Crimini mushrooms are a nutrition powerhouse with the potential to ward off disease. Mushrooms of the crimini variety are small, button-shaped, earthy tasting, rich brown mushrooms that are also called “baby bellas” because they are mini-Portabellas. An impressive group of minerals, vitamins and other ingredients are packed into each three- to four-calorie mushroom. It’s not surprising that nutritionists highly recommend that you add crimini mushrooms when planning your next meal. What’s in this nutrition powerhouse, exactly? Here are four great reasons to eat crimini mushrooms.
Minerals and Vitamins
Mushrooms are low in carbohydrates, calories, and sodium and are cholesterol- and fat-free. When you choose crimini mushrooms, you get all those dietary benefits plus more. Crimini mushrooms are an excellent source of selenium, which helps to fight cancer. Other minerals in crimini mushrooms are copper, potassium, phosphorus and zinc. Potassium is the mineral best known for bringing down your blood pressure and reducing your risk of stroke. Compared to the potassium value in white mushrooms, which yield only 315 mg of potassium, five medium creminis have 383 mg. One serving of crimini mushrooms provides a healthy dose of copper, which, like potassium, protects heart function. Crimini mushrooms are also a good source of B vitamins (vitamin B1, vitamin B2, B3 and B5), pantothenic acid and niacin.
Foods that have niacin are especially interesting to scientists who are studying the onset of Alzhiemer’s disease. They’ve found that the niacin in vitamin pills do not measure up to the same protective power that is found in niacin-rich foods. Another finding is that niacin-rich foods like crimini mushrooms can interrupt the work of an amino acid, homocysteine, which is thought to trigger heart attacks and strokes.
Another healthy ingredient in these mushrooms is tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid. Nutritionists often advise that care should be taken to select foods that have this amino acid as part of a regular eating plan. Tryptophan affects the neurotransmitter serotonin. Tryptophan is also needed to create vitamin B3. The word “essential” amino acid really fits, as this is the component that allows you to control your sleep patterns and mood swings.
Researchers have identified something called CLA (conjugated-linoleic acid) in crimini mushrooms. CLA is said to help ward off the growth of breast cancer cells. CLA in mushrooms lowers estrogen in the body, which may help to prevent cancer. Studies evaluating the mushrooms say that the mushrooms inhibit an enzyme, aromatase, which otherwise would help the body to make estrogen.
Other researchers investigating crimini mushrooms have found still more evidence of anti-cancer properties. Along with the effect of CLA on breast cancer cells, researchers suggest that these mushrooms may improve the body’s immune system overall and may block the onset of tumors.