Did you know that mushrooms are the only vegetable to contain vitamin D, which offers several health benefits? Mushrooms come in different types, including button, chestnut, oyster, king trumpet, lion’s mane and turkey tail, all containing a certain amount of vitamin D.
Mushrooms belong to the fungi kingdom and are one of the most enjoyed foods in the world, enjoyed especially by vegetarians and vegans. The superfood, as well as offering great taste and versatility in a number of dishes, contains rich sources of protein, fibre, vitamins and antioxidants.
Read on to find out about the incredible vitamin D properties of mushrooms.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a nutrient found in certain types of foods, such as fatty fish, egg yolks and mushrooms. Its main role is to work with calcium and phosphorus to maintain strong bones, by helping your body effectively absorb calcium.
In fresh mushrooms, ergosterol, which is a naturally occurring compound, is converted into vitamin D through a chemical reaction, when exposed to sunlight.
The nutrient contains a group of fat-soluble secosteriods that are responsible for boosting levels of magnesium and phosphate. For us humans, the most important compounds in this group are vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, and vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) that can only be ingested through certain foods.
What Are The Benefits of Vitamin D?
There are incredible health benefits that can be gained from consuming vitamin D, which can be found in mushrooms.
- According to a study, vitamin D is vital for overall health and the growth of strong bones
- Vitamin D can help maintain healthy muscle function in the body – nerves, for example, need it to carry messages between the brain and every part of the body
- Your immune system needs vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses
- Vitamin D stimulates the synthesis of calcium transport proteins, enhancing the absorption of dietary calcium and therefore reducing the risk of osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children
- Together with calcium, vitamin D has the ability to protect against some cancers and osteoporosis
- Vitamin D can help reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis and diabetes in young people, help protect against heart disease and improve lung function.
How Can I Integrate More Mushrooms in My Diet?
Due to the incredible benefits of vitamin D found in mushrooms, it is a great idea to integrate more mushrooms in your diet.
You can enjoy them raw or cooked in several dishes, including salads, wraps, soups, stir-fries and pasta dishes. However, it is best to cook them lightly or eat them raw, as you retain all their beneficial nutrients that way.
Mushrooms are the fleshy body of a fungus, which gives them a meaty texture that absorbs seasoning perfectly, making them a delicious superfood and a great addition to a variety of dishes, that can suit your personal taste and preferences!
Mushrooms can also be the perfect substitute for meat, as they offer great sources of protein, making them suitable for a plant-based diet.
Some people do not particularly enjoy the taste and texture of the vegetable. They therefore exclude mushrooms from their meals completely, despite their amazing benefits, which is a great shame!
Fortunately, mushrooms are now sold in powdered form, which is a great alternative for those who don’t enjoy them fresh. The supplement is simply dried mushrooms ground into a fine powder and you can mix and blend this powder with other ingredients or into your meals, to retain their fantastic benefits with a quick and easy method that doesn’t involve eating the ingredient raw or in your meals.
Whether you wish to eat mushrooms in their original or powdered form, begin your journey towards a healthier lifestyle today, by adding more mushrooms to your diet. Your body will thank you for all the extra vitamin D you’ll be giving it!