What has lots of nutrition, including protein, can be used in facials, brewed as tea, strewn on pasta, blended into smoothies, eaten alone, and used as medicine? You guessed it: MUSHROOMS. Yes, these versatile, wonderful living things that they are!
It is almost incredible to think that mushrooms, members of the Kingdom Fungi, can be so tasty, interesting looking, distinctive in smell, have 14 thousand species with several thousand edible, be so diversely nutritious and have considerable medicinal properties.
RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCES (RDAs)
The Institute of Medicine (IoM) is part of the National Academy of Sciences, which is non-governmental, commissioned with setting the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) that we all use as some measure of correctness, for nutritional values, even though we rarely question what criteria is tested and by whom. According to one of the editors of these measurements, Professor Robert Reynolds, formerly of University of Chicago, the system has many flaws because a small amount of money is allotted to studying this information.
Roberts says that only half of us fall into the “average” category for Recommended Daily Allowances, and we have to eliminate the top 3% healthiest people to boot. Benefits of using shrooms The measure does not apply if we are sick, if we are overweight, if we are over 60, if we are stressed, if we take medication, if we smoke, if we eat refined and processed, unhealthy food that does not consist of 2,000 calories a day.
Makes me wonder how much it would cost to coordinate a redo of the RDA program using already existing research data with values for all the people the current system leaves out. Studies are massively expensive when done from scratch, so using secondary data would cut the costs.
The current Recommended Daily Allowances use sparse and outdated data, in many cases. But it is still useful.
The nutritional information that we see on packaging in the United States is accurate for healthy people who eat right, don’t smoke, don’t weigh too much and don’t get stressed out. And these values, themselves are increased by about 25% as a buffer for the nutrition lost in cooking.
The following nutrients make white mushrooms quite valuable and unique. The numbers in parentheses represent percentage of daily needs in an average person.
B Vitamins, aside from all their other benefits, are being looked at to reduce ADHD and slow Alzheimer’s.
Thiamin(e), B1, helps metabolize sugars and amino acids. (4%)
Riboflavin, B2 metabolizes carbs into energy. (17%)
Niacin, B3, increases the level of high density lipids (HDL), the good cholesterol, in the blood. (13%)
Pantothenic Acid, B5, turns carbs and fats into usable energy and assures healthy fats in cells. (10%)
Pyridoxine, B6, balances sodium (Na) and potassium (K). (4%)
Folic Acid, B9, is needed for DNA synthesis and repair and for cell growth. (3%)
Choline helps in cell membrane synthesis.
Betaine regulates fluid movement across cell membranes (osmosis), assists in membrane work and neurotransmission of acetylcholine.
Omega-6 Fatty Acid is one of the 2 essential fatty acids required for cellular processes and must be in balance with Omega-3 Fatty Acids to keep inflammation down and cell function up. Both are essential and must be consumed. Therefore, get those walnuts and flax seeds to balance with Omega-3s.
Copper assists with iron uptake and cell metabolism. It also protects our cardiovascular system. (11%)
Phosphorus forms part of the structure of living molecules (DNA,RNA). (6%)
Potassium helps the body process sodium. It is also important in preventing muscles from contracting. You’ve heard someone recommend that you go eat some dried apricots or a fig if you have leg cramps, right? They’re high in potassium. (6%)
Selenium helps with cell function.
Vitamin D, which is produced by changing a sterol, ergosterol, into Vitamin D2, with ultraviolets present in the sun. (This is similar to the way we get vitamin D from the sun, except that we use 7-hydrocholesterol and synthesize Vitamin D3. (3%, which may be higher if the mushrooms were exposed to ultraviolet light)
Mushrooms also contain 2% of the RDA for Vitamin C, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese and Zinc.
Mushrooms are about 15 calories for a cup, with 2 grams of protein and 2 grams of carbs, with only 1 counting since 1 of those grams is total indigestible fiber that helps with digestion and does not turn to glucose before it gets to the colon.