Mushrooms aren’t just great on pizza, in salads and even in soups. They can actually improve your health, too.
In fact, they can even help you lose weight.
It sounds far-fetched, but it’s absolutely true. Mushrooms are full of fat-burning benefits that can help you lose weight, slim down and feel great.
According to a study by the Weight Management Center at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, people who swapped white-button mushrooms for red meat saw huge improvements. Over the course of just one year, they consumed 123 fewer calories per day and lost an average of seven pounds more than non-mushroom eaters.
Those are some pretty undeniable stats, if you ask me!
How Mushrooms Do it
Are you currently trying to lose weight or get ready for bikini season? Then you may want to consider making mushrooms a daily habit.
Mushrooms can have some powerful weight loss effects that just can’t be denied. And when you’re trying to slim down, every little bit helps, right?
Here are just a few of the ways mushrooms can help you on your weight loss journey:
- They regulate blood sugar – Mushrooms are full of antioxidants and phytonutrients, which combine to level blood sugars in the body. Stabilizing these levels is crucial for weight loss. When blood sugar levels are off, it allows excess glucose to be turned into fat – fat that accumulates on your hips, thighs and all over your body. Stable blood sugar is also crucial to staving off cravings, which could lead to overeating and too much calorie consumption.
- They improve stamina – These same two elements have also been proven to increase stamina, which means you can exercise harder and longer, and burn more calories in the long-term. Researchers say your best bet is to eat a handful about 30 minutes before your workout. This will give you the boost you need to get a great sweat session in.
- They’re low on the glycemic index scale – Mushrooms are very low on the GI scale, meaning it takes your body a while to digest them and process them as energy. This benefits you two-fold: first, it keeps you fuller longer, thereby keeping hunger pangs and cravings at bay. Second, it also keeps your digestive system healthy, a crucial component of weight loss.
- They’re high in nutrients – When you’re losing weight, it’s vital you’re getting the proper nutrients and vitamins to fuel your body and keep your metabolism up. Mushrooms help provide these nutrients, with high levels of niacin, selenium, riboflavin, biotin, vitamin D, folate, vitamin B12, potassium, phosphorus and more.
- They’re low calorie – Mushrooms are filling, delicious foods that don’t come with a lot of calories. In fact, there are only a mere 44 calories in each cup! That means you can eat a big serving without overloading your body or bogging down your metabolism.
But weight loss isn’t the only arena mushrooms can lend a hand in. They can actually improve your health in dozens of other ways, too. They can lower risk of stroke and heart attack, they can stave off bone loss and kidney stones, they can boost your immune system, and they can even help diabetes and cancer sufferers.
Ways to Work Mushrooms into Your Diet
One simple way to work mushrooms into your menu plan is to simply sub them in for meats. Instead of a burger patty, use a large Portobello mushroom cap. Rather than make beef meatballs for your spaghetti, create a quinoa-mushroom meatball instead. Find ways to swap mushrooms into as many meals as you can.
You can also use mushrooms to garnish your foods. You can add them to salad, soups and sandwiches, you can toss them on your homemade pizzas, or you can even put them in pastas and casseroles.
Mushrooms make a great snack, too. Just toss them in a little olive oil and sea salt, roast in the oven for about 10 minutes, and you’ve got a delicious, fast and easy finger food on your hands. Be careful not to overcook them, or they’ll have a rubbery, gelatinous feel – not very appetizing in my opinion!
Remember, mushrooms are porous, so avoid washing them if you don’t want them waterlogged. Wipe them down with a damp towel, and don’t cut them until you’re ready to use or cook them. This will help preserve their crunch as long as possible.
More on Mushrooms
Unlike most vegetables, mushrooms are actually more nutritious when cooked, so try to avoid eating raw ones if at all possible. In general, the best types to consume are white button, crimini, enoki, shitake, pine, straw and maitake mushrooms.
Make sure you choose your mushrooms carefully. Avoid ones with dark brown spots or long, woody stems, and never eat mushrooms from the wild without first identifying what they are. Many varieties of mushrooms are poisonous and are not safe to consume.
What are your favorite ways to eat mushrooms? Share your best recipes with me in the comments.