What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Mushrooms
There are so many different types of mushrooms. A member of the fungi family, and a vegetarian staple that can be incorporated into a vast assortment of dishes, it only makes sense that there's a wide variety of reactions your body can have while eating a savory fungus.
For the most part, mushrooms are an extremely healthy food to incorporate into your diet and are considered superfoods. But in some instances, mushrooms can actually be harmful. So it's always important to note where you get your favorite fungi from and how it's prepared.
Here's what you need to know, and for even more tips, check out The Single Best Way To Store Mushrooms.
Your blood glucose level could improve.
Approximately 10% of the American population has diabetes, a chronic condition that affects how your body processes food. Diabetes can be helped or prevented by having lowered blood sugar. While there are many foods that can be avoided to help increase blood sugar, like desserts and sweet tea, there are also foods, like oyster mushrooms, that can be consumed to help lower it. Putting you on the offensive in an attempt to improve blood glucose levels rather than defensive.
"Similarly, alpha- and beta-glucans in oyster mushrooms are thought to lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity, [which are] important events in the treatment and prevention of diabetes," says registered dietitian Jack Baron, RD.
Baron adds that the beta-glucans have also been found to offer up additional health benefits.
"Beta-glucans have been shown to stimulate the immune system by activating different types of immune cells responsible for attacking and slowing the growth of tumors," Baron says.
Your body becomes better at fighting illness.
When you're not feeling well, the best thing to do is take it easy—make some soup, lay in bed, and wait for your immune system to work its magic in fighting off the illness. Another way to help fight illness is by eating mushrooms, as they contain vitamins and nutrients that are helpful to your body's immune system.
"Fresh mushrooms have nutrients such as B vitamins, riboflavin, niacin, potassium, and selenium, and they are also excellent sources of three essential antioxidants, glutathione, ergothioneine, and vitamin D," says registered dietitian Pam Smith, RD, the president and founder of Shaping America's Plate, Inc. "Studies show these nutrients are important for supporting a healthy immune system by increasing the level of antiviral and other proteins in the body."
You could be poisoned.
With more than 10,000 known different types of mushrooms, it can be really exciting to try new and flavorful varieties of the fungus, but it's not always the safest thing to do, as there are multiple varieties of mushrooms that are poisonous to humans. The effects of eating a poisonous mushroom can vary, but they have resulted in dehydration, organ failure, and even death in some circumstances.
"Mushroom poisoning happens when you ingest toxic substances found naturally in some types of mushrooms," says Janet Coleman, RD, a registered dietitian and the founder of The Consumer Mag. "Even if you're an experienced mushroom hunter who has foraged for years, there is always the chance that you may come across a poisonous variety by mistake."
Your bones grow stronger.
Sure, it can be fun to collect signatures on a cast after a broken bone, but it's vastly better to not go through the pain of breaking a bone in the first place. That's why it's important to have strong bone health, and studies have shown that one of the best ways to increase bone strength is by consuming foods rich in Vitamin D, like mushrooms that are outdoor-grown.
"Outdoor-grown mushrooms flood vitamin D into your system," says registered dietitian Nataly Komova, RD, a fitness expert at JustCBD. "These mushrooms are high in ergosterol, a compound the body directly converts into vitamin D."
Komova says the best way to ensure that mushrooms from the grocery store are outdoor-grown is to check the label for a UVB mark.
You could hallucinate.
A vast majority of mushrooms are safe to eat, including mushrooms sold at grocery stores, but wild mushrooms can sometimes be questionable, as some of them can contain psilocybin. Mushrooms containing psilocybin are commonly referred to as magic mushrooms as they can result in intense hallucinations. Magic mushrooms can either be found in the wild or cultivated by growers.
"Magic mushrooms contain psilocybin, [which is] a hallucinogenic and psychoactive compound," says registered dietitian Johna Burdeos, RD. "When consumed, magic mushrooms cause dangerous and psychotic effects such as hallucinations, ataxia, irrational behavior, nausea, and vomiting."
You could look younger.
By the time you start reaching adulthood, most people have figured out a regular skincare routine to help balance out their skin and keep it looking younger and more refreshed. While skincare routines are important, another way to help your skin look younger is by eating mushrooms because of the antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients found in the fungi.
"Mushrooms are high in antioxidants, protein, minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber," Komova says. "A high concentration of antioxidants, glutathione, and ergothioneine elbows out physiological stress. As a result, signs of aging, including wrinkles, are reduced."