AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

Are those magical powers of mushrooms real or just a product of human imagination? Used widely in fairy tales and stories, mushrooms certainly did provoke curiosity and lured people of science to research their characteristics, properties and health abilities. After many researches, mushrooms, in general, became very popular by its health benefits. Today, these fungi are known all over the world especially because they are inevitable part of every nutrition.

Being very low in calories, and containing about 80 to 90 percent of water, mushrooms are the most popular diet food. For instance, one ounce of mushrooms has only 20 calories. This fat free food has no cholesterol and less than 1 percentage of a daily value of sodium. Cooked or raw, they are an excellent source of B vitamins and vitamin C, minerals such as potassium (mineral that lower the blood pressure), copper (a mineral that has antibacterialal properties), iron (mineral beneficial for anemia), calcium (mineral that is crucial for healthy bones), and selenium (mineral excellent for teeth, nails, hair, and bones). Mushrooms are also a good source of niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid.

There are 3000 edible mushrooms in the world and 700 of them have medical properties. The most crucial is certainly the fact that mushrooms are ideal for diabetics.  These funguses contain natural insulin and enzymes that break down the sugar and starch of the food.

Natural antibiotics similar to penicillin in mushrooms can help protect against various microbial and fungal infections. It is known also that certain compounds in them influence on the proper functioning of the liver, pancreas and endocrine glands. 

Due to the Beta – glucans and linoleic acid, that have anti carcinogen effects, mushrooms are promoted as cancer preventing food. Linoleic acid in particular can help suppress effects of estrogens.

Mushrooms are rich with antioxidant called ergothioneine. This antioxidant protects from free radicals and boosts the immunity system. The combination of vitamins and minerals in mushroom is also responsible for protecting the body and organism and enhancing the immunity system.

There are different types of mushrooms, but the list below is comprised of the most popular and the most beneficial ones, that can be easily found and whose medical benefits have been researched in depth.

Shiitake mushrooms are medical mushrooms used in some forms of traditional medicine in the countries they originated from, that is in Japan, China and Korea. They contain a substance called eritadenine that helps the body tissue absorb cholesterol and lower the present amount of it that circulates in the body. They can also increase the body’s resistance to different bacterial infections and pathogens. Another important compound is lentinan that has anti-tumor properties. In general, the shiitakes are an excellent source of vitamin D and the daily-recommended intake is about five ounces.

White mushrooms, known as button mushrooms, are mostly consumed mushrooms in the world. They are very crucial in everyday nutrition because they have an ability to maintain the blood sugar level. Another research showed that they could reduce inflammation in arterial cells, thus consuming button mushrooms can prevent heart disease. It is believed that polysaccharide content found in these mushrooms is responsible for increasing the natural killer cells, thus boosting the immune system.

Maitake mushrooms or “dancing mushroom” (because people used to dance when they found these mushrooms) is a Japanese name for a mushroom Grifola frondosa. Native to north – east Japan, these fungi are a powerful immunity booster, and used in Japanese and Chinese traditional medicine for centuries. Some researches indicate that Maitake has the ability to regulate blood sugar level, insulin, glucose, and liver lipids. Rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, and copper, vitamins B and D, fiber and amino acids, four to five Maitake mushroom has 31 calories, O grams of fat and 6 grams of carbohydrates.  This “Hen of the wood” has a rich taste, and is often served as a main dish.

Reishi mushrooms are woody, hard and bitter, but excellent immune system booster, in a word, strictly medical mushrooms. These fungi have anti-viral, anti bacterial, anti-cancer, anti-fungal and anti-oxidant properties, thus they can protect against different allergies, and infections. Due to the gandodermic acid, they can reduce cholesterol and lower the blood pressure. If one does not mind their bitter taste, it can make a tea of dried reishi; otherwise, one can find reishi tablets, capsules and extracts.

Portabella mushrooms or Agaricus bisporus are edible mushrooms, native to Europe and North America, often used as a substitute for meat due to its meaty flavor. They are a good source of selenium, potassium, niacin, copper, pantothenic acid and riboflavin. The B vitamins in portabella are beneficial for energy transformation in the body. Due to other vitamins, portable helps regulate blood pressure, nerve system, and muscles function.

Tibetan mushrooms are rich in vitamins A, D, and E, and minerals zinc, selenium cooper and iron. The most famous is fermented Tibetan mushroom product, probiotic milk called kefir that contains lactic acid. This powerful drink can help treat inflammatory diseases, chronic constipation, psoriasis, eczema, and skin infections and boost the immune system.


Shimeji mushrooms,native to East Asia, are group of edible fungus popular due to its beta- glucans that can destroy growing tumors. They prevent infections and allergies because they are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Researches show that they are also good for enhancing the immune system and for fighting asthma.

Chanterelle mushrooms orCantharellus cibarius is edible orange and yellow meaty fungus. They have high contents of vitamins C and D, and potassium, iron, manganese and copper. They help lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, and protect against the infections.  Many people consider them necessary in everyday nutrition; moreover, there are plenty of delicious recipes for these easily available fungi.

These are well-known fungi, inevitable for healthy life and welfare. There are other powerful mushrooms as well, but the above-mentioned are the most important and beneficial and, most importantly, available.



Boa, E.R. (2004). Wild Edible Fungi: A Global Overview of Their Use and Importance to People. FAO.

Dayong, W., et al. (2007). Dietary Supplementation with White Button Mushroom Enhances Natural Killer Cell Activity. Journal of Nutrition, June.

Halpern, G (2007). Healing Mushrooms. Square One Publishers, Inc.

Hobbs, C. (2002). Medicinal Mushrooms (Herbs and Health Series). Botanica Press.

Shiuan C., et al. (2006). Anti-Aromatase Activity of Phytochemicals in White Button Mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus). Cancer Research, December.

Stengler, M. (2005). The Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms.  Basic Health Publications

Damian has been a freelance writer and an online marketing strategist since 2009. He mostly writes about business, finance and health.

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