The cooking industry comes up with a variety of dishes and cooks them carefully. They are tasteful and healthy. Likewise, today we are going to discuss about Edible Fungi that humans can eat.
A fungus is not a plant but they do photosynthesis as they must find food like other living organisms.
A fungus has its own kind of life that distinguishes them from plants, bacteria, and animals. There are more than 70,000 species of fungi described but it is estimated to be around 1.5 million on earth.
The large fungi are called macrofungi. They are composed of branching tissue called hyphae and their cell walls are called chitin. Macrofungi turns into Mushrooms. In a Mushroom, the part under the umbrella shape is called the gills. They look like a small line-like structure. But within the gills, there are many tiny reproductive cells or spores. These spores can easily travel by wind. When the dispersed spores find a suitable habitat, they germinate and start to absorb nutrients from the habitat. They absorb moisture to grow well and this leads to the next step in growth called Mycelium. This mycelium captures the land and starts decaying the area. This will look like a spider’s web.
Mushrooms are considered to be edible fungi because they partially relate to fungi development. Many edible mushrooms can be found in supermarkets, and some of them can only be found in the deep forests.
Let us see some of the types of wild edible fungi.
Hen of the woods (Grifola Frondosa)
The species is named after the looks of the mushroom because of their leafy structure. These mushrooms can be found in abundance and they do have many medicinal values. According to a study, they stimulate immune cells and secrete more compounds that strengthen the immune system.
Chicken of the woods (Laetiporus Sulphureus)
This mushroom grows by overlapping one another and they measure around 12 inches. The top of the mushroom looks orangish-yellow in color and the bottom has yellowish-white with spores. These mushrooms contain antioxidants like chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and quercetin which help inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors.
Umbilicate Hedgehog (Hydnum Umbilicatum)
This mushroom measures between 1-2 inches on top and its color is reddish-orange or brownish orange.
Their bottom side consists of spines that look like teeth half-inch long. They can be eaten raw but they’ll be slightly bitter when raw and sweeter when cooked. They tend to grow on wet conifer wood surfaces.
Lion’s Mane (Herium Erinaceus)
This mushroom looks like the lion’s mane which looks white in color. With their hairy structure, they are pretty famous among American chefs. Researchers say that Lion’s mane may protect against dementia, reduce anxiety and depression.
Giant Puffball (Calvatia Gigantea)
This mushroom looks like a giant white color ball in the shape of a small handball. The calvatia comes from the Greek word meaning bald. They assign this name because of its neat baldness on the top of the mushroom. They grow 7 to 12 inches and they turn a little yellow when they age. This mushroom should be checked inside and if the inside is white in color, it is good for cooking. If they have black or colored inside, they are considered not edible. So check before cooking.
Health benefits of Mushrooms
The little umbrella-type edible fungi consist of many nutrients a human requires. Let’s see some of the medicinal benefits of Mushrooms.
The antioxidant in mushrooms may help in preventing lung, prostate, breast, and other types of cancer. The presence of Vitamin D in them may also help in fighting cancer. The choline antioxidant content in mushrooms helps fight by reducing cancer tissue.
Dietary fiber helps control type 2 diabetes. The little amount of dietary fiber present in mushrooms can help fight diabetes. Adding this to the diet can boost the fiber content and help reduce weight.
The fiber, potassium, and Vitamin C in mushrooms may help in cardiac health. The potassium in mushrooms can help reduce blood pressure and may reduce hypertension. Beta-glucans in mushrooms help lower blood cholesterol.
These are some of the health benefits of edible fungi that are helpful in body nutrition. People who buy mushrooms should check whether they are ok and in good shape before cooking. They should be properly cooked and people who need to try the above-mentioned mushrooms should keep one thing in mind.
People should know whether they are allergic or not. So eating a low amount of them is advised. After 48 hours of normal health and with no side effects, you can eat a normal amount of them. But always remember too much is not good for all.