White fungus are also called snow mushrooms because their shape is similar to snow (Tremella fuciformis). This is a fungus that is found growing on bark, dead logs, or growing on tree branches or the bark of large leafy trees. Snow mushroom is a type of mushroom that can be eaten and tastes good.
White or snow mushrooms have long been one of the medicinal ingredients in traditional Chinese medicine. Until now, the snow mushroom is still the great looks because it has many health benefits including as an anti-inflammatory and a source of antioxidants.
In this article, we will review and explore further about the health benefits of white mushrooms, their uses, side effects, and how to enjoy these white mushrooms or snow mushrooms.
What is Tremella fuciformis?
White mushroom is a type of mushroom that can be eaten and it belongs to the Tremellaceae family.
In various regions, white mushrooms are also known as snow mushrooms, snow ears, silver ears, eucalyptus ears, and also known as white jelly mushrooms. Usually snow fungus is found attached to fallen logs, especially on trees with large leaves.
White mushrooms are of course white in color, but there are also pale yellow ones. The white color is almost transparent and the texture is soft like jelly. Its shape is like an underwater coral reef, but it is very soft.
Snow mushrooms or white mushrooms are generally found growing in Asia, but sometimes there are also tropical areas in various parts of the world. These include the countries of Australia, Central and South America, the Pacific Islands and New Zealand. Those are some areas that are known as distribution areas. In Chinese medicine, snow fungus is used as an ancient medicine and as a medicine for longevity.
Until now there is no clear information about the nutrition of this snow mushroom. But it is estimated that it has a nutritional profile similar to other mushrooms.
Mushrooms, in general, contain few calories, less protein, and fiber. The content of these various nutrients is good for adding to food as additional nutrients. Fiber is an important substance for our diet, adding snow mushrooms means adding fiber in the diet which has good benefits for heart disease, lowers the risk of diabetes, obesity and gastrointestinal diseases.
Mushrooms, including snow mushrooms (Tremella fuciformis) generally provide small amounts of vitamin D, folate, zinc, calcium, they are the best nutrition for boosting immunity, good for bone health, and have benefits for brain health.
Snow Mushroom Health Benefits
The benefits of white or snow mushrooms can not be separated from the positive effects that are given to the body. These are mostly related to carbohydrate chains or so-called polysaccharides.
Also read: Straw Mushroom Facts and Health Benefits
Research on the benefits of snow mushrooms is still limited to animals and test tubes. So, even though it seems to have great benefits for the world of health, but to be able to be applied to humans safely, this still requires further research.
Inflammation is a painful thing but it is actually the body’s reaction to an illness or infection occurring. Usually the inflammation will heal when the wound has disappeared. But there is also what is called permanent inflammation, this is related to the heart and cancer, this inflammation is called chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation can sometimes also occur due to an increased number of pro-inflammatory markers such as increased nitric oxide, interleukin-1 beta, interleukin-6, and increased tumor necrosis factor-alpha.
Also see: 15 Foods To Prevent Breast Cancer
Research conducted on test tubes showed that white mushroom or snow mushroom extract had an anti-inflammatory effect due to a decrease in pro-inflammatory markers. Thus mentioned healthline.com
2. Has antioxidant properties
The health benefits of snow mushrooms are also related to the presence of anti-oxidants. If the human body is exposed to a lot of free radicals, oxidation stress will occur. This will give bad health effects, be it tissue damage or cell damage.
While antioxidants are molecules that function to neutralize free radicals in the body. So, eating foods rich in antioxidants – including snow mushrooms – can protect the body from oxidative stress and prevent cancer.
3. Promotes brain health
The polysaccharide content of white mushrooms can protect nerve cells and degenerative diseases.
In a study found that snow mushrooms can reduce brain toxicity due to beta-amyloid. Excess protein is said to encourage the emergence of Alzheimer’s disease.
White mushroom extract is also known to have benefits for memory. A study involving many participants, said that white mushroom extract can restore and improve short-term memory.
4. Boost immunity
Furthermore, the health benefits of white mushrooms are to increase immunity. The bio-active compounds in white mushrooms function in the body’s defense system or better immunity.
Test-tube studies suggest that the proteins in snow mushrooms can provide macrophage activity — this is a type of white blood cell that fights bacteria and removes damaged tissue.
On the other hand, polysaccharides can regulate the body’s immune response and can reduce infections that are later associated with death. Well, because this research is only limited to animals, so that it can be used widely by humans, it still requires more research.
5. Improve skin tone
Snow fungus or white fungus is used in the beauty industry for its moisturizing and anti-aging effects.
The polysaccharide content in white mushrooms can increase hydration of the skin. The skin will remain moist and resistant to UV rays. The polysaccharides in white mushrooms form a transparent film that is good for fluid retention on the surface of the skin. This is a natural moisturizer for the skin so that the skin looks radiant.
6. Control blood sugar
The next health benefit of snow mushrooms is controlling blood sugar. Apparently, white mushroom (Tremella fuciformis) is also good for diabetics.
Research shows that the polysaccharides in white mushrooms are beneficial in lowering blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity. This can lower excessive sugar levels in the blood.
The white fungus extract is said to affect enzymes and hormones that are associated with diabetes.
7. Reduce the risk of heart disease
Consuming white mushrooms also has other benefits, namely protecting heart disease. In a test-tube test showed that the antioxidant activity of snow mushrooms could prevent the oxidation of cholesterol (LDL), so it does not cause plaque in blood vessels. Well, this can prevent blood pressure and stroke.
Possible Side Effects of White Fungus
About the side effects of white mushrooms until now there are no reports. Be it about poisoning or other side effects.
However, pregnant women should not consume before consulting a doctor. This is a precautionary measure against unwanted things.
In addition, you are also not advised to look for white mushrooms or snow mushrooms in the wild, because you are afraid that you will misunderstand. It could be that the mushrooms you get are not white mushrooms but poisonous mushrooms whose effects are very fatal if eaten. So, be careful in every step related to what is known.
How to Cook White Fungus
Most of the white mushrooms when we buy are in dried form. So to cook it we have to go through the following steps first.
- Immersion. Take the dried mushrooms and cover them with water. Leave the dried mushrooms in the water for 3 hours, wait until they are all soft.
- pruning. The bottom of the mushrooms should be removed and trimmed because even when soaked, they still feel tough.
- washing. Take the mushrooms and shred them with small pieces like petals, wash and drain, dry.
White mushrooms are usually cooked in soup and taste bland. When cooked in soup, it will be sweet and savory. It’s delicious and you can bring it into your everyday dish.
Making white mushroom porridge (Snow mushroom)
- Take the white mushrooms that have been soaked, trimmed and washed thoroughly, cut into small pieces.
- Bring 1 cup of water to a boil, add 1/4 cup of oats, also add chopped mushrooms, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- This is white mushroom porridge, you can try this snow mushroom porridge as a snack or as breakfast.