from mushrooms, but also benefits for physical health! In this article, we will talk about the incredible benefits and possible harm of mushrooms, introduce some of the healing properties of mushrooms.
The benefits of mushrooms
Mushrooms are very healthy. There is no doubt about this, because this is a product created by nature itself, and many centuries ago our ancestors collected and consumed mushrooms. Let’s understand what this gift of the autumn forest is useful for the human body.
By their nutritional value, mushrooms are on a par with meat, vegetables, and fruits. Mushrooms are 90% water, and the remaining 10% contain a lot of nutrients. They are a source of proteins, carbohydrates, amino acids, vitamins A, B, C, D, E, PP, antioxidants, fiber, and also contain calcium, potassium, sulfur, zinc, iron, phosphorus, manganese, copper, and iodine. At the same time, only 1% fat is contained in mushrooms. The calorie content of fresh and boiled mushrooms on average ranges from 15 to 30 kcal / 100 gr. The huge advantage of mushrooms is that during cooking they do not lose all these useful substances!
Mushrooms are a valuable source of protein – they contain twice as much protein as chicken eggs, which, by the way, like mushrooms, according to James Oliver, are in the top 10 best foods for healthy eating.
18 amino acids found in mushrooms have a positive effect on mental activity, “are actively fighting” atherosclerosis. Chitin, which is part of the mushrooms, absorbs toxins and heavy metals, contributing to their excretion from the body. Antioxidants help our body fight the aging process.
Vitamins and trace elements in mushrooms
Mushrooms contain more B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, B9) than vegetables and cereals. These vitamins are responsible for the condition of the skin, hair, nails, and also positively affect the functioning of the nervous system. Vitamin PP (nicotinic acid) in the composition of mushrooms is necessary for blood diseases. In mushrooms, it is contained in the same amount as in the beef liver. Fresh mushrooms contain fat-soluble vitamins A and D. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), known for its immunomodulatory effect, is also found in mushrooms, albeit in small quantities.
The trace elements that make up the fungi contribute to the normal metabolism in the body, reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, and prevent the occurrence of viral infections. Mushrooms contain an almost optimal ratio of phosphorus to calcium, and in the same amount as in fish. Lecithin controls the process of cholesterol accumulation in the body. Mushrooms are very useful for people suffering from cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypertension.
The healing properties of mushrooms
All edible mushrooms contain a lot of benefits for the human body. Moreover, different mushrooms are characterized by their own healing qualities. So, chanterelles are very useful for the normal functioning of the liver, and in addition, they have an anthelmintic effect. Mushrooms stimulate metabolic processes in the body, help fight tuberculosis. Breasts help to cleanse the body and help in the fight against urolithiasis. From some mushrooms, medicinal extracts are created to combat helminths, for the treatment of tonsillitis, stomach ulcers, bronchial asthma, allergic diseases, and tuberculosis.
Of course, scientists could not get past such a useful product as mushrooms, and recent studies have shown that mushrooms include beta-glucans – polysaccharides that regulate the functioning of the immune system. They not only carry out phagocytosis, that is, “remove” foreign organisms, but also synthesize the elements that regulate the functioning of the immune system. With the use of mushrooms, the immune system with the help of beta-glucans generates 6 times more interferons that fight foreign proteins in the body. Thanks to this discovery, Japanese scientists have developed a number of anticancer drugs based on mushrooms, and currently, about a third of all antitumor drugs and immuno-correctors are made on the basis of mushrooms.
In this huge barrel of honey, of course, there is an unfortunate fly in the ointment. So, let’s look at the possible harm of mushrooms to our health.
First of all, I want to recall the famous black humor: you can eat all the mushrooms, but some only once. Indeed, probably, everyone knows that not all mushrooms can be eaten, some of their species are extremely dangerous for human health. That is why, if you go on a “silent hunt”, fill your basket only with those mushrooms in which you are 100% sure. In the event of a mistake, the harm of inedible mushrooms can be fatal.
Mushrooms absorb harmful substances from the soil, air, and rain moisture during growth. They can accumulate hazardous substances – vapors of heavy metals, radioactive compounds. You should know how ecologically clean the territory where you go for mushrooms. Also, the place where you will be picking mushrooms should be at least a few kilometers from the motorways. In addition, the older the mushrooms, the correspondingly higher the content of harmful substances in them. Therefore, it is advisable to collect only young mushrooms. For the same reason, you should not buy mushrooms in the market (this is not anti-advertising but for advice), because you cannot know where they were collected.
Chitin, which is found in large quantities in mushrooms and performs a very useful function, cleansing the intestines, however, is practically not absorbed by the human body. This is what they mean when mushrooms are said to be heavy foods. To “facilitate” this food, in the sense of making mushrooms more digestible, experienced housewives use a very simple method – you need to cut the mushrooms as small as possible, especially the legs since they have the most chitin.
Due to the fact that mushrooms are “heavy” food, it is advisable for children under 12 not to include them in the diet. Well, adults do not get carried away with this product before bedtime, physical activity, etc.
You also need to be able to cook mushrooms correctly. Before cooking (frying, pickling, pickling), boil the mushrooms several times in clean water for 15-20 minutes. Such treatment destroys botulinum toxin – a poison that is found even in edible mushrooms. It is most reliable to store boiled mushrooms in the freezer.
Adhering to the simple rules of collecting, preparing, and eating mushrooms, these gifts of the forest can be of great benefit.
Enjoy the gifts of autumn and be healthy!