Did you know that White Button Mushrooms make up 90% of mushroom consumption in the US? There are well over 14 thousand types of mushroom varieties and yet most of us in the US are only familiar with a handful of common edible varieties. In the Eastern countries, mushrooms have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years and some medicinal varieties, like the shiitake mushroom, have even become common in regular cooking. Research on mushrooms in the West is relatively new in comparison, but its popularity is rising due to their nutritional benefits.
Beta Glucans and Other Benefits
Edible mushrooms across the board are found to offer immune support, and are full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. However, there are three key compounds when discussing the medicinal benefits of mushrooms: beta glucans, triterpenoids, and ergosterol. Of the three, beta glucan is the most commonly known.
While beta glucans can also be found in oats, yeast, barley, and bacteria, they are polysaccharides that occur in the cell wall of certain mushrooms. Research shows that beta glucans can help balance cholesterol levels by supporting the bacteria in the gut, manage blood sugar by slowing digestion and thus sugar absorption, and aid immunity with its high antioxidant properties.
Triterpenoids and ergostol are both metabolites, which mean that they provide the body with energy to maintain its biological functions.
Edible Eastern Mushrooms
With the vast array of nutritional benefits mushrooms offer, it’s no wonder that various mushroom supplements have become increasingly common in the form of powders to even tinctures. That said, the following are some mushrooms that you can incorporate into your cooking.
Shiitake Mushrooms have a rich, earthy, and distinct flavor and while they are medicinal, they’re commonly used in East Asian cuisine. They’ve been proven to reduce cholesterol levels and control blood sugar levels.
Shimeji Mushrooms, also known as Beech Mushrooms, are slightly nutty but bitter when raw. When cooked, the brown ones have a more “mushroomy” taste while the white variety will taste sweeter. They’re great in stir-fries, and are high in dietary fiber, Vitamin B, and zinc.
Maitake Mushrooms, also known as Hen-of-the-woods, have a strong earthy and peppery flavor. They are rich in antioxidants, beta glucan, and Vitamins B and C.
Oyster Mushrooms are savory and mild tasting but they can have a very meaty texture. They are great for lowering blood pressure, regulating cholesterol, and contain lots of Vitamin D.
Enoki Mushrooms have a delicate, savory flavor and a crisp texture that go great in pasta and stir-fries. They are high in calcium and potassium, and can help balance sugar levels and promote metabolism.
Supplementing with Beta Glucan
Glucan Elite by Pro Formulations is formulated using BGF-Immune by NutriScience, which has been scientifically been proven to be the most effective Beta Glucan available on the market.
Learn more about Glucan Elite here.
Learn more about supplementing with Beta Glucan here.