“Finish your vegetables, they’re healthy!” every child gets told. This kind of pep talk is usually needed when it comes to spinach, chicory and Brussels sprouts but never for apple sauce or fried mushrooms. That’s a good thing because mushrooms are very healthy. They’re not only low in calories – similar to lettuce – but they also contain lots of fibre. They’re often used in diets because they help you feeling full.

Mushrooms are an important source of protein, just like meat, so they’re often chosen as a vegetarian substitute for meat. But there is more. When it comes to health and healthy eating, the mushroom is no less than a small miracle. It contains many essential minerals, such as iron, phosphor, copper, potassium and selenium (a powerful antioxidant that protects the cells from damage and is hardly ever found in vegetables). Furthermore, mushrooms contain many vitamins, such as vitamin B, C and D. Vitamin B is good for a healthy skin and helps prevent heart disease. Vitamin D, associated with strong teeth and bones in the past, turns out to do much more for our bodies: it’s important for cell division and strengthens the immune system. Mushrooms are the only non-animal source of this vitamin – good news for vegetarians.

Let food be your medicine

Recently, the influence of mushrooms on the immune system has been thoroughly researched. Mushrooms contain certain fibres called non-water soluble 1.3-1.6 beta-glucans, which are known to enhance the resistance against infection. These extraordinary fibres are not commonly found in other foodstuffs. In the almond mushroom (Agaricus Blazei Murill or Murill), very high concentrations of these fibres were found. Extensive research has shown without a doubt that the almond mushroom effectively supports and modulates the immune system. A fully functional immune system keeps harmful external influences at bay.

But there is more. Research is being conducted into the use of the almond mushroom in relation to other diseases such as viral infections and immune diseases. These studies have not been wrapped up, but it is expected that the Murill will play an important role. 

The mushrooms have interesting new production methods using modern fermentation techniques. The mycelium is not just grown on grains but also in a liquid. This liquid has turned out to be a high value ingredient, finding its way into the food industry (where it is used in bread, pasta and soup) and into animal food.  This cultivation method is contributing to preventative health care thr ough our food. It’s in line with Hippocrates’ statement to “let food be your medicine” (but in Greek, of course).

Add all this to the fact that the Dutch mushroom is one of the safest agricultural products around, thanks to the strictly controlled production processes, and every one will agree that the mushroom is indeed a champion. It’s no surprise it was officially named the fifteenth superfood.

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