Despite the numerous health benefits such as boosting immunity, aiding in weight loss, and prevention of chronic diseases, that come with this mouth watering delicacy, mushrooms can also be harmful to our health.
The popular opinion that natural is healthy makes us overlook potential health risks that may come with it. These include;
Psilocybin, also commonly known as the magic mushroom, is known to cause hallucinogenic effects. This condition is known as psychosis. It is common with recreational drug users because of its mind altering effects. Psilocybin effects are short lived and range from an enlightening high to a depressing low that may cause schizophrenic like outbursts. These effects can last up to six hours. It also causes nausea, cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, fear, horror and panic attacks.
Though it is not addictive, psychological dependence may occur and prolonged usage may lead to toxicity.
Certain people are allergic to the spores produced by mushrooms. These allergic reactions can occur when one eats the mushroom or when the spores are released into the air thereby causing respiratory infections.
Mushrooms enhance immunity but may be a risk to those with auto-immune diseases such as asthma, lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis because their bodies may fail to recognize the proteins present in the mushroom.
Commercially grown mushrooms may be contaminated with a bacteria known as campylobacter jejuni. This contamination may be due to improperly composted manure, animals, contaminated water, during and after harvest from handling storage and transporting. Rotten mushrooms are also harmful to our health.
When ingested,cases of diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps and vomiting have been reported. These symptoms normally pass after the irritant has been expelled but severe cases need medical attention.
Mushrooms found in the store are generally safe to eat. For wild mushrooms, it is very hard to distinguish between those that are safe and dangerous to eat. Some wild mushrooms are toxic to humans and can cause severe illness leading to death.
It is therefore safer to consume mushrooms that have been cultivated under appropriate conditions for commercial consumption to avoid such calamities.
Generally, the immense benefits that come with eating mushrooms cannot be overshadowed by the health risks, most of which are manageable.