Let us find out more about the possible health benefits of mushrooms and if they are safer to consume during the vital period.
Most of us prefer to add mushrooms to enrich the taste and flavor of our food. While some of us plump for the dish along with salads or as a separate combination, others like to add mushrooms as side dishes along with rice or chapattis. Mushrooms are widely popular for their enriching taste and myriad benefits and are loaded with essential nutrients. They are bundled with vitamins and minerals and make for an amazing combination with diet, be it pizzas, or mushroom risotto. Based on their macroscopic structure, mushrooms can be classified into a variety of types, however, one needs to be careful to opt for the right variety and avoid consuming them raw. If you’re pregnant and love mushrooms, you must be wondering if it safe for you and your little one.
Mushroom – What is this ‘Umbrella Shaped’ Structure?
A mushroom or toadstool is referred to as the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, normally produced above the ground, atop a soil, or at the source of its origin. Mushrooms denote the standard form as white button mushrooms or Agaricus bisporus, therefore, the term mushroom is commonly used to identify the kind of fungi (Basidiomycota, Agaricomycetes) bearing a stem (stipe), a cap (pileus), and gills (or lamellae) present on the underside of the cap. Popularly, the term denotes edible sporophores or the fruiting body, while the term toadstool indicates inedible or poisonous sporophores. Thus, mushrooms typically indicate common edible fungus present in fields and meadows. Species connected close to the kind, A. bisporus, is grown for commercial purposes. Fruity structures of some mushrooms are present in the form of arcs or rings known as fairy rings, which regenerate in the form of naturally occurring circular ring of mushrooms grown on a lawn or other such location. A fairy ring starts to develop when the mycelium (spawn) of a mushroom is likely to fall in a favourable spot and spreading out subterranean network in the shape of fine, tubular shaped threads known as hyphae. Most of us consider mushrooms to be vegetables, however, all fruits and vegetables are derived from edible plants. Plants are characterized by the presence of chlorophyll, which converts solar energy derived from sunlight into carbohydrates. But mushrooms are different from plants in the sense they do not contain chlorophyll and cannot photosynthesize or derive carbohydrates from plants. Let us have a look at the vast domain of mushrooms.
Division of Fungi into Specific Types
Fungi can be bifurcated into three specific categories based on their relationship with plants:
Saprophytes: Saprophytes are the group of living organisms that survive and feed on dead and decaying organisms. They play an important role in soil biology by breaking the complex organic material into simpler and ready to consume substances that are absorbed by plants for carrying out various metabolic functions. The category includes gourmet and medicinal mushrooms, for example, white button, crimini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms.
Parasites: A parasite is an organism that survives on another organism referred to as the host and causes it multiple harms. Parasites depend on hosts for survival, sucking vital nutrients and thriving on the host without killing them.
Mycorrhiza: The organisms develop a symbiotic relationship with the roots of trees. They derive sugars and vital nutrients from trees, but, in turn, give back essential elements, thereby, enlarging the root system of the hosts.
How Safe Is It to Consume Mushrooms During Pregnancy?
If you are the one admiring and relishing the flavor of mushrooms before the onset of pregnancy and have not experience any harmful effects and stressful symptoms, it is safe to continue the practice post pregnancy. Though it is safe to eat mushrooms during pregnancy, the essential concern remains with its place of origin and environmental conditions. The fact remains that mushroom is a spore containing fruit of a fungus found chiefly on the soil or the source of food. So, it is rather unsafe to consume mushrooms in their raw state. Moreover, mushrooms are carcinogenic. Cooking them or drying the mushrooms under suitable conditions are likely to neutralize the carcinogenic compounds and limit the harms. However, one must be careful to purchase the kind of mushrooms that are clean, fresh and lack bruising on them. It is always advisable to avoid their consumption if the body displays allergic reactions or side-effects and seek advice and medication to treat the condition immediately.
Possible Mushrooms to Avoid During Pregnancy
Highlighting possible side-effects of mushrooms and precautions to take while intake, Sweedal Trinidade, Senior Officer Dietitics (HOD), P.D. Hinduja Hospital and MRC speaking to Onlymyhealth, states, “Different food types affect individuals differently as there are possible side-effects of the fungi leading to nausea, vomiting, deposition of acids in stomach, triggering allergic reactions, etc. Try not consuming mushrooms if you have experienced these symptoms or allergic reaction before pregnancy.” As some mushrooms are unsafe to eat during pregnancy, let us know more about their types and disadvantages. So, before you consume these types, make sure to think twice as they might affect your health adversely.
Mushrooms are harder to digest if consumed raw because of their thick and tough cell walls. To consume and utilize the essential nutrients in bioavailable form for humans, most of the types of mushrooms need to be thoroughly cooked before filling your plate. Mushrooms have some carcinogenic toxic compounds which can be removed after washing and proper cooking. It is, therefore, recommended to cook mushrooms well before eating during pregnancy and otherwise.
Psilocybin mushrooms, or magic mushrooms are a group of fungi consisting of psilocybin and psilocin. Magic mushrooms and the types collected from the wild are likely to pose further problems while eating. As the mushrooms contain Psilocybin, it is known to generate hallucinations, nausea, weakness in muscles, drowsiness, and vomiting. The mushrooms trigger ataxia, resulting in weaker muscle movement for up to 6 hours post consumption. Consuming toxic mushrooms can lead to the death of an individual. Thus, wild and magic mushrooms should be avoided at all costs during pregnancy.
Mushrooms – Nutritional Facts
Mushrooms are categorized as low-calorie food that has a bunch of nutritional elements packed in them. They are loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which are an important part of any diet. Mushrooms planted in the soil receiving enough amounts of water and sunlight are a potent source of Vitamin D. Ancient Egyptians considered the kind of mushrooms, especially cremini mushrooms as a part of food variety that promoted good health and immortality and were worth being a part of diets provided to royal leaders. Cremini mushrooms are rich in zinc, a trace element. Zinc is an essential compound building immunity and ascertains good growth in infants. Mushrooms are a vital source of potassium which reduce the poor impact of sodium on your body.
A cup of sliced, raw white mushrooms consists of:
- 15 Calories
- 2.2 grams of protein
- 2.3 grams of carbohydrates, along with fibre and sugar
- Chief elements present in mushrooms include:
- Protein: Mushrooms contain a high dose of protein, with the amount varying from 20 to 30 percent.
- Fibre: Fibre helps to reduce cholesterol. A cup of chopped, raw white mushrooms are abundant with 0.7 grams of fibre
- Vitamins: Vitamin B is a notable supplement for a vegetarian diet. Vitamin D is good for bones and helps to absorb calcium in blood.
- Choline: Choline is a vital element to improve the quality of sleep and boosting up memory.
- Copper: Copper present in mushrooms sustains oxygen levels in blood and builds up red blood cells.
- Selenium: Selenium helps reduce risk of cancer.
- Potassium: Potassium regulates your blood pressure.
How Can Mushrooms Benefit You During Pregnancy?
Mushrooms have positive health indications as well as apart from enriching your diet, they also include small quantities of essential fats and carbohydrates. Mushrooms are a rich and low-calorie powerhouse of fibre, protein and antioxidants. They help minimize the risks of developing serious health illnesses in the form of Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Some mushrooms also contain essential components to boost your health during pregnancy. Some of them include:
Vitamin B Nutrients
Mushrooms consist of Vitamin B components including, riboflavin (B2), thiamine (B1), niacin (B3), and pantothenic acid (B5). The components are chiefly important for the mother and the baby. Riboflavin is considered essential for development of nerves, good eyesight, healthy skin formation, along with developing stronger bones and tissues. Niacin is useful to maintain levels of cholesterol and is vital for heart health and proper functioning of circulatory system of both the baby and the mother. Thiamine is a must for brain growth of the foetus apart from boosting energy levels and eliminating risks of fatigue, a common sign during pregnancy. The next compound, pantothenic acid helps to prevent digestive issues by aiding food metabolism.
Building Stronger Muscles and Improving Digestion
Mushrooms being an essential vegetarian diet rich in proteins, are rudimentary for the stronger build up and growth of placenta along with development of foetal support system in the womb of the mother. Mushrooms are a good source of dietary fibres, which raise metabolism and smoothens dietary motion. The presence of insoluble fibre aids in proper digestion of food and the soluble fibre helps to moderate blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Rich Source of Antioxidants and Trace Elements
Presence of antioxidants in mushrooms help to strengthen immune system and keep you free of ailments at the time of pregnancy. Mushrooms are vital sources of potassium, and zinc, vital for enhanced growth of the baby.
Common Precautions to Take While Consuming the ‘Healthy Meal’
Till we adapt to the useful diet of mushrooms and get acquainted with the safe variety of the kind of fungi to consume next, we must adhere to some general precautions to extract maximum health benefits. Some of them are as follows:
- Make sure that you purchase mushrooms which are fresh and consumed freshly.
- Avoid consuming raw mushrooms.
- Mushrooms should be healthy and free of possible bruising and decay spots
- Always wash them thoroughly and cook properly before consuming them.
It is essential to avoid eating processed mushrooms to the farthest extent possible, but if you are fond of consuming one, be aware of the portion and quantity within the range of expiry date. It is advisable to be watchful and notice common side-effects likely to arise post eating. So, wait for a while and notice how your body reacts to it. If there are any side-effects or allergic reactions, stop their consumption immediately and visit a nearby doctor. Be careful while eating medicinal mushrooms and watch your health. Likely allergies and reactions must be tackled at the very start. Pregnancy is a crucial phase, so, best avoid trying new forms of mushrooms, whether, wild or magic mushrooms, which can adversely affect your system.
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