Are Shiitake Mushrooms Good For People With Diabetes?

Are Shiitake Mushrooms Good For People With Diabetes?

Given diabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugar levels, following a healthy diet that helps control blood sugar is important for management. However, this may be easier said than done, and diabetics may have trouble deciding what foods to eat and avoid.

Are Shiitake Mushrooms Good for Diabetes?

Yes, Shiitake mushrooms are good for those with diabetes. Shiitake mushrooms are low in carbohydrates and sugar, are a low glycemic index food, and are thought to have diabetes-fighting properties. This article explains why mushrooms are an excellent choice if you are suffering from diabetes.

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Best Shiitake Mushroom Supplement

Nutritional Info

There are a lot of types of mushrooms, including traditional button mushrooms, or white mushrooms, shiitake, portobello, and oyster mushrooms, just to name a few. Despite their different looks and tastes, all of them share a similar nutritional profile that is marked by their low sugar and fat content. Mushrooms are high in selenium and some B vitamins. B vitamins are a group of eight water-soluble vitamins strongly linked to increased brain function. Meanwhile, selenium is a powerful antioxidant that plays a critical role in thyroid function.

Low Glycemic load of Shiitake mushrooms

The Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL) are two rating systems that help estimate how carbohydrates-containing foods impact your blood sugar. They are both popular strategies, and are used extensively to treat chronic diseases such as diabetes. Foods that have low GI are likely to increase blood sugar levels slowly. Conversely, those with a higher GI will spike them.

Alternatively, foods can be categorized according to their GL, which takes into consideration the foods GI, along with its carbohydrate content and serving size. It is determined by multiplying the GI by the carb content of the particular serving size, then dividing by 100. Similar to GI, a lower GL tells you a food affects blood sugar levels only a little, while a higher GL indicates more of an impact. Although mushrooms are technically mushrooms, they are considered to be a form of white vegetables, just like onions and garlic, and have low GIs of 10-15, with GGLs below one per cup (70 grams), meaning that they do not spike blood sugar levels.

Mushrooms can be beneficial for some types of diabetes. Research suggests that eating a diet high in vegetables such as mushrooms, as well as other nutrient-rich foods, can help protect against gestational diabetes, which occurs during about 14% of pregnancies around the world, and can affect both mother and baby. Because of their high vitamin B content, mushrooms also may protect against decreased mental function and dementia in older adults who have vitamin B deficiencies, and those who have diabetes and who use the medication metformin to manage their blood sugar levels. In addition to B vitamins, a major bioactive compound found in mushrooms, polysaccharides, may have anti-diabetic properties.

Studies on animals with type-2 diabetes suggest polysaccharides can reduce blood sugar levels, improve insulin resistance, and decrease pancreatic tissue damage. Plus, soluble fiber, b-glucan, one type of polysaccharide found in mushrooms, slows digestion and delays the uptake of sugar, so it keeps your blood sugar levels under control after meals. Polysaccharides can also reduce cholesterol levels in your blood, which may, in turn, lower your risk for heart disease and stroke associated with unmanaged diabetes. That said, further studies are needed to better understand how B vitamins and polysaccharides in mushrooms might benefit those with diabetes.

The Easiest way to add mushrooms to your diet

Given the vast diversity of mushrooms, there are many ways you can incorporate them into your diet, including eating them raw, grilled, roasted, sauteed, or cooked into a sauce or soup. If you are looking for some new, delicious ways to incorporate them into your meals, try out this low-carb skillet with mushrooms and cauliflower rice.

Place a large skillet on medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Add the onions and celery, saute for 5 minutes. Then, add the garlic and cook for a few seconds. Next, add the mushrooms and cook them down.

Then, add the cauliflower rice and remaining ingredients, except for spinach, and simmer until soft. Finally, add in the spinach and stir in salt and pepper before serving. This recipe serves two, making it a nice side for your lunch or dinner.

Mushrooms are safe to eat if you are diabetic, since their low GI and GL content will not spike blood sugar. Additionally, their Vitamin B and polysaccharide content can provide added health benefits, which are especially relevant to those with diabetes, including improving blood sugar and cholesterol management. In addition to their diabetes-fighting properties, mushrooms add a lot of flavor to dishes, with no added carbohydrates or calories.

Learn more:

Are shiitake mushrooms good for weight loss?

Are shiitake mushrooms antiviral?

About the author

Bruce Wilson

I've studied Mycology and Forest Pathology and love creating content to help other learn more about my passion. Follow along as I continue to explore the amazing world of functional fungi!

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