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May 27

Mushroom Nutrition And Mushroom Medicinal Benefits

The description of a mushroom is a “fruiting body of fungus plant containing spore generally appearing above ground”. This is the body which is typically eaten. The mushroom reproduction system uses spores similar to how other plants use seeds for reproduction. Mushrooms do not contain a root system and they do not have chlorophyll.

Mushrooms are fungi they are not plants. They also require very different growing conditions than plants require. Photosynthesis, a process where carbohydrates notably cellulose is converted from atmospheric carbon dioxide. Sunlight serves as the source of energy for plants and mushrooms receive their energy from the process of biochemical decomposition of the growth medium.

Light plays a part in the fruiting aspect of some mushrooms but growth is directly provided in the medium
So how do fungi obtain nutrition? They have a fine network of small microscope threads referred to as mycelium, which can cover a lot of distance over a medium such as soil, rotting wood or manure.

Characteristics of Fungi are more similar to yeasts and molds than of vegetable plant life. Mushrooms are part of the plant kingdom technically but by their make up and nature are very different.

How does a mushroom obtain nutrition from organic material? This is obtained in three different ways. They obtain nutrients by living on dead tissue of manure or living trees and also on dead wood.
They also attack living tissues or plants and obtain nutrients as a parasite. The third way they obtain nutrients is through a plant symbiotic relationship known as mycorrhizae.

Nutrition
Edible mushrooms have comparable nutrition of most vegetables. They contain generally the following nutrients:
*B Vitamins
*Choline
*Vitamin A
*Vitamin D
*Vitamin K
*Potassium
*Linoleic acid
*Folate
*Copper
*Iron
*Other elements in trace amounts.

Some types are high in protein. Mushrooms have few calories before being cooked in butter. They have a low fat content and are approximately 90% water.

Mushrooms are one food that actually provides more nutrition when cooked by improving the digestibility of the mushroom. If you overcook the mushrooms then the nutrition value is decreased.

Medicinal Value
Not only do mushrooms have nutrition value but they also have valuable medicinal value. One of the greatest medicinal values of mushrooms is the essential sugars they provide. These sugars give the immune system a boost.
Penicillin may have been discovered in bread mold but other natural antibiotic substances are contained in many mushrooms.

The Shiitake, Reishi, and Maitake mushrooms all have similar properties:
* Essential sugar which benefits the immune system
* Supports cardiovascular health
* Research underway regarding properties of cancer reducing benefit

Maitake mushrooms have been used to treat intestinal and stomach conditions and also as a blood sugar level stabilizer. Shiitake has been used in the treatment of nutritional deficiencies and to treat liver conditions. Reishit has been utilized to improve respiratory health.

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