Hands holding a box with all kinds of mushrooms (Photo: ShutterStock)
Recent studies have shown that incorporating mushrooms into your diet can help control blood pressure levels. And it can save quite a few lives.
High blood pressure is a common condition in which the force exerted by the blood against the walls of arteries in the body is too high. Over time, an increase in blood pressure can cause health problems, such as heart disease, without the person who suffers, even if for years, noticing. Even in the absence of obvious symptoms, the damage caused by hypertension to the heart and blood vessels continues, and since the process develops slowly over years, it can be identified relatively easily by simple blood pressure measurements.
The study, published in Phytotherapy Research, has now revealed that mushrooms are a nutrient that can help control high blood pressure. The researchers found that certain bioactive compounds found in fungi, including cordicpine, levastatin, erytadenin, and ergosterol, share structural similarities to adenosine, a substance known for its blood-pressure-lowering effects. This similarity suggests that these compounds may affect cardiovascular function by affecting gene expression.
How does this happen?
Studies have previously shown that edible mushrooms are a source of various bioactive compounds that are not commonly found in other food sources. This study specifically notes that mushrooms are a healthy addition to heart-healthy diet plans (such as the Mediterranean diet or the DASH diet) because they contain beneficial bioactive compounds such as proteins, sterols, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and amino acids.
Dana Alice Hans, a nutrition expert and senior clinical dietitian at UCLA Medical Center, who was not part of the study, supported the findings, telling Health that mushrooms have a good amount of potassium in every serving. This means they can provide about 11 percent of the recommended daily intake, which is between 300 and 400 mg. Potassium helps control blood pressure, which in turn, can lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Hones said the nutrients in mushrooms (dietary fiber, riboflavin, potassium, niacin, copper and vitamin D) and bioactive compounds affect metabolism and help reduce the risk of heart disease. "These nutrients and bioactive compounds play a role in cellular metabolism, delivering levels of certain micronutrients that may lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and blood pressure, such as potassium," she said. "There are also a number of compounds — many of which may not even be there yet — that contribute to fungi's health benefits on the microbiome and/or blood pressure," Hans added.
- nutrition and diet
- Preventive nutrition
- blood pressure