The Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Mushrooms may be yet another delicious superfood to add to the list of foods that have been scientifically proven to have powerful disease-fighting properties. A number of foods, such as fish, nuts, soy, wine, and bananas can help you enrich your diet for easy stroke prevention. Mushrooms are unique, however, because they have so many identified stroke fighting actions that they can battle stroke from many different directions. Find out more about how mushrooms work to help reduce your stroke risk.

Assorted fresh mushrooms on a wooden table

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Can Lower Your Cholesterol

Mushrooms have been credited with lowering cholesterol. Unlike most hearty, satisfying foods, mushrooms do not contain cholesterol. Cholesterol builds up in the body is one of the leading causes of stroke because high blood cholesterol levels increase the likelihood of dangerous blood clot formation, which can form in the brain or travel from the heart to block blood vessels in the brain, resulting in a stroke.

Have Antioxidant Properties

Mushrooms have been shown to have antioxidant properties. Toxic damage during a stroke triggers a harmful cascade of chemical events that destroys brain cells. Antioxidants can help reduce that damage. Most importantly, many people suffer from small mini-strokes or from silent strokes, which can add up to produce serious long-term problems such as dementia. Silent strokes are exactly what they sound like- quiet, invisible strokes that people have without even realizing it. Anti-oxidants can reduce the damage of silent strokes by combating the effects of brain ischemia.

Natural Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Inflammation plays a role in injuring blood vessels, leading to cerebrovascular disease and heart disease, and increasing the body’s harmful blood-clotting tendency. Inflammation also exacerbates the neurotoxic damage of a stroke. Mushrooms have anti-inflammatory effects that are not as potent as the anti-inflammatory effects of pharmaceutically produced medications such as aspirin. The moderate anti-inflammatory action of mushrooms is a valuable stroke prevention tool because all anti-inflammatory medications have side effects and thus may not be safe for everyone, while mushrooms provide safe and natural anti-inflammatory action.

A Low Salt Food

Mushrooms are inherently low in salt content. Hypertension is one of the major contributing causes of stroke. Excess salt has been shown to contribute to hypertension, and low salt foods have been proven to help prevent exacerbation of hypertension. Some people are more prone to high blood pressure than others and must restrict their salt intake. There are a number of ways to lower salt in your diet and using tasty, low salt ingredients such as mushrooms is one of the most effective methods.

High in Potassium

Potassium has recently been scientifically proven to decrease the risk of stroke, especially for women. Most people do not get enough potassium in their diets, so it is great to keep an eye out for foods rich in this valuable mineral.

Not Harmful to You

Many of the foods, drinks, and vitamins that have been proven to help prevent stroke have also been noted to possibly cause harmful effects to the body in high doses.

Mushrooms and French Food

Incidentally, mushrooms are known as a staple in French cuisine. France is a country with an exceptionally low stroke rate, and one of the explanations is that the French diet, which happens to frequently incorporate mushrooms, is one of the contributing factors for the low French stroke rate.

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By Heidi Moawad, MD
Heidi Moawad is a neurologist and expert in the field of brain health and neurological disorders. Dr. Moawad regularly writes and edits health and career content for medical books and publications.