Mushrooms – food for beauty
This beauty food is neither meat nor vegetable. It’s fat free, gluten free, and very low in sodium and cholesterol. It is delicious raw, boiled, fried, grilled, sautéed, roasted or marinated. And it has a hat! Can you guess what we are talking about? You are right! Mushrooms.
From the time immemorial, mushrooms have been traditionally used by Japanese and Russian women for their overall health and beauty. In each woman lives the image of a forest witch who collects secret wild mushrooms and prepares a special magical mix for irresistible beauty.
Mushrooms are very mysterious creatures. They can heal, they can kill, and they can make you high. What makes them so magical is their content.
Why mushrooms are so beneficial for your health and beauty
These enigmatic creatures hide a lot of secret health and beauty ingredients for your overall health and natural glow.
100 Grams of mushrooms contain:
- 20% and more of the Daily Value (DV) of B vitamins
- 37% DV of selenium: The selenium content in mushrooms depends on the selenium content in the soil the mushrooms are grown in. This trace element is a powerful antioxidant helping us to reduce cognitive decline as we age and our selenium concentrations decrease.
- 25% DV of copper: Together with iron, copper enables the body to form red blood cells. It helps maintain healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves, and immune function, and it contributes to iron absorption. Sufficient copper in the diet may help prevent cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, too.
- 10-19% DV of phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, magnesium, sodium, calcium, chlorine, vitamins A, C, D, and PP.
All vitamins and macro and micro elements are wisely balanced providing all their beauty benefits.
Mushrooms are also very rich in:
- Polysaccharides β-glucans: Countless clinical trials show that beta-glucan has significant antimicrobial (stops the growth of microorganisms), anticancer, and anti-diabetic properties. It also controls cholesterol levels in our body.
- Enzymes that accelerate the breakdown of nutrients contributing to better absorption of food
- Ergothioneine and glutathione -two unique super powerful antioxidants
- Chitin, the main structural component of the fungal cell, is an excellent natural absorbent (meaning cleansing agent) – it absorbs toxins several times more actively than activated carbon.
- Unique acids to rejuvenate your hair and activate metabolic processes in your skin – agaric, oxalic, acetic, formic, vanillic, lilac, p-hydroxybenzoic, and triterpenic.
- Natural powerful analogues of hyaluronic acid with a strong anti-aging effect – xanthine, betaine, and choline.
- Kojic acid: Some mushrooms are rich in kojic acid – a compound that naturally brightens the skin and prevents melanin pigment forming.
Mushrooms are packed with two unique components ergothioneine and glutathione
Ergothioneine is a sulfur-containing amino acid that acts as an antioxidant and has a unique role in the protection of cell’s mitochondria from oxidation. Ergothioneine is used as medicine for liver damage, cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and heart disease. Sometimes ergothioneine is applied directly to the skin to prevent wrinkles and signs of aging skin.
Our body cannot produce it so it can only be obtained from our diet with mushrooms being a top source of it. Depending on the variety, one serving of mushrooms can contain 2.4 to 4.9mg of ergothioneine. Mushrooms that contain the highest amounts of ergothioneine include Boletus edulis, oyster, and shiitake.
Made from the amino acids glycine, cysteine, and glutamic acid, glutathione is a powerful antioxidant. It prevents damage to important cellular components caused by reactive oxygen species such as free radicals, peroxides, and heavy metals. Glutathione is produced by the liver and involved in many body processes such as tissue building and repairing, making chemicals and proteins needed in the body, strengthening the immune system. Often, direct supplementation of glutathione is not successful and has to be obtained from foods.
Boletus edulis is the king of the mushroom kingdom
Called “white” in Russia, “porcini” in Italy, “penny bun” in England, “noble” in Austria, or “squirrel’s bread” in Denmark, Boletus edulis is the king of the mushroom kingdom. Widely distributed in Russia, it does not occur naturally in the Southern Hemisphere.
There is more protein in a kilogram of white mushrooms than in a piece of beef of the same weight. However, the bioavailability of the protein in mushrooms is about 50% lower than in meat because of its association with choline. Boletus edulis has the highest concentrations of both ergothioneine and glutathione.
Prized as an ingredient in various culinary dishes, Boletus edulis is held in high regard in Russian kitchen. The mushroom is low in fat and digestible carbohydrates, and high in protein, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. Although it is sold commercially, it is very difficult to cultivate. Available fresh in autumn throughout Russia, it is collected then dried or frozen, packaged and distributed worldwide. It keeps its flavour after drying or freezing, and it is then reconstituted and used in cooking. By the way, cooking does not destroy glutathione or ergothioneine.
Most popular mushrooms used by Japanese beauties
Here are some of the most popular mushrooms used in the Japanese cuisine for health and beauty:
- Shiitake are one the most popular mushrooms in Japanese cooking, a staple of Japanese cuisine, and is also well known outside of Japan. They are available fresh or dried, with the latter being soaked in water before being used. Shiitake mushrooms can be found in various dishes such as hot pot, boiled dishes and tempura.
- Oyster mushrooms are very popular in Japan. Their thick, meaty stems are usually sliced and incorporated into sauteed or grilled dishes.
- Maitake mushrooms are another very popular mushroom in Japanese cuisine. They grow in large colonies and are sometimes referred to as the king of mushrooms.
- Matsutake are highly priced gourmet mushrooms that cannot be cultivated and are available only in autumn. They are found under pine trees (matsu), and are most valuable when picked just before surfacing with the umbrella still closed. Matsutake are enjoyed in various ways such as grilled or cooked with rice.
- Enoki is a cultivated mushroom with a crunchy texture that is often used in hot pot dishes.
If you don’t use mushrooms in your routine diet, you are missing one of the best foods for your overall health and inside out beauty.