Discover types of edible mushrooms and the reasons many people consume these mushrooms
Today we are taking a look at types of edible mushrooms. There are thousands of species in the genre Fungi, among which a handful are edible and cultivable. Due to their incredible nutritional and health benefits, they are popular among food enthusiasts. Romans perceived mushrooms as the “Food of the Gods” because of the psychotic effects of the wild mushrooms. For centuries Chinese culture has treasured them for their health benefits and named it “elixir of life.”
The extensive history of consuming mushrooms has proven that they have medicinal benefits. The nutraceutical properties present in them are now highly studied by a medicinal community for treating various physical and mental ailments. Nowadays, mushrooms are famous for their low-calorie amounts and favored in dieting routines, and vegans have found a replacement for meat, due to its high protein content. Let us break down; here are seven different types of edible mushrooms and their benefits.
White Mushroom Species
White mushroom species consist of three types – Button, Crimini and Portobello. They are the most popular and widely cultivated mushroom species in the world. The youngest mushrooms are Button; when slightly turned brown they are Crimini; when fully mature, they are Portobello. White mushroom species are tastier, and as they mature, their flavors deepen and get richer.
- The multiple compounds present in white mushrooms include polysaccharides, polyphones, ergothioneine, glutathione, selenium, vitamin C, and D provide medicinal benefits.
- These antioxidants help to combat oxidative stresses, which are precursors of cancer and heart diseases.
- The main bioactive ingredient – Polysaccharides have potent anticancer effects.
- Vitamin C and selenium help to strengthen the immune system of the body.
- Glutathione acts as a natural detoxifier, and ergothioneine protects DNA from stress.
Shiitake are probably the most pleasant-tasting mushroom in the world. They are extensively popular in their homeland – Japan as food and also for its medicinal benefits. The flavor profile of shiitake mushrooms is savory, rich, and meaty; when dried, they have more intense flavors.
- These mushrooms compose of a chemical compound known as eritadenine primarily found in shiitakes. Other compounds are polysaccharides as lentinan, vitamins D, B3, B5, B6, and minerals like copper, selenium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus.
- Eritadenine helps to lower serum cholesterol in your body.
- The compound lentinan is an immune modulator that has tumor-inhibiting properties.
- The B-complex enhances brain capacity, helping in relieving disorders like anxiety and depression.
- Minerals help to strengthen bone and teeth health.
Oyster mushrooms mushroom species have long been used for medicinal therapy. They have a large and distinctive appearance and have a chewy and spongy texture. Oyster mushrooms have a sweet and delicate flavor profile.
- The bioactive compounds in oyster mushrooms are polysaccharide Beta-glucan, and an enzyme inhibitor substance called statins. These mushrooms are a rich source of proteins, folic acid, B-complex group, vitamin D, and minerals like copper, iron, phosphorus, and zinc.
- Statins present in oyster mushrooms help to lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart diseases.
- They have Beta-glucan, which has anti-viral and anti-allergic properties.
- Polysaccharides help to combat common ailments like cold and fever.
- In traditional medicinal practices, oyster mushrooms are used to treat backache, joint and limb weakness, and impotence.
The name maitake came from the story where people danced upon the discovery of these mushrooms in the wild. Nowadays, they are part of flavors and cuisines, but they are medicinal mushrooms. Maitake mushrooms have an earthy and woody flavor profile.
- Maitake mushrooms are a rich source of fibers, antioxidants, beta-glucans, amino acids, vitamins B and D, and minerals like copper, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc.
- These mushroom species are natural adaptogens – meaning they help the body to adjust with chemical, physical, and biological stress.
- Maitakes are the most abundant source of vitamin D, which helps in bone development and increases mineral metabolism.
- They have a fair amount of folic acid and B-complex, which helps to enhance immune function in your body.
- Beta-glucans help to ease blood pressure disorders and lower cholesterol.
Psilocybe cubensis are commonly known as magic mushrooms and are incredibly popular for their psychoactive properties. They are the most commonly available natural psychedelics in the world. These mushrooms are quite unpleasant in taste; hence they are often consumed as an herbal tea or concoctions in dried forms.
- The nutritional facts of Psilocybe cubensis are widely understudied; hence there is very less knowledge on them. The principal active compounds psilocybin, psilocin, baeocystin, and norbaeocystin are psychedelic in nature.
- Some research has shown psilocybin has the potential to treat a range of mental and behavioral disorders.
- Consuming mushrooms has shown it can effectively treat cluster headaches.
- Psilocybin can help you to alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- They have the potential to break various addiction cycles like smoking, alcohol, and cocaine.
Enokitake or enoki mushrooms, commonly also known as golden-caps are part of culinary medicine in Vietnam, China, Japan, and Korea. They have a very distinctive needle-like appearance and well-known for their nutritional properties. Enoki mushrooms have a fruity and sweet yet delicate flavor profile with a soft texture.
- Enoki mushrooms compose of chemical compounds as proflamin and are the richest source of vitamin B3, B5, B6, B2, and B1. Other nutritional properties include dietary fibers, potassium, phosphorus, and iron.
- The chemical compound proflamin found explicitly in the enoki mushroom, has antitumor and anticancer activity.
- Consuming enoki mushrooms can relieve hypertension and lower cholesterol.
- The antioxidants can enhance memory and learning activities in the brain.
- They have immunomodulatory properties such as anti-allergy and anti-viral activity.
Morels are the most sought and prized wild mushrooms in the world. They are not available commercially due to the difficulties in cultivation and rarity. Morel mushrooms have a unique honeycomb appearance, yet they are mistaken as false morels. These mushrooms have intense savory, earthy, and nutty flavor profiles.
- Morel mushrooms are a rich source of vitamin D2, iron, and copper. The other nutritional properties include vitamin B5, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, and B-complex.
- The presence of high iron content can treat anemia and increase the cognitive functions of the brain.
- They can alleviate symptoms of arthritis due to the anti-inflammatory properties of morels.
- Eating morels can have a positive effect on thyroid functioning.
- Vitamin D plays a vital role in bone development and can also enhance a good mood.
The bottom-line edible mushrooms are nature’s true gift to humankind. Mushrooms are a great substitute to a non-vegetarian diet due to its low calorie and high protein count. All edible mushrooms are incredibly delicious, so you won’t have to compromise with tastes and flavors too. You can swear on these mushrooms as good food and for better health.
Content by Sophia Cooper