The Nutritional Benefits of Mushrooms

By Hannah Callaway and the TLS Team

With a rich, earthy flavor, mushrooms are common in salads, pastas, and on the grill. Stuffed mushrooms are a favorite appetizer and sliced ones appear on thousands of pizza pies every day. Did you know that these yummy little fungi are very beneficial to your health?

Mushrooms have no cholesterol and are very low in carbohydrates as well. Because they are a lean protein, they help to burn additional cholesterols as you digest them. With a high percentage (80-90%!) of water and lots of fiber, mushrooms are also ideal for many diet and healthy eating plans.

Did you know that mushrooms are an antioxidant as well? Mushrooms are a source of Ergothioneine, which helps to protect against free radicals. They are also one of the only foods to contain vitamin D in edible form!

Now that you know about some benefits of eating mushrooms, which ones should you buy? (Note: Never pick wild mushrooms. Many are toxic.) Shiitake mushrooms are common in Asian cuisine and are great in a stir fry. Portobello mushrooms are large and are perfect for a vegetarian sandwich or for putting on the grill. Cremini mushrooms are a bit more flavorful than regular white button mushrooms and are much smaller than portobellos. Use creminis in Italian dishes.

Not sure about the strong mushroom flavor but still want the benefits? Chop up very fine pieces of mushroom and throw them into sauces, vegetable dips, or soups. If you purchase dried mushrooms and hydrate them for a recipe, save the stock and use it in place of chicken broth for your next broth-based recipe.

Mushrooms are a super food that is often overlooked in the nutritional world. What is your favorite mushroom-friendly recipe? Comment and let us know!