Mushrooms are edible fungi and derive from plants without chlorophyll. Although they vary greatly in their color, texture, shape, and properties, the health benefits of mushrooms are vast.

Not only can mushrooms make you bigger and protect you against diseases and infections, but they’re also full of proteins, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antibiotics, and antioxidants that you can’t always find in vegetables.

Per half cup serving, mushrooms contain a gram of protein, 21 calories and no fat, compared to a 1-ounce helping of meat that has 75 calories and up to 5 grams of fat. This is why the mushroom is one of the greatest additions to your diet to lose weight, while still building muscle. Here’s how mushrooms help to whittle your waistline.

The Benefits

>> With a gram of protein per serving, you can “muscle up” any salad, sauce or vegetable snack throughout the day, keeping your metabolism high and your growth on track.

>> Due to the nutrient density, they actually rank higher than most fruits and vegetables in vitamin and antioxidant levels, and some researchers say that mushrooms are one of the rare foods that people can eat with no side effects.

>> They are good source of potassium, a powerful muscle mineral that can also help to lower the risk of heart disease and hypertension. They also contain 80-90% water weight, which will make you feel fuller longer.

>> They have B vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid, which help to provide energy by breaking down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Researchers estimate that by simply substituting mushrooms for ground beef in one meal every week, you can lose five pounds in a year without other changes.

>> Often grouped with vegetables, mushrooms provide many of the nutritional attributes of produce, as well as attributes more commonly found in meat, beans or grains. Not only are they low in calories, cholesterol free, gluten free, low in sodium but they also provide other important nutrients including selenium, polysaccharides, and antioxidants that fight prostate and breast cancer.