Edible mushrooms are a valuable source of nutrients and bioactive compounds in addition to a growing appeal for humans by their flavors and culinary features. Recently, they have become increasingly attractive as functional foods for their potential beneficial effects on human health. Hence, food industry is especially interested in cultivated and wild edible mushrooms. Cardiovascular diseases are one of the most prevalent causes of morbidity and mortality in the Western world. Several investigations have shown the influence of mushrooms intake on some metabolic markers (total, LDL, HDL cholesterol, fasting triacylglycerol, homocysteine, blood pressure, homeostatic function and oxidative and inflammatory damage), which potentially may reduce the risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases. Relevant nutritional aspects of mushrooms include a high fiber supply, a low fat content with low trans isomers of unsaturated fatty acids and a low concentration of sodium as well as the occurrence of components such as eritadenine, phenolic compounds, sterols (such as ergosterol), chitosan, triterpenes, etc., which are considered as important responsible agents for some hitherto healthy properties. The aims of this review are to report putative positive effects of mushrooms consumption on cardiovascular diseases risk markers and to identify some putative bioactive compounds involved in these effects.
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