Mushrooms

White Button Mushrooms – Introduction and Health Benefits

There are over 2,000 different edible varieties of mushrooms, but according to a 2014 report, the delicious, chewy white button mushrooms are the most commonly eaten variety throughout the world. Its scientific name is Agaricus Bisporus. 

You might find different varieties of Agaricus Bisporus in the market, but they are actually the same and sold at various stages of growth and harvest. Following are the two types:

1. White Immature Mushrooms: These are most commonly available and also known as table mushrooms. 

2. Brown Immature Mushrooms: They are known as cremini mushrooms or chestnut mushrooms. These have a harder, pale brown cap along with a thicker stem. Unlike white mushrooms, brown ones have more of a mushroomy flavor and a meatier texture. 

Nutrition Facts for White Button Mushrooms

Mushrooms are one of the only foods that contain natural vitamin D. This vitamin helps keep our immune system and bones strong. Moreover, mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory compounds that are known to fight chronic diseases and keep you healthy. 

Here is the breakdown of macronutrients in a cup of whole white button mushrooms:

  • 21 calories
  • 1 gram of fiber
  • 3 grams of protein
  • 0.3 grams of fat
  • 3.1 grams of carbohydrates
  • 2.9 milligrams of calcium
  • 0.5 milligrams of iron
  • 8.9 milligrams of selenium
  • 6.7 international units of vitamin D
  • 8.6 milligrams of magnesium
  • 82.6 milligrams of phosphorus
  • 305 milligrams of potassium
  • 16.3 micrograms of folate

Source: USDA

Note: One thing to bear in mind is that the mushrooms not grown under the UV light do not contain vitamin D. So, to make sure that you are selecting UV-grown white mushrooms, check out their label. 

Top Health Benefits of White Button Mushrooms

May Help Prevent Different Types of Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, the antioxidants can help prevent different types of cancer, including lung, prostate, breast, and others. And the best thing about mushrooms is that they are a rich source of antioxidants. One of those antioxidants is called choline that may help reduce the risk of some types of cancer (research).

However, another research has indicated that choline may increase the risk of prostate cancer. So, if choline is helping in preventing one type of cancer, it is also increasing the risk of another.

A study showed that vitamin D present in the mushrooms might help treat or prevent some kinds of cancer; however, its effect may vary from person to person. 

Helps Lower Cholesterol Levels

Mushrooms are very low in carbs, and they have no cholesterol and fat in them. However, they contain fiber and other important enzymes that can help lower your cholesterol levels. They are a great source of lean protein, hence can help burn cholesterol. Therefore, consuming mushrooms or adding them to your diet can help regulate your cholesterol levels and protect your heart.

Read more here.

Helps Treat Anemia

The deficiency of iron can cause anemia, and it is characterized by headaches, fatigue, reduced neural friction, and digestive problems. You can eat mushrooms to prevent these symptoms of anemia as they are a rich source of iron. The iron present in the white button mushrooms can help in the formation of red blood cells and ensure you remain healthy. 

Helps Prevent Inflammation

Another powerful antioxidant that mushrooms contain is called ergothioneine, which may help prevent inflammation. A mushroom called reishi can help fight different diseases, reduce tumor growth and allergic reactions, and lower inflammation. This specific type of mushroom has been used in Asia for thousands of years due to its anti-inflammatory properties. 

Makes Your Bones Stronger

Calcium is one of those essential minerals without which we cannot live. It doesn’t just build bones and keep them healthy, but also help our heart to beat, our muscles to contract, and enables our blood to clot. Mushrooms are an excellent source of calcium that can provide necessary calcium required to keep our bones healthy. You can add it to your daily diet to keep your bones stronger. 

According to a study, mushroom extracts can help decrease bone resorption and improve bone formation. 

Promotes Heart Health

Mushrooms have vitamin C, fiber, and potassium that can help prevent cardiovascular diseases. The combination of high potassium content and low sodium content in the mushrooms can help lower blood pressure. Hence, preventing the risks associated with high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. 

Increases Absorption of Iron

As already discussed above, mushrooms contain iron that can help prevent symptoms of anemia – but there is more to this. Mushrooms also contain copper content that can help get iron properly absorbed from the food you eat to your body. 

Aids in Weight Loss

As mentioned above, mushrooms are low in carbs and have a very negligible amount of fat and cholesterol. But they are rich in dietary fibers and proteins that can aid in weight loss. Two types of dietary fibers present in mushrooms (beta-glucans and chitin) can help increase satiety and reduce your appetite. Hence, they will make you feel fuller for a long time, reducing your intake of extra calories. 

Improves Body Immunity

Mushrooms contain an amino acid, ergothioneine, which contains Sulphur. It is a powerful antioxidant that can help boost your immunity. This amino acid also helps to remove all the free radicals in your body that tend to cause different diseases. Mushrooms also have natural antibiotics that can help prevent the growth of microbes and other fungal infections. 

Moreover, the presence of vitamin A, B-complex and C, can help in strengthening your immune system. 

Uses of White Button Mushrooms

White button mushrooms are used as an ingredient in a variety of dishes and soups. Due to selenium, vitamin D, and numerous antioxidants present in mushrooms, they are excellent for our skin and therefore used in a wide variety of topical creams, serums, and facial preparations. Also, they are believed to have skin-whitening properties. 

Moreover, due to the presence of iron in mushrooms, they are also used to prevent hair loss. 

Side-Effects & Allergies of White Mushrooms

It is not easy for a layman to differentiate between healthy edible mushrooms and wild ones. Eating wild mushrooms may result in severe illnesses, and in some cases, can even cause death. If a person has autoimmune diseases, such as asthma, arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis, then he/she should avoid consuming mushrooms because the beta-glucans present in them stimulate immune function.

Tips for Buying

You should only select those mushrooms that are firm, dry, and unbruised. Don’t buy mushrooms that appear withered or slimy. Once you bring them home, store them in the refrigerator. You should not wash or trim them unless you want to add them to your dishes.

Final Words

Mushrooms are an excellent and healthy addition to a varied diet. They can easily be prepared and provide a range of nutrients. However, just make sure to buy mushrooms from a reliable source as some types are toxic, and can pose severe side effects to your health. 

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