“Nutritional powerhouse” mushrooms deserve superfood status: Euromonitor

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Shiitake: Fulfilling its cardiovascular potential? Not really, says Euromonitor
Shiitake: Fulfilling its cardiovascular potential? Not really, says Euromonitor

Related tags Vitamin d Vitamin

Mushrooms like the shiitake need to ramp up their marketing potential if they are to take a greater and deserved slice of the €8bn+ global cardiovascular market, according to Euromonitor International.

“Shiitake mushrooms' ability to lower cholesterol, which has been confirmed by numerous studies, for instance, remains virtually unknown, even among the growing consumer base on the look-out for heart-healthy products,”​ said analyst Emily Woon.

“The shiitake mushroom, however, which is just as worthy an occupant as olive oil and oats in the realm of heart-healthy superfoods, remains seriously underrated because of a lack of targeted promotion on the cardiovascular health positioning platform.”

Eurominotor’s mini-sector analysis noted other mushrooms containing nutrients such as B vitamins, folic acid, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin D and fibre were also being undersold on their potential health benefits.

Immunity, weight management, bone health

Immunity, weight management and bone health were other health and wellness platforms where mushrooms and their extracts could play an expanded role, Woon said. "Mushrooms, the fruiting bodies of fungi, are nutritional powerhouses," ​she commented.

In the US, UV-light blasted mushrooms had increased their vitamin D content eight-fold and could present a non-dairy vitamin D source with a bone health platform.

Due to their meat-like constituency, mushrooms have potential to replace meats for those seeking to reduce calorie and fat intakes.

“This means that mushrooms do not have to be relegated to acting as a bland, low-calorie filler in composite meals but can star as a satisfying main ingredient in their own right.”

Mushroom extracts also have the ability to, “modulate the function of the human immune system”,​ observed Woon, noting a growing body of science in that area and the potential to offer pre- and probiotic alternatives.

“Persuading consumers in some markets, such as the US for example, that ingesting live bacteria is beneficial to health has been no small feat, and getting the message across has required considerable investment,” ​she said.

“Mushroom-based ingredients, on the other hand, should be far less controversial to market.”

She said the number of functional ingredients available from mushrooms was, “enormous, with applications in virtually all areas of human health.”

She added: “There are plenty of scientific studies attesting to fungi's health-giving attributes, including antibacterial, antiviral, antithrombotic and even some anticarcinogenic properties.”

“Therefore, the concept that fungi can serve as a source of potent functional ingredients, some of which are suitable for imbuing foods and beverages with added health benefits, does not require a strenuous leap of consumers' imagination.”

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2 comments

Fruiting bodies are not where the magic happens!!

Posted by Finn Murray,

It's being shown in most of the progressive mycomedicinal studies that it's the mycellium that forms by far the greater part of the organism that contains most of the phytoactive properties. Not the fruiting body.

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So right!!!

Posted by Bob Cornell,

Mrs. Woon could not be more right. Mushrooms and their derivatives are the best option for those that choose to improve good health instead of fighting diseases.

Because of their core function (balancing and stimulating the immune system) they cover a enormously broad spectrum: they are supporting our constantly-under-siege immune system so it will protect us from inflammations, infections, viruses and everything related to those.

And God knows we need it: because of the never-ending stress we have to endure daily most of us have sloppy immune systems. With age it also declines, i.p. after 50: many old-age diseases are due to that.

Mushroom extracts can compensate the effects of stress and old age on our resistance and keep us in good shape.

One word of advice though: there are many fraudulent supplements out there. We cannot digest raw mushrooms, so it should be processed before you can expect them to have an effect.

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