Mushrooms for healthy aging
In 2001, one in eight Canadians were 65 years-of-age or older. By 2026, one in
five Canadians will have reached age 65. And by the year 2041, 9.2 million, or
one in four of us will have hit that golden age. Healthy aging is the key to optimizing
the years we have without disease or other chronic conditions that may keep us
from enjoying life to the fullest.
Eating a variety of nutritious foods for a low fat, high fiber diet, rich in
vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, is a good strategy for lowering risk of
disease and disease-related disabilities. Also, it keeps both our brains and
bodies in tip-top shape as the years pass by. Remember that healthy aging also
requires daily physical activity along with activities that exercise the brain.
In general, energy/calorie needs do get lower with aging because we have less
muscle, more body fat and many of us tend to be less active. But we still need
about the same amount of other important nutrients, including carbohydrate,
protein, fat, vitamins and minerals, to stay healthy, and don’t forget
Mushrooms are not only delicious but nutritious
Here’s how mushrooms can be a tasty part of your anti-aging diet strategy.
* Fresh mushrooms contain significant levels of l-ergothioneine, a naturally
occurring antioxidant that may also help protect the body against disease. Ergothioneine
is found in both raw and cooked mushrooms.
* Fresh mushrooms contain both soluble and insoluble fibre. Insoluble fibre
promotes regularity. Soluble fibre may help regulate blood sugar fluctuations
and lower cholesterol levels.
* Beta-glucans, a type of soluble fibre, found in Maitake mushrooms (hen-of-the-woods)
destroyed human prostatic cancers cells in a laboratory setting. They have also
been found to have potential anti-inflammatory activity, which may help protect
the body against disease.
* Fresh mushrooms are naturally very low in sodium and are a great way to
boost flavor without adding a lot of salt in pastas, salads, stir-fries and
more. A diet low in sodium can help prevent and control high blood pressure.
* A ½ cup serving of uncooked white button mushrooms is an excellent
source of selenium. Researchers in the Netherlands found that men who ate the
most selenium had a 31 per cent lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
Winning with Weight
* Fresh mushrooms are perfect for low fat diets as they have high water content,
are low in fat and contain some fibre which helps keep you feeling full.
* Being at a healthy weight is an important factor in helping to prevent or
delay many chronic diseases and disabilities. These include diabetes, heart
disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers, gout and general wear and tear
* Being at a healthy weight also makes it easier to be more active.
— Use ½ cup sliced crimini mushrooms instead of 4 oz. of sausage in
pasta sauce or on pizza. Benefit: save 158 calories, 9 g fat, 4 g of saturated
fat, 642 mg sodium
— Add 1 cup sliced white button mushrooms to egg dishes instead of ½
cup shredded cheddar. Benefit: save 213 calories, 18 g fat, 12 g saturated
fat, 353 mg sodium
— Layer ½ cup sliced grilled portabella mushrooms onto sandwiches instead
of 3 oz. salami. Benefit: save 336 calories, 30 g fat, 11 g saturated fat,
1582 mg sodium
For more mushroom nutrition information, great tips and delicious recipes
Photo ©iStockphoto.com/ George Jurasek