Mushrooms have been used for centuries for their medicinal properties and immune support.
Mushrooms, which are technically a fungus, come in several varieties including white button, portabella, crimini, shiitake, oyster and maitake. While each mushroom has its own unique taste and texture, all mushrooms have an earthy flavor with a tender texture to a certain degree. Mushrooms can be included in many dishes and are appreciated for their added nutrition benefits.
Health Benefits of Mushrooms:
Mushrooms have been shown to help support the immune system due to their high amounts of minerals, especially selenium, zinc, and manganese. All of these minerals are incredibly important for immune function. Mushrooms also contain unique molecules that help prevent oxidative damage to our DNA cells and proteins (ergothioneine, superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase). Mushrooms are great for fighting inflammation in the body, such as in type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Mushrooms essentially block pro-inflammatory molecules (i.e. inflammation from IL-10, IL-12, and IFN inflammatory molecules).
The antioxidants, vitamins and minerals found in mushrooms make them great for overall cardiovascular support and have been shown to help protect against certain types of cancer. CLA (conjugated linolenic acid) is found in mushrooms and is a type of fatty acid that may bind to cancer cells lessening their ability to produce estrogen. This is particularly beneficial in hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate.
The vitamin D content found in mushrooms are those that have been exposed to UV lighting, the natural compounds in mushrooms produce vitamin D2. Mushrooms have also been used medicinally for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Nutrient Breakdown of Mushrooms:
*Per 1 cup raw, 100g
- Protein | 3g
- Vitamin D | 5% DV
- Vitamin C | 4% DV
- Vitamin B2 | 24% DV
- Niacin | 18% DV
- Vitamin B5 | 15% DV
- Potassium | 9% DV
- Phosphorus | 9% DV
- Copper | 16% DV
- Selenium | 13% DV
- CLA (conjugated linolenic acid)
How To Use:
Mushrooms can be used raw, roasted or sautéed. They can also be used in dressings, sauces, salads and stir-fry. They’re a great way to mimic a meaty texture for those maintaining a vegan or vegetarian diet.
When cleaning mushrooms, wash by using a wet cloth or paper towel and clean individually instead of rinsing them under water. This keeps the moisture content in mushrooms lower (they’re like little sponges!), which prevents them from turning mushy or going bad.
Some people may be allergic to mushrooms and experience oral allergy syndrome where one may have an itchy throat, nose or ears. Mushrooms may also be an allergen for some and cause anaphylactic shock. The former, oral allergy syndrome, is not as severe as an attack and can be moderately tolerable with some.