This is why you should eat more mushrooms.

Mushrooms are quite a divisive (but delicious) ingredient, but could they also be the key to your skin troubles and anti-aging woes? Research has shown that this may not be a total bunch of shiitake.

Spongy Benefits

Mushrooms are a fungus that grows the whole word over and because of this there are nearly 150,000 different known species of mushroom; with some of the most popular and famous being shiitake, oyster, enoki, and cloud. If you've ever touched one, you'll know they have a slightly squishy, spongy texture. But could they also bring the same spongy benefits to your skin?

Mushrooms have been used in topical treatments for years. They are well known to contain antioxidants, along with other compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties - meaning they are very effective at treating skin problems caused by inflammation and excessive free radical activity. These anti-inflammatory properties also help encourage faster skin replenishment and increase the elasticity of the skin.

Several mushroom varieties also contain kojic acid, which is a renowned skin lightener - as well as a useful natural alternative to some dangerous, and potentially cancerous, chemical skin lighteners, such as hydroquinone. Kojic acid can also help fade sunspots and acne scars.

Is that it?

Not quite. Mushrooms are also high in vitamin B - which is key for a normal metabolism, as well as helping reduce tiredness and fatigue. Vitamin B plays an important role in helping convert food into energy and certain types of mushroom, such as shiitake, are very vitamin B rich - which can be a great alternative for vegetarians who often struggle to find B12 in other vegetarian foods.

As well as this, mushrooms are also a great source of calcium and are less than 100 calories per cup.

It doesn't stop there!

Mushrooms are also one of the few foods that have vitamin D - an essential vitamin lots of us lack, especially in the cold British winters. Vitamin D is necessary for healthy bones and a strong immune system.

Catalina Fernandez de Ana Portela, a Fungal Biologist, said: "Mushrooms have excellent healing properties and are strong enhancers of the human immune system, which help protect the body against a large variety of diseases and health issues."

But what about the texture?

Although mushrooms can be enjoyed raw, some of us have an issue with the texture. However, unlike other foods, the antioxidants that mushrooms contain are not destroyed or deactivated when the mushrooms are cooked. Dried varieties are still rich in amino acids, such as glutamate - which is responsible for their rich savoury taste.

With all these health benefits, why wouldn't you want to eat more mushrooms?

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