A healthy heart

Mushrooms have the Heart Tick and are part of the 5+ a Day Programme. Mushrooms are categorised as vegetables for nutrition purposes and a diet high in fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and are good for all round heart health.

  • There are many ways in which mushrooms contribute to a healthy heart:
  • There is virtually no fat in mushrooms and they are also cholesterol-free (unless you add things like butter or cream!).
  • They are low in kilojoules and sodium.
  • Potassium and sodium work together in the body to help regulate blood pressure. Mushrooms are an ideal food in this regard as they are naturally high in potassium and low in sodium.
  • Mushrooms also contain other important nutrients that contribute to the health of the wider circulatory system. Some of the B vitamins help with red blood formation and maintenance as well as heart function.

Research

A major risk factor for heart disease is atherogenesis, which is the formation of plaque on arterial walls. This can result in atherosclerosis, what is commonly termed hardening of the arteries. In laboratory studies button mushrooms have been shown to reduce inflammation in arterial cells and prevent white blood cells from sticking to the artery walls. These are promising indications of the role mushrooms may play in helping maintain a healthy heart.

Reference: Keith RM (2010). Both common and specialty mushrooms inhibit adhesion molecule expression and in vitro binding of monocytes to human aortic endothelial cells in a pro-inflammatory environment. Nutrition Journal 9:29.