The consumption of antioxidant-rich vegetables is widely encouraged for the prevention of chronic diseases. Some, however, may confer greater benefits than others due to their unique nutritional profiles. Among the most beneficial for the treatment of high cholesterol and blood glucose may be white button mushrooms, according to various studies.
Mushrooms have generated a lot of interest in medical circles for their potential role in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases.
Evidence is emerging that certain fungi may also benefit the cardiovascular system by controlling cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
According to early reports in the journal Nutrition Research, white button mushrooms are an excellent source of dietary fibre and antioxidants.
Many of the mushroom’s benefits are owed to its unique nutritional profile, which comprises vitamins C, D and B12.
To elucidate these benefits, researchers in 2010 fed a powdered version of the mushroom to rats fed a high-cholesterol diet.
Diabetic rats who consumed the supplement for three weeks had “significantly reduced plasma and blood glucose and triglycerides concentrations”, according to the scientists.
The findings, blood sugar levels dropped by 24.7 percent and 39.1 percent over the three-week period.
Published in the journal of Nutrition Research, the results also revealed a drop in liver enzyme activities and liver weight gain, suggesting a preventative role in fatty liver disease.
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In rodents with high cholesterol, there was a “significant decrease in plasma total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein” after four weeks of consuming the powder.
The researchers also observed a “decrease in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein and triglyceride concentrations […] accompanied by a significant increase in plasma high-density lipoprotein concentrations”.
They added: “It was concluded that a [white button] mushroom has both hypoglycaemic and hypolipidemic activities in rats.”
According to the Mushroom Council, white button mushrooms represent about 90 percent of the mushrooms consumed in the United States.
“A fascinating fact about the white bottom mushroom is that it’s the same mushroom as the criminology or brown mushroom, as well as the portobello,” explains the council.
The difference is simply their age. The brown criminology and the large, brown portobello are a more mature version of the very same mushroom.
Though the cholesterol-lowering effects of white button mushrooms are hard to match, UCLA suggested last year that other candidates exist.
“Research shows that shiitake mushrooms, in particular, help to keep cholesterol levels low,” explains the health body.
It adds: “They contain compounds that inhibit the production of cholesterol, block cholesterol from being absorbed and lower the overall amount of cholesterol in your blood.”
Research continues to provide evidence of the protective effects of these mushrooms against cognitive decline.
In one Singaporean study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease in 2019, participants who ate two cups of mushrooms a week had a 50 percent lower risk of mild cognitive decline.
The mushrooms consumed by volunteers partaking in the study were golden, oyster, shiitake and white button mushrooms.
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