What Are the Benefits of Mycoprotein?

First cultivated in the 1960s by British researchers, mycoprotein consists of Fusarium venenatum fungi that's been supplied with glucose, oxygen, nitrogen and minerals like phosphate, magnesium and potassium while it grows. The Quorn brand of meat substitutes uses mycoprotein combined with spices and egg albumen as its primary ingredient. Including mycoprotein in your diet regularly -- especially as a substitute for high-fat, high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods -- could lower your risk of developing a number of health problems.

A corn and bean quinoa salad. Credit: cheche22/iStock/Getty Images

Low in Fat and Cholesterol

A 100-gram serving of mycoprotein -- equivalent to approximately 3.5 ounces -- contains 85 calories. Of this amount, only 26 calories are contributed by 2.9 grams of total fat and 0.7 gram of saturated fat. In addition, mycoprotein is cholesterol-free. Compared to a cut of meat like porterhouse steak, which has 11 grams of fat, over 4 grams of saturated fat and 84 milligrams of cholesterol in every 3.5 ounces, mycoprotein is a healthier choice. Lowering your intake of fat, saturated fat and cholesterol can significantly decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Rich Source of Lean Protein

The more protein you obtain from plant-based foods instead of animal-based foods, particularly red or processed meats, the less likely you will be to develop or die from any chronic medical condition, including cancer and heart disease, reported an "Archives of Internal Medicine" study published in 2012. Mycoprotein contains 11 grams of protein in every 3.5 ounces, or approximately 20 percent of a man's recommended daily intake and 24 percent of a woman's. Like soy and quinoa, mycoprotein is a complete plant protein -- it contains all of the amino acids your body needs.

High in Dietary Fiber

An article published in "Nutrition Reviews" in 2009 concluded that a diet containing plenty of fiber-rich foods can help prevent high blood pressure, obesity, elevated cholesterol levels, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Each 3.5-ounce serving of mycoprotein contains 6 grams of dietary fiber, more than you'd receive from 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables like brussels sprouts. For a man between 19 and 30 years old, this amount would fulfill over 17 percent of his required daily intake; for a woman, it supplies over 21 percent.

Good for Sodium-Restricted Diets

While most healthy adults should limit their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams each day, the average American typically consumes 3,300 milligrams daily. Too much sodium can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Most commercial meat substitute products like soy or veggie burgers are high in sodium. One serving might contain over 500 milligrams. By contrast, mycoprotein is extremely low in sodium, with 5 milligrams in every 3.5 ounces.

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