Mushroom and Diabetes
Mushrooms are known for their delicious flavor and fantastic health benefits. Overall, they are a great addition to your diet due to their rich profile of critical vitamins and other minerals, including soluble fiber, which helps keep blood sugar levels in check.
Hence, it’s no surprise that mushrooms are considered beneficial for diabetes, especially vegan-diet followers. Moreover, several studies look at the connection between the consumption of mushrooms and diabetes control, with the most yielding positive results.
This article provides an overview of the benefits of these fruiting fungi for diabetes and whether you should eat them as a diabetic.
- Protein 3.1 g
- Carbohydrate 3.3 g
- Fat 0.34 g
- Fiber 2.2 g
- Sugar 2 g
- Cholesterol 0 g
Nutritional Value of Mushrooms
Mushrooms come in various sizes, shapes, and colors. Despite their differences in appearance and flavor, they all have similar nutritional profiles, with low sugar and fat levels.
According to the USDA, one cup of sliced white mushrooms contains 15.4 calories, 2.28 g of carbohydrates, and 2.16 g of protein. Its protein content, alongside its decent fiber content (0.7 g per cup), makes you get full quicker, prompting you to eat less and lose weight.
In addition, fresh mushrooms have a low glycemic index (GI) of 10–15 and a low glycemic load (GL) of less than 1 per cup. This means they don't spike blood sugar levels as much as carbohydrate-rich foods (e.g., bread).
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Benefits of Mushrooms for a Diabetic
Aids Weight Loss
Mushrooms aren't typically thought of as a source of fiber, but they are. They contain beta-glucans and chitin, two types of dietary fiber that can help you feel full and reduce your appetite. They're also high in B vitamins, which aid the conversion of food into fuel and the metabolism of protein and fat.
Moreover, studies have revealed that mushrooms, when combined with exercise and other lifestyle changes, can help people lose weight. Participants in one study saw improvements in their BMI (body mass index) and belly girth alongside an almost 20% reduction in energy intake after replacing beef with mushrooms in their diet.
Promotes Blood Pressure Regulation
Mushrooms are high in potassium, a nutrient that helps to reduce the detrimental effects of salt in the body. Potassium also reduces blood vessel tension, which may help lower blood pressure.
Moreover, because mushrooms contain glutamate and ribonucleotides, they improve the flavor of recipes when used instead of salt. These chemicals give food a savory flavor without significantly affecting blood pressure or imposing a heart disease risk.
Finally, according to research, mushrooms contain eritadenine, a cholesterol-lowering chemical that helps the body reabsorb any excess cholesterol it produces. This is beneficial in preventing associated cardiovascular diseases — a prevalent diabetes complication and potential risk factor.
For diabetes patients, a robust immune system is critical now more than ever. According to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition, mushrooms offer immunity strengthening properties. Namely, adults' immunological responses improved following the regular intake of shiitake mushrooms.
The immune system boosting benefits mushrooms offer are tied to their anti-inflammatory properties. They’ve been shown to stimulate macrophages in the immune system, improving its ability to fight foreign bodies and making you less prone to major infections, according to research. This is particularly beneficial since research links high levels of inflammation biomarkers to the development of various diseases, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes, to name a few.
Research on Mushrooms and Diabetes
Mushrooms may aid the treatment of certain kinds of diabetes. Consuming a diet supplemented with vitamin-rich foods like mushrooms may offer protection against gestational diabetes. This is a groundbreaking discovery considering that this diabetes type affects about one in six childbirths worldwide.
Mushrooms may also help control blood sugar levels, thanks to their high vitamin B content. The principal bioactive chemicals in these fruiting fungi, polysaccharides, may have anti-diabetic benefits in addition to B vitamins. Namely, polysaccharides have been shown to lower blood sugar levels, improve insulin resistance, enhance lipid metabolism, and diminish pancreatic tissue damage in mice with type-2 diabetes.
Furthermore, a study published in the Journal of Functional Foods found that the regular consumption of white button mushrooms can enable them to function as a prebiotic. Namely, by boosting the microbial population in the gut, they can enhance glucose management in the liver.
UV-irradiated mushrooms could provide 50–100% of our daily vitamin D needs, according to a 2018 study from Curtin University in Australia. This is significant because around 40% of persons in the United States are vitamin D deficient — vitamin D is thought to improve the body's insulin sensitivity, thus the risk of insulin resistance, a precursor to type-2 diabetes.
How to Incorporate Mushrooms Into Your Diabetic Diet
Because mushrooms come in such a wide variety, there are many ways to add them to your diet, including the following:
- Eat mushrooms with eggs
- Use mushrooms as a topping for homemade pizza
- Toss chopped mushrooms on your salads
- Add mushrooms to pasta sauce as an ingredient
- Make a mushroom cream soup
- Add mushrooms to already cooked meat, chicken, or turkey
- Toss mushrooms with other vegetables in a stir-fry
Mushrooms have high protein content for a non-animal source, and they are safe to eat if you have diabetes and are also a vegan. They benefit diabetes management via a range of mechanisms, including the lowering of cholesterol, immunity stimulation, among others.
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