Mushroom is considered to be a complete, health food and suitable for all age groups, child to aged people. The nutritional value of mushroom is affected by numerous factors such as species, stage of development and environmental conditions. Mushrooms are rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. The digestible carbohydrate profile of mushroom includes starches, pentoses, hexoses, disaccharides, amino sugars, sugar alcohols and sugar acids. The total carbohydrate content in mushroom varied from 26-82% on dry weight basis in different mushrooms. The crude fibre composition of the mushroom consists of partially digestible polysaccharides and chitin.
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Edible mushrooms commonly have insignificant lipid level with higher proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids. All these resulted in low calorific yield from mushroom foods. Mushrooms do not have cholesterol. Instead, they have ergosterol that acts as a precursor for Vit-D synthesis in human body. The protein content of edible mushrooms is usually high, but varies greatly. The crude protein content of mushrooms varied from 12 - 35% depending upon the species
Since thousands of years, edible fungi have been revered for their immense health benefits and extensively used in folk medicine. Specific biochemical compounds in mushrooms are responsible for improving human health in many ways. These bioactive compounds include polysaccharides, tri-terpenoids, low molecular weight proteins, glycoprotins and immunomodulating compounds. Hence mushrooms have been shown to promote immune function; boost health; lower the risk of cancer; inhibit tumor growth; help balancing blood sugar; ward off viruses, bacteria, and fungi; reduce inflammation; and support the body's detoxification mechanisms. Increasing recognition of mushrooms in complementing conventional medicines is also well known for fighting many diseases.
The edible mushrooms have little fat with higher proportion of unsaturated fatty acids and absence of cholesterol and consequently it is the relevant choice for heart patients and treating cardiovascular diseases. Minimal sodium with rich potassium in mushroom enhances salt balance and maintaining blood circulation in human. Hence, mushrooms are suitable for people suffering from high blood pressure.
The diabetic patients choose mushroom as an ideal food due to its low calorific value, no starch, and little fat and sugars. The lean proteins present in mushrooms help to burn cholesterol in the body. Thus it is most preferable food for people striving to shed their extra weight.
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