Health Benefits of Truffles

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Health Benefits of Truffles

Truffles are usually collected by specialists who have the skills and experience to locate this type of flora. Sometimes, truffles collectors use trines animals, such as pigs and dogs to discover this underground fungus. The animals do this using their high sensitivity to the characteristic truffle volatile compounds. 

Traditionally, mushrooms and truffles are treated as prized foods and may be consumed either raw or cooked. In addition, they have been used widely as components of folk medicine, because of their rich content of proteins and amino acids, fatty acids, fiber, minerals, vitamins, terpenoids, sterols, flavor compounds and carbohydrates. In this article, we will explore health benefits of truffles and its contribution to overall well-being.


Health Benefits of Truffles


Health Benefits of Truffles:

About Truffles:

Then truffles are hypogenous mushrooms that grow exclusively underground and are recognized as ectomycorrhizal fungi. They usually occur at the interface between the organic litter and mineral soil, about 2.5-15 cm deep. A truffle is the fruiting body of a subterranean Ascomycete fungus, one of the many spices of the genus Tuber. They rely on animals eating them (mycophagy from the Greek words ‘mykes’ meaning fungus and ‘phagein’ meaning to eat, fungivores) to distribute spores, instead of air dispersion like mushrooms. Truffle spore-bearing surfaces are enclosed, and they do not form a prominent stem, rather resembling small potatoes.


health benefits of truffles


Truffles are made up of two parts: the fruiting body, which is edible, and the roots. The fruiting body appears during different seasons depending on the type of truffle. It is made of an  exterior layer (peel) of variable thickness, which can be smooth or sculptured in appearance (with bumps or wrinkles) and light or dark in color, and an internal mass (pulp or gleba), which may range from white to brown, gray, pink or black and is marked by criss-crossing ‘veins’. This internal mass varies in thickness and the alveoli contain cells bearing spores (ascospore).

Where Does Truffle Grow?

No specific environment is required for truffles and they can potentially be found almost anywhere tress grow. Truffles prefer woods that have mixed tress with a little undergrowth to maintain humidity and are often found along the banks of streams, but also by footpaths, and under pine tress or poplars. Each spices of truffle needs different soil and climate conditions. Only a few families of tress (e.g maples and cedars) are not associated with truffle-forming fungi.

Types of Truffle:

There are hundreds of different kinds of truffles, and while none are known to be poisonous, only a few of them are considered to be delicacies by humans. Truffles and mushrooms are the only fruits of the fungus; the main perennial fungal body exits as a web of filamentous hyphae in the soil.

All of the truffle fungi form a symbiotic (Mycorrhizae) association with the roots of tress, and are essential for the tree to acquire some nutrients. The fungal hyphae not only permeate the soil, but also penetrate root cells of plants and facilitate nutrient exchange where the host plant acquires nutrients from the soil via the fungi, and the fungi (which cannot perform photosynthesis) obtains sugars from the host plant.

As most truffles never break the surface of the soil, they rely on animals to eat them and distribute spores. To ensure they are found, truffles have evolved to exude pungent, fruity and sometimes unpleasant aromas when mature.

Role of Truffles in Diet:

Truffles are highly sought after because of their strong scent, which comes from the aromatic hydrocarbon compound bis (methylthio) methane. the nutritional value of truffles is very high and almost identical for the different species. It varies depending on the environment conditions in which truffles are grown. Unlike mushrooms, no truffles are known to be poisonous.

Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Truffles:

1. Antioxidant properties:

Truffles are rich in calories and high in essential nutrients. they are good source of dietary fiber. Truffles’ high antioxidant properties have many health advantages. These antioxidants, which include polyphenols, lower your chance of developing chronic illness and shield your cells from oxidative damage.

2. Immune Booster:

Truffles are rich with vitamin C, which is considered to strengthen the immune system. Truffles are a great way to boost your immune system and keep your body free from infections.

3. Improved Heart Health:

Truffles’ potassium content lowers blood pressure which benefits heart health. It may lessen the chance of strokes and heart disease.

4. Cancer-Fighting Compounds:

Packed with phytonutrients and bioactive substances, truffles have demonstrated potential in preventing the formation of cancer cells. These preliminary results are encouraging, however more study is required.

Nutritional Facts of Truffles:

Truffles contain 72% water, very little fat (0.6%) and some protein (8.6%). Truffles are some of the most nutritious fungi available. Their proteins are intact and rich in methionine, cysteine and lysine. Truffles are also rich in minerals, such as phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, iron, zinc, fiber, sulfur, chlorine and silicone. They also contain fiber (7.6%), an important component to facilitate digestion and intestinal motion.

Truffles Recipes:

Truffles are appreciated in French, Georgian, Greek, Italian, Middle Eastern and Spanish cooking as well as in international haute cuisine. Truffles are rare and luxurious tubers and one of the most sought after ingredients by top chefs internationally. They have called the ‘diamond of kitchen’ and widely acknowledged as one of the most desirable gourmet foods. Truffles are used to season dishes or as an accompaniment in greater or lesser quantities.

1. Truffle Oil Drizzled Popcorn:

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups popped popcorn
  • 2 table spoon truffle oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 table spoon truffle salt

How to make:

  • Drizzle truffle oil over the popped popcorn
  • Sprinkle truffle salt and grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Toss the popcorn to ensure even coating
  • Serve as a gourmet snack

2. Truffle and Mushroom Omelet:

Health Benefits of Truffles


Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 sliced black truffle
  • 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 table spoon butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to make:

  • Whisk the eggs in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a non-stick pan and melt the butter.
  • Add mushrooms and cook until they release their moisture.
  • Pour in the whisked eggs and let them set slightly.
  • Add the sliced truffle and Gruyere cheese.
  • Fold the omelette and cook until the cheese is melted.

How to handle and store fresh truffles:

After buying fresh truffles, they should be cleaned by rubbing gently with a small brush under running water. Truffles are highly perishable and needed to be consumed immediately after harvesting. They tend to dehydrate (at room temperature they lose 1-2 % of their weight every day) and lose their scent. Often, truffles are sold in containers filled with rice, which absorbs the flavor and aroma of the fungi and can be used for cooking. Truffles can be stored between users in dry paper towel, which is changed daily, in an airtight glass jar at 2-5 degree C for about 1-2 weeks.

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