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International Journal of Microbiology
Volume 2015, Article ID 376387, 14 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/376387
Review Article

Edible Mushrooms: Improving Human Health and Promoting Quality Life

Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados (IPN), Unidad Irapuato, Km 9.6 Libramiento Norte Carretera Irapuato-León, 36821 Irapuato, GTO, Mexico

Received 9 September 2014; Accepted 29 November 2014

Academic Editor: Maurizio Sanguinetti

Copyright © 2015 María Elena Valverde et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Mushrooms have been consumed since earliest history; ancient Greeks believed that mushrooms provided strength for warriors in battle, and the Romans perceived them as the “Food of the Gods.” For centuries, the Chinese culture has treasured mushrooms as a health food, an “elixir of life.” They have been part of the human culture for thousands of years and have considerable interest in the most important civilizations in history because of their sensory characteristics; they have been recognized for their attractive culinary attributes. Nowadays, mushrooms are popular valuable foods because they are low in calories, carbohydrates, fat, and sodium: also, they are cholesterol-free. Besides, mushrooms provide important nutrients, including selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D, proteins, and fiber. All together with a long history as food source, mushrooms are important for their healing capacities and properties in traditional medicine. It has reported beneficial effects for health and treatment of some diseases. Many nutraceutical properties are described in mushrooms, such as prevention or treatment of Parkinson, Alzheimer, hypertension, and high risk of stroke. They are also utilized to reduce the likelihood of cancer invasion and metastasis due to antitumoral attributes. Mushrooms act as antibacterial, immune system enhancer and cholesterol lowering agents; additionally, they are important sources of bioactive compounds. As a result of these properties, some mushroom extracts are used to promote human health and are found as dietary supplements.