Mushrooms have a long history of providing not only nutrition, but also helping to treat medical maladies. Of the over 14,000 varieties of mushroom, as many as 700 have medicinal properties, while about 3,000 are good to eat. Nutrient-dense and low in calories, mushrooms make a perfect addition to calorie-restricted diets, vegetarian or vegan diets or for those looking to eat healthier. The nice thing about mushrooms is that they can add to the flavor of a meal, or they can take on the flavor of what you're cooking. If you want to lock in the flavor of the mushrooms you're cooking it is best to consider a stir-fry or sauté so you can enjoy their wonderful taste. Stews, soups, salads, appetizers, casseroles – there are many meals where mushrooms can be added and enjoyed.
5 Reasons You Should Be Eating Mushrooms
1. Potassium Mushrooms have high levels of potassium. A large mushroom, like a Portobello, has more potassium than a banana and can also provide you with a healthy dose of copper. Potassium helps to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke, while copper helps to protect the heart. Mushrooms also have the only vegetable-based source of Vitamin D, which helps with calcium absorption and can prevent osteoporosis. 2. Selenium Mushrooms also contain riboflavin, selenium, and niacin. While all of these help to improve your health, males should specifically be focused on selenium which can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Selenium has also been linked to a reduction in bladder cancer. 3. Enzymes The presence of aromatase and 5-alpha-reductase may have an impact on reducing breast cancer in women. These enzymes are found in white button, Crimini, and Portobello mushrooms, but white button mushrooms have the highest concentration. 4. B Vitamins Crimini mushrooms contain high concentrations of Vitamin B-5, which helps with metabolism. Other B-vitamins found in mushrooms include B-1, B-6, and folic acid. 5. Lentinan For a bit more exotic flavor, consider Shiitake mushrooms. Not only delicious, this mushroom has been used by Asian cultures for hundreds of years to help with mild colds and flus. It is thought that the lentinan found in the mushroom helps to encourage your immune system to fight off infections, and may even help to battle tumors. So the next time you are stuck for an appetizer or just want to change up your main course, head to the store for some fresh or dried mushrooms. Not only are they delicious, your body will love them! Photo credit:mnem