Have you ever eaten a truffle? And what are truffles, really? Truffles are what we call the fruiting body of certain fungi that grow underground. White truffle and black truffle are the most common types of this fungus, but there’s also a brown variant. These mushrooms can be found in Europe and North America but have recently been hunted for more heavily in Asia due to their high demand. Why are truffles so popular? That’s because there are many truffle health benefits when eating them!
Most people think of mushrooms as what grows above the ground, but truffles are a fungus that grows underground. If you’ve been wondering about what truffles are you can safely call them mushrooms. White truffle is generally more expensive and valuable compared to black truffle. Truffle health benefits make them this valuable, but the price is also due to the rarity of the fungi and the difficulty to obtain them.
Truffles can be found in many different parts of the world, but they’re most popular in Northern Italy. This is because this area is what’s called an “area of white truffle.”
The North American Truffle Association (NAFA) says that there are over 700 species of truffles in the world, but only a few dozen of them have been found and identified.
White truffle oil is what’s typically used for cooking because it has a delicate flavor (as opposed to black truffle). It can be mixed with other oils to create different flavors or just added as an ingredient to some dishes.
It’s estimated that there are about 100 types of edible truffles worldwide. What NAFA refers to as a global trade for what truffles are can be difficult to pinpoint because truffles are hard to grow and culture. Truffles have what’s called mycorrhizal symbionts, which provide nutrients that the fungi use to grow.
When wondering what’s a truffle, some people would ditch them as simply over-glorified mushrooms. But truffle benefits have been known for a long time as the fungi have been prized for their culinary and medicinal benefits since ancient times. The Romans enjoyed them as a delicacy, but the French first began hunting truffles in earnest during the late 18th century. It’s what we call an iconic food of France.
You’re probably wondering what truffles taste like. The taste of truffles is what’s called “earthy.” They’re similar to mushrooms or garlic but with an earthy flavor. It can be challenging for some people to distinguish truffles in their dishes because the taste isn’t very prominent; this becomes more evident when they’re cooked and mixed with other ingredients.
What is a truffle if not a nutritive bomb? They have an impressive count of vitamins and minerals together with protein, fiber, and carbs. An interesting fact about these fungi is that they contain both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. You can also expect a high content of vitamin C, iron, calcium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, etc.
Truffles are actually a great meat substitute since they present a complete protein source with all nine amino acids that are essential for proper body function.
Not all types of truffles are the same when it comes to their nutrient profile though; white truffles generally contain more protein and fat compared to the black desert type.
Just like they’re a great source of important nutrients, one of the many truffle benefits is their high content of antioxidants as well. Therefore, truffles are a great nutritive aid that helps combat oxidative cell damage.
The more antioxidants you introduce to your body the better chance your body has to fight free radicals and keep some serious health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes at bay. Even though more studies are necessary, it seems that there’s a strong link between truffles and reduced inflammation, potentially connected to the fungi’s high content of vitamin C, lycopene, gallic acid, and homogentisic acid.
Truffles aren’t only powerhouse fungi when it comes to nutrients and antioxidants, but antibacterial properties as well. It seems that they have the ability to minimize and sometimes completely eradicate the growth of certain bacteria. They are especially effective against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
With more research in the future, there’s a high chance to utilize this antibacterial truffle property even more.
According to Nature Medicine, truffles may help prevent cancer from developing. The fungi work on a type of brain tumor called glioma by inhibiting HIF-alpha.
The studies conducted so far show that truffles have an almost magical ability to block the growth of cancer cells, notably in areas such as the lungs, colon, liver, and breasts.
Due to the many different varieties of truffles and the differences they possess when it comes to their nutritive content and general health properties, more research is necessary to fully analyze the potential of truffles when it comes to battling cancer.
When inflammation occurs, it’s your body trying to fight off infection or illness. Unfortunately, if inflammation persists for far too long, there’s a higher risk of developing chronic conditions and diseases from it.
This is also another point where truffles might prove to be helpful. Some studies have found that these fungi are rather effective when it comes to relieving inflammation and promoting recovery in general. Essentially, it seems that certain compounds found in both black and white truffles can block the enzymes which play a pivotal role in the inflammatory process.
It’s true that truffles used to be reserved for only the most luxurious gourmet dishes, but that’s the thing of the past. These days, it’s rather simple to add truffles to your diet without actually emptying your wallet. Aside from truffle oil, it’s possible to use truffle as garnish and mix them in other dishes such as pasta, risottos, and seafood. A little goes a long way with truffles, both health- and taste-wise.
Truffles are one of the most expensive foods globally, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them. You might even be able to find some at your local grocery store! What do truffles taste like? Much like your typical earthy mushroom with a garlic note to it. There’s evidence that truffles may help prevent cancer from developing, so it’s worth giving them a try for yourself if you have health concerns about this disease. Other truffle benefits are also worth considering if you’re interested in bettering your health through your diet.
If you’re looking to spruce up your dining experience and maybe even taste the truffles when prepared professionally at a rather reasonable price, don’t hesitate to pay us a visit at Stubborn Seed. We’re sure that we’ll become one of your favorite go-to places to wine and dine in Miami.