A Healthy Heart
Mushrooms have the Heart Tick and are part of the 5+ a Day Programme. Although they’re officially classed as fungi, mushrooms are categorised as vegetables for nutritional purposes, A diet high in vegetables leads to good all round heart health and helps reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
There are lots of ways the humble mushroom can contribute to a healthy heart:
- They contain virtually no fat and are completely cholesterol-free,
- They’re low in kilojoules and sodium,
- They’re high in potassium - which works together with low doses of sodium to help regulate blood pressure,
- They contain other important nutrients that contribute to the health of the wider circulatory system, including B vitamins - some of which help with red blood formation and maintenance as well as overall heart function.
Heart disease research
One of the major contributors to heart disease is atherogenesis, which is where plaque forms on the heart’s arterial walls, causing hardening of the arteries. In laboratory studies, button mushrooms have been shown to reduce inflammation in arterial cells and prevent white blood cells from sticking to the artery walls: promising indications of the role mushrooms may play in helping maintain a healthy heart.
Reference: Keith RM (2010). Both common and specialty mushrooms inhibit adhesion molecule expression and in vitro binding of monocytes to human aortic endothelial cells in a pro-inflammatory environment. Nutrition Journal 9:29.