Interested in the health benefits and side effects of Chestnut Mushrooms? Also known as agrocybe aegerita, let’s explore the uses of this amazing edible mushroom.
Edible mushrooms are a healthy addition to any meal. They contain very little fat, have high amounts of protein, and can be very tasty. They come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes and can be easily grown or cultivated. Another great thing about mushrooms is that they also have medicinal properties that have been used even as far back as the ancient Chinese period. One mushroom in particular, the chestnut mushroom, has considerable amounts of health and medicinal benefits.
The chestnut mushroom (Agrocybe Aegerita, agrocybe cylindracea or Cyclocybe aegerita) is a type of mushroom that belongs to the white rot fungi. You might also hear them called Black Poplar or Swordbelt Mushroom.
They are characterized by their almost flat cap and their gills have colors that range from light to dark browns. In some cases their gills can be whitish or pinkish in color. A chestnut mushroom’s cap can grow as wide as 4 inches.
Chestnut mushrooms are commonly cultivated and sold in countries like the US, Japan, China, Korea, Australia and Chile. In China, the chestnut mushroom is sometimes called the “magic mushroom of China.” The Chinese use this type of mushroom to cure different types of ailments including headaches and fever. Chestnut mushrooms can be found growing on poplar, Oak, Cottonwood, Maple, Willow, Box Elder, Tea-Oil trees.
- 1 Why are chestnut mushrooms so healthy?
- 2 Health Benefits of Chestnut Mushrooms
- 3 Is the Chestnut Mushroom poisonous?
- 4 What do chestnut mushrooms taste like?
- 5 Which mushroom can I use instead of chestnut mushrooms?
- 6 Do you take the skin off of chestnut mushrooms before eating them?
- 7 Can you eat raw chestnut mushrooms?
Why are chestnut mushrooms so healthy?
Because of their amazing nutritional value. Chestnut mushrooms are super-dense source of in nutritious phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. Surprisingly, they have even more of these copper, selenium, protein and potassium than medicinal shiitake mushrooms.
The active compounds of a chestnut mushroom include:
- ceramide (1)
- methyl-β-d-glucopyranoside and α-d-glucopyranoside
- linoleic acid
- methyl ester
- palmitic acid
- vitamin B2, B3 and B5
Besides lending a unique taste to your meal, chestnut mushrooms also provide various health and medicinal benefits.
Health Benefits of Chestnut Mushrooms
- anti-tumor properties
- anti-inflammatory properties
- anti-fungal properties
- slows down osteoporosis
- contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals
The anti-tumor properties of the chestnut mushroom can make for a very promising medicine that can be used to reducing the development of stomach and breast cancers. Studies have shown that some of the properties of the fruiting bodies of chestnut mushroom were able to inhibit the proliferation of these human cancer cells by up to 26% for stomach cancers and 23% for breast cancers. Further studies are still being done as most of the tests are only done in laboratory testing facilities. This anti-tumor property of the chestnut mushroom is especially important since it’s not usually found in other plant or animal species.
Another benefit of the chestnut mushroom is its anti-inflammatory property. The cyclooxygenase enzymes COX-1 and COX-2 are responsible for 2 very important bodily functions. The COX-1 is the one regulating the body’s homeostatic functions while the COX-2 handles the formation of prostaglandins that mediate pain and inflammation. Compounds contained within chestnut mushrooms have been found to be able to safely regulate inflammation by inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme without affecting other important bodily functions. Some modern painkillers are able to stop inflammation but the potential side effects make their use prohibitive to some. Replacing these medicines with chestnut mushrooms can give some of the pain killing abilities without the unwanted side effects.
The fruiting bodies of chestnut mushroom also contains huge amounts of vitamins and minerals including vitamins B2, B3 and B5. It also contains biotin, potassium, selenium, copper and folate. The vitamin B2 content of most mushrooms is generally greater than those found in some vegetables. Chestnut mushrooms also contain high levels of anti-oxidant properties that fight free radicals in the body. They also help lower cholesterol as they contain very little fat and have high amounts of fiber. Adding chestnut mushrooms to your daily diet can considerably lower your cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular diseases from advancing.
The chestnut mushroom has a lot of promising medicinal properties that can potentially cure the toughest cancers and diseases. Scientists have been continuously studying and discovering how chestnut mushrooms could help fight several cancers and they still have a long way to go. This should not stop you from adding a few slices of this delicious mushroom to your meal. The health benefits of the fruiting bodies of chestnut mushroom are not limited to cancer fighting alone. It is a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals too.
Is the Chestnut Mushroom poisonous?
The chestnut mushroom is considered as an edible mushroom although there are variants of it that are considered poisonous. If you fancy having some Agrocybe Aegerita for lunch, don’t try looking for them on your own. It is best to have an expert mycologist with you as you try to distinguish which ones are edible and which ones are poisonous.
What do chestnut mushrooms taste like?
Chestnut mushrooms are exactly the same as standard White Button mushrooms, only brown. The taste is commonly described as very similar to cremini or Portabello and better than plain white mushrooms.
Which mushroom can I use instead of chestnut mushrooms?
Since chestnut mushrooms are rare and hard to find, if you have a recipe that calls for them, feel free to substitute them with Portabello, Crimini (sometimes spelled Cremini) or for that matter, any brown mushroom in the grocery store with a good flavor.
Do you take the skin off of chestnut mushrooms before eating them?
No. Since cultivated mushrooms tend to be quite clean by the time they’re offered for sale in the market, all you need to do is rinse with water and serve either whole or sliced. There is no need to remove any skin before eating them raw or cooked.
Can you eat raw chestnut mushrooms?
Yes, you can! However, most experts suggest that edible mushrooms need to be cooked as raw they are mostly indigestible and of no benefit. The nutritious benefits of mushrooms are released during cooking, or in the case of supplements, during the extraction process. It’s also important to mention that raw mushrooms contain varying amounts of toxic substances that are destroyed during the cooking process.
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