Are Mushrooms Healthy? And are they good enough to eat, although they belong to the fungi family?
A mushroom is the fruit of a fungus. It contains spores, which are similar to seeds. The shape of the ‘shroom releases the spores into the wind so they can grow more fungus elsewhere. For centuries, people have used mushrooms to enhance flavor and to get a little extra protein.
These fungi are especially great for vegans who may otherwise miss out on certain vitamins.
Are Mushrooms Healthy – Fungi vs Plants
So, just what is a fungus? Fungi are a type of living organism that fall in the category of decomposers. While they might look like plants, they’re not. They cannot use sunlight to make their own food. Instead, they crawl and spread in the soil, consuming the bodies of dead plants and animals. Without fungi, our world would be covered with the dead carcasses of every animal and plant that ever lived! Decomposing might seem like a gross and gooey job (it is), but it’s also critical to the recycling of nutrients on planet Earth.
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Because fungi aren’t animals, they’re lower in fat. This means they’re a high-protein, but low-calorie food. Some mushrooms, such as shiitake mushrooms are loaded with vitamin B12, a nutrient that is commonly missing from the diet of vegans. Usually, you can only get B12 from animal products, so vegans must be careful to take B12 supplements. However, eating a diet rich in shiitake mushrooms can also help with the deficiency.
Mushrooms are also high in antioxidants, which makes them great cancer-fighting foods. They’re especially rich in vitamin C, selenium, and choline. Like plants, fungi have cell walls, which means they have a higher fiber content than animal products. Given all these health benefits, it’s no wonder that Buddhist monks, who follow a strict vegan diet, load their dishes with all different types of mushrooms!
Give It A Try!
Whether you’re looking to cut back on meat or to eat a more varied diet, mushrooms are a great way to start a new culinary journey. Today, people are open to experimenting with mushrooms, making everything from burgers to stews with them. Give it a try and see what delicious meal you can make from these decomposers.
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