Fungi are organisms that are part of a biological kingdom in their own right, which includes both mushrooms with a “classic form” (fruiting, fleshy bodies of a mycelium buried or undermined in dead / living vegetable tissues), but also molds and yeasts. All mushrooms have two characteristics:
- They reproduce by means of spores
- They try to defend themselves by releasing toxins .
Note : to minimize food poisoning from harmful fungi it is ESSENTIAL to obtain supplies from safe, guaranteed and certified sources. Better to avoid collection in the absence of adequate training and under-the-counter purchase by unauthorized persons.
In this regard, two other considerations must be made:
- Not all toxins are harmful to humans, otherwise there would be no edible / edible mushrooms
- The toxicity of toxins varies mainly according to the chemical nature and the dose (poisonous potential). For example, it is said that honey mushrooms become “objectively” edible only after cooking by boiling (eliminating residual water). Other fungi increase the concentration of unwanted molecules progressively with maturation; this is the case of some species of coprime (for example the C. comates ), which in correspondence with the opening of the cap become inedible. In these cases, however, we must also ask ourselves whether, in conditions of greater individual susceptibility (such as pregnancy, liver and kidney diseasesetc.), it is worth trying to eat them, risking to introduce many toxins and in any case inevitably assuming a small concentration.
Fungi are organisms that are particularly affected by environmental conditions. After the famous Chernobyl disaster, an abnormal growth of fungi was noted, which tend to absorb the surrounding radiation. Furthermore, those in the wild represent a real “reservoir” of pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, etc.) and pollutants (such as Frodo, lead, etc.). For this reason, the fundamental rule of NOT collecting mushrooms in potentially contaminated places is always valid.
Mushrooms in nutrition
Mushrooms have nutritional characteristics similar, in some ways, to those of vegetables, but also have properties similar to those of foods of animal origin.
They have an excellent supply of fiber , contain useful minerals (such as potassium , phosphorus and zinc ) and vitamins , of which the most interesting is D, rare in most foods and essential for bone metabolism .
Raw or cooked, fresh or preserved, mushrooms are widespread in the kitchens of almost the entire planet. They represent a useful ingredient in the preparation of appetizers , first and second courses .
Mushrooms yes or mushrooms no?
Some nutritionists believe that mushrooms, better if harvested and fresh, are foods of great value, to be used raw in salads and on pizza , stewed in soups , sautéed in first courses and as a side dish.
There is no medical recommendation that clearly supports the harmfulness of edible mushrooms in pregnancy. These foods can contribute to the growth and development of the fetus , especially by virtue of the content of vitamin D , but also of proteins , minerals and other vitamins (especially water-soluble B group ).
The richness in vitamin D , which varies according to the species, is particularly useful in the diet of the vegetarian pregnant woman. In fact, this fat- soluble nutrient tends to be lacking in all diets that exclude foods of animal origin (of which the main exponents are fish ., liver and egg yolk ).
However, it must be recognized that, in the presence of adequate sun exposure , the human body does not require the introduction of large quantities of vitamin D; therefore, it is advisable to increase its intake especially in the winter .
For vegan women, the concentration of proteins can also be considered useful, although, according to what can be deduced from the nutritional composition tables, most of the nitrogen contained in mushrooms is of a NON-protein nature.
The presence of fibers and probiotics is discreet , which can improve the intestinal condition ( constipation due to anatomical alteration ) often compromised during pregnancy.
Most of the concerns about mushroom consumption during pregnancy and beyond concern:
- The biological species, which defines its potential poisonousness
- The condition of the growing environment.
In pregnancy, poisonous , toxic mushrooms (including hallucinogenic ones containing psilocybin), inedible, arguably edible, edible mushrooms that have passed the point of ripeness and, in general,
those of dubious health are absolutely, and obviously, to be avoided. It may be advisable to cook them, given the thermolabile properties of some protein toxins (that is, they degrade with heat).
Note : Psilocybin is a chemical that alters the brain activity of those who take it and interferes with the growth of the fetus.
Of dubious health, the so-called “miracle mushrooms” (medicines), often used as food supplements but not always considered safe for the fetus (shiitake, maitake, reishi , etc.), must be excluded from the diet during pregnancy .
To have the maximum guarantee on the healthiness of mushrooms, it is necessary to choose the right sources of supply.
Alternative ways such as independent collection and purchase from unauthorized individuals are to be excluded.
In Italy very dangerous mushrooms grow very similar to other edible and valuable ones. Some examples are: Amanita verna and A.
ovoidea , harmful and similar to the most common edible field mushrooms . Boletus satanas , called malefic boletus, is toxic and can be confused with edible boletus . Omphalotus olearius , toxic and similar to common chanterelles or chanterelles .
Cultivated mushrooms, by any means, also prevent any eventuality of contamination by pollutants. In fact, many of these foods can be collected on the side of the road,
Where they are subjected to accumulation of lining, lead, etc., or in conventional farming orchards, especially very old ones, where they have been used for decades (or still do).
of extremely harmful products
During pregnancy it is always advisable to wash and cook the mushrooms, both to reduce the microbiological risk and (as we have already said) to decrease the toxic type.
We conclude by pointing out that, as with many other foods and nutrients, also in this case the portion plays a fundamental role.
During pregnancy it is necessary to limit the intake of mushrooms to one-off, avoiding a multiple weekly frequency, possibly in portions less than or equal to 100-200 g.