Diabetes Self-Management Blog

I may have mentioned last week that the month of June was mostly overcast and rainy — I think we maybe had three days of sunshine. As a result of everything being wet and damp, I’ve noticed that a lot of mushrooms have sprung up on my lawn, some big, some little. It got me thinking about mushrooms and the fact that the health benefits of edible mushrooms tend to be overlooked by most people. In fact, I’d guess that most of you didn’t know that mushrooms have quite a bit to offer in terms of nutrition and health. But first, a few mushroom facts:

  • Mushrooms are a fungus, not a vegetable. They are a living organism that has no roots, seeds, or leaves.
  • Mushrooms were so revered by the ancient Egyptians that “commoners” weren’t allowed to eat them, only royalty. Other ancient cultures in Greece, China, and Mexico had rituals involving mushrooms, and mushrooms have been used for centuries for medicinal purposes.
  • Edible mushrooms were likely first cultivated in China and were brought to the U.S. in the 19th century.
  • In 1990, Congress passed the Mushroom Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act to help solidify the mushroom’s position in industry and to develop new markets and uses for this fungus. In 1993, the Mushroom Council was created and is still going strong today.
  • Pennsylvania is responsible for producing about 45% of the mushrooms grown in this country.
  • There are over 38,000 varieties of mushrooms, with more than 3,000 grown in North American alone. Some are safe and some are toxic.

Health and Nutrition Benefits
Can this rubbery little fungus really provide anything of value in terms of health? The answer is yes. Certain varieties of mushrooms may offer more than others but in general, mushrooms are:

Low in calories. For example, one cup of sliced, white mushrooms (the kind you commonly see in the grocery store) contains only 15 calories (!), 2 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of protein, and 0.2 grams of fat. Think of how much you’d have to eat to come close to gaining weight or raising your blood glucose.

Mushrooms are definitely a dieter’s delight. In fact, a study done at Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center set out to prove just that. In this study, subjects were randomly given meals with either ground beef or mushrooms in dishes such as lasagna, sloppy joes, and chili over the course of four days. The beef-fed group consumed roughly 400 more calories and 30 more grams of fat per day compared to the mushroom group. And, the people in the mushroom group reported that their meals tasted good and were filling. They also didn’t compensate for the difference in calories by eating more food later on. Data from the Third National Health and Examination Survery estimates that if you consistently substituted a 4-ounce Portabella (a type of mushroom) burger for a 4-ounce grilled hamburger over the course of a year, you’d save more than 18,000 calories and 3,000 grams of fat, equal to about 5 pounds or 30 sticks of butter.

Low in sodium. One cup of the sliced, white mushrooms mentioned earlier contains only 3 milligrams of sodium. Most of us are eating more than twice as much salt and sodium as we should (sodium is a component of salt): According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control, Americans consume, on average, about 3,500 milligrams of sodium per day. Almost 70% of Americans are in groups at especially high risk from too much sodium (such as African-Americans and those with high blood pressure) and could definitely benefit from consuming closer to 1,500 milligrams per day. There are a lot of ways to slash the sodium, but one way is to use mushrooms, especially in place of higher-sodium foods. Incorporate mushrooms into salads, use them as a snack or an appetizer, or include them in casseroles and stir-fries.

High in potassium. Potassium is needed to regulate fluid and mineral balance, prevent and control blood pressure, and make sure that the nerves and the heart function properly. Mushrooms vary in their potassium content, depending upon the variety, but generally contain between 267 and 400 milligrams per serving. The recommended daily intake for potassium is 3,500 milligrams per day for adults.

More on mushrooms next week!

POST A COMMENT       
  

Medicinal Mushrooms: Coming Out of the Dark (Part 1)
Medicinal Mushrooms: Coming Out of the Dark (Part 2)


Comments
  1. Dear Amy.

    Mushrooms are indeed wonderful food and they are low calories. Still remember as a child picking chanterelles. The white commercial mushroom not the yummiest but still better than nothing.

    Posted by CalgaryDiabetic |
  2. My son has type 1 diabetes and we are always looking for better foods for him to eat. The additional benefit to that is my wife and I eat better too! I’m glad I read this; I have never thought of mushrooms as beneficial before. It certainly makes sense now though. Now I have to find some tasty recipes so he’ll actually eat the mushrooms.

    Thank you for sharing the info.

    http://pennyforyourdebt.blogspot.com/

    Posted by Seth |
  3. As long as canned mushroom pieces can be added to ground beef in hamburgers, meatloaf and meatballs, spaghetti sauces, and lasagna, htere should be no problem increasing their use in every day cooking, saving money at the same time and lowering cho9lesterol counts - Just Do It!

    Posted by Uncle B |
  4. also the genus psylocybe is useful in treatment for alcoholism and many other psychiatric diseases. I’m sure they will fit right into a diabetics diet as well!

    Posted by Uncle Leary |
  5. I have diabetes. I have it pretty much under control.So the doctor says. I exercise most of the time.What is the most important thing to do to keep it under control. I do take a pill. I would like to get off the pill. Is it possible?

    Posted by roxene Cardinal |
  6. Hi roxene,

    There’s not necessarily one most important thing to do to keep your diabetes in control. However, people with Type 2 diabetes need to follow a healthy eating plan, exercise regularly, check their blood glucose with a meter and, often, take some type of diabetes medicine. The best way to know how your diabetes is doing is to get your A1C level checked 2–4 times a year and find out the result. For most people, the A1C level should be less than 7%. If it’s higher than that, some part of your treatment plan needs adjusting, whether it’s tweaking your meal plan, losing a little weight, or changing or adding a medicine. It may be possible to get off your diabetes medicine, but probably not if your A1C is above your target. You need to ask your doctor what your A1C is and what your goal should be.

    Posted by acampbell |

Post a Comment

Note: All comments are moderated and there may be a delay in the publication of your comment. Please be on-topic and appropriate. Do not disclose personal information. Be respectful of other posters. Only post information that is correct and true to your knowledge. When referencing information that is not based on personal experience, please provide links to your sources. All commenters are considered to be nonmedical professionals unless explicitly stated otherwise. Promotion of your own or someone else's business or competing site is not allowed: Sharing links to sites that are relevant to the topic at hand is permitted, but advertising is not. Once submitted, comments cannot be modified or deleted by their authors. Comments that don't follow the guidelines above may be deleted without warning. Such actions are at the sole discretion of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. Comments are moderated Monday through Friday by the editors of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. The moderators are employees of Madavor Media, LLC., and do not report any conflicts of interest. A privacy policy setting forth our policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of certain information relating to you and your use of this Web site can be found here. For more information, please read our Terms and Conditions.


Nutrition & Meal Planning
Test Your Nutrition Knowledge With Our Interactive Quiz! (09/15/14)
Brain Training: How You Can Learn to Like Healthy Foods (09/08/14)
Low-Carb Diet Benefits Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Health, Studies Show (09/03/14)
Nutrition for Neuropathy (09/02/14)

 

 

Disclaimer of Medical Advice: You understand that the blog posts and comments to such blog posts (whether posted by us, our agents or bloggers, or by users) do not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs. The opinions and other information contained in the blog posts and comments do not reflect the opinions or positions of the Site Proprietor.