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Which Parts Of A Mushroom Are The Most Healthy?

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Mushrooms are a delicacy. According to the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII), almost 10% of Americans consume mushrooms. The reasons for this are not far-fetched. Mushrooms are low in calories and high in nutrients. They contain various vitamins and minerals, including B-complex vitamins like riboflavin and niacin, selenium, potassium, copper, and vitamin D. Aside from consumption, they're also very medicinal.

To enjoy your mushrooms, you'll need to prepare them when they're fresh. But to avoid an unpleasant experience, you need to know precisely what part of the mushroom is edible. This article will provide you with essential insights regarding that.

Benefits Of Consuming Mushrooms

The benefits of consuming mushrooms are varied. Aside from containing top vitamins to enhance brain and memory functions, they also: 

  • Boost your immune system.
  • Improve eyesight and vision.
  • Reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity.
  • Help your body fight free radicals that can cause damage to essential cells like DNA because they are rich in antioxidants.
  • Lower your glycemic index (GI), thus, preventing your blood sugar levels from spiking abruptly.

Parts Of A Healthy Mushroom

For safety purposes, knowing what parts of the mushroom you can consume would be best to boost your immune system. Here’s a guide for your reference:

  1. The Cap Or Pileus

The cap is the most nutritious part of a mushroom. It grows above ground and is brownish with white spots on it. The cap also contains fiber, protein, and B vitamins—all good reasons to eat mushrooms. You can eat it raw or cooked—either way, its health benefits will help boost your digestion.

The cap is a good source of vitamin D, riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and pantothenic acid (B5). It contains minerals such as copper, potassium, and manganese. Selenium, which helps prevent cancer, is also present in the cap. Moreover, you can also try mushroom gummies to supply your body with essential nutrients and probiotics in a delicious and convenient format.

  1. The Stalk

The stalk is the part of a mushroom that grows from the ground. It contains many nutritional benefits, including fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals, such as riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine. It also contains essential amino acids like tryptophan and tyrosine.

Cooking makes the stalk of the mushroom edible. Its texture is similar to that of chicken when cooked with spices and other ingredients, so it's often used as a meat substitute.

  1. The Gills

The gills are the small, ridged structures that run beneath the mushroom cap. They're known to be a good source of protein and essential B vitamins, and so many varieties exist. One common type is the honeycomb pattern.

Mushrooms are healthiest when they have fresh, pale gills. They may be eaten raw or cooked, and their mild earthy flavor mixes well with other ingredients.

  1. The Stem

The stems are one of the most nutritious parts of the mushroom because they contain many vitamins and minerals. According to mushroomrevival.com and other similar sites, they're also low in calories and high in fiber. Moreover, they're better cooked than raw because they contain less water but more nutrients when prepared this way.

Mushroom stems contain many minerals, including magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. They also contain essential amino acids like tryptophan and tyrosine. However, keep in mind that while eating mushroom stems is healthy, don't do it raw, as you might get sick from the agaritine substance that develops from oxidation in these parts of mushrooms.

Types Of Mushrooms For Consumption

Some types of mushrooms are safe to eat, while others are not. Therefore, knowing the edible ones must be a priority. Here’s a list to guide you:

  • Button Mushroom

The button mushroom is a common mushroom found in supermarkets and grocery stores. They're harvested at an early stage. In addition, they're creamy in texture, with a mild flavor that makes them great for cooking.

  • Shitake Mushroom

The shitake mushroom is a wide variety of edible mushrooms. They're large, with thick stems and white caps. They have a strong flavor that goes well with other ingredients.

  • Portobello Mushroom

The portobello mushroom is a giant, dark brown mushroom that's often served as a substitute for meat. They have a meaty texture and nutty flavor, making them great for sandwiches and stir-fries.

  • Oyster Mushroom

The oyster mushroom is a small, brown mushroom with a wide, flat cap. They have a rich flavor that makes them popular in Chinese cuisine. You can find them in the produce section of most supermarkets.

  • Enoki mushrooms

Enoki mushrooms are also called golden needles and cloud ear mushrooms. They're long, thin mushrooms with a mild flavor that goes well in stir-fries and soups. They're available fresh or dried at most supermarkets.

Conclusion

Many people consume mushrooms without knowing which parts are healthy and safe. While consuming mushrooms is a good idea—you should be aware of the various components that will boost your immune system and those that can make you sick. The cap, stems, stalk, and gills of a mushroom are all healthy. So, if you've never consumed mushrooms before, try them out to experience their taste and health benefits.

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