Porcini Mushroom: Benefits And Harms

Porcini mushroom is the best-known edible mushroom. The beautiful appearance and excellent flavor of porcini mushrooms will not leave anyone indifferent.

The porcini mushroom got its name “white” for the unique feature of not darkening when cut, further culinary or harvesting – this is what makes it different from other mushrooms. Porcini mushrooms are best absorbed by the digestive system.

And in terms of the content of useful microelements and excellent taste, it has no equal. For this reason, not only humans but also forest worms like to eat porcini mushrooms, so after collecting them, it is recommended to soak them in salted water to clean them from possible parasites.

Porcini mushrooms are eaten boiled, stewed, fried, and very rarely raw. They are also dried and pickled. Dried mushrooms are crushed and added to various dishes as a powder. Mushrooms are also used to make soups, stewed in sour cream, and used in various sauces.

Porcini mushrooms contain the following vitamins and trace elements: vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3, vitamin PP, vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin E (tocopherol), potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, iron, cobalt, manganese, fluorine, zinc, iodine, and copper.

Useful properties of porcini mushrooms

Porcini mushrooms have many beneficial properties. For example, porcini mushrooms are famous for their ability to stimulate the secretion of digestive juices.

Due to their high content of sulfur and polysaccharides, porcini mushrooms help fight cancer. They also have anti-infective, wound healing, antitumor, and tonic properties.

Porcini mushrooms contain lecithin, which prevents the deposition of cholesterol on the walls of blood vessels. Therefore, it is worth eating them in case of atherosclerosis and anemia. Thanks to its amino acids, eating porcini mushrooms supports cell renewal processes and is especially beneficial for the eyes, kidneys, liver, and bone marrow.

Porcini mushrooms also contain a lot of β-glucan. It is a strong antioxidant and has a great impact on the immune system: it creates protection against viruses, bacteria, fungi, and carcinogens. In addition, porcini mushrooms contain a number of enzymes that help break down fiber, fats, and glycogen.

Mushrooms are an excellent source of healthy proteins. However, the chitin contained in freshly cooked mushrooms significantly complicates the process of their assimilation. Therefore, it is recommended to eat pre-dried mushrooms, in which case the digestibility of proteins will rise to 80%.

The nutritional value of mushrooms, like other foods, is largely determined by the total amino acid content. Proteins in fresh white mushrooms contain a large number of amino acids, including essential ones, which are absorbed by the body by 70-80%.

Mushroom proteins are comparable to animal proteins in terms of their content, which is why mushrooms are often compared to meat. The content of proteins and amino acids in a mushroom strongly depends on the species, habitat, age, and harvesting method. For example, young mushrooms contain more proteins than old ones; caps contain more proteins than stems; dried mushrooms contain more proteins than pickled mushrooms.

Warnings about mushrooms

It is known that mushrooms, including porcini mushrooms, are the strongest natural sorbents. They absorb huge amounts of toxic substances, including radioactive cesium, strontium, cadmium, mercury, and lead. Therefore, mushrooms collected near the highway or in industrial areas will bring harm to your health rather than benefit.

It is also not recommended for young children to eat mushrooms. Up to 12-14 years of age, the child’s digestive system can hardly cope with the chitinous shell of the mushroom since the stomach does not produce enough of the necessary enzymes.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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