Make Room for Mushrooms

by Sharon Quercioli

mushroom-389421_1920-3There are so many different types of mushrooms out there. They come in different sizes, shapes and even different colors. As long as they aren’t poisonous, they’re pretty healthy for you. While they are actually classified as a fungi, mushrooms are often lumped in with the other vegetables when it comes to the culinary arts.

No doubt, it can be dangerous to go out and pick mushrooms in the wild if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Because of that, it is safer to head over to your favorite grocery store. When you get there, you will (more than likely) find at least a couple of the most common types of mushrooms:

  • Maitake
  • Enoki
  • Oyster
  • Button (also called white)
  • Shiitake
  • Portobello
  • Beech

red-417101_1920-3When selecting mushrooms for cooking, make sure that you have the right kind since they all have different tastes and appearances. Choose them by ensuring that they are fairly firm and don’t feel damp when you touch them. Also double check that they are mold free. Keep them in a paper bag inside your fridge. They should keep for about a week. When you are preparing them, lightly rinse them off and make sure to brush off the dirt.

Mushrooms don’t just taste good. They’re also good for you. Not only are they low in calories and sodium, they’re also fat and cholesterol free. They’re also a great source of nutrients.

Boost Your Vitamin D, Copper and B Vitamin Levels

Mushrooms are the only produce item that can be called a good source of vitamin D. Mushrooms are like humans in the way that they can produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.

They are also high in different kinds of B vitamins like pantothenic acid, riboflavin and niacin. This combination of B vitamins is great for your heart. Riboflavin is especially great for the production of red blood cells. Niacin is wonderful for helping add a healthy glow to your skin and great for your digestive system. Pantothenic acid helps your nervous system and aids your body in making the hormones that it needs to function properly.

Copper is great for red blood cells. Red blood cells help bring oxygen to different parts of your body. Copper is also important to helping you maintain a healthy nervous system and healthy bones.


Mushrooms Will Help Your Weight Management

A study found that when you swap red meat for button mushrooms, it helps to enhance your weight loss efforts. The study was done with participants who were the average age of 50 and classified as obese. The control group ate a standard diet (with no mushrooms). It lasted for about a year, at which time the group (not including the control group) lost about 4% of their starting weight. On average, that was about seven pounds.

Remember those B vitamins that I was talking about? They play an important part in turning your food into fuel. In other words, turning carbohydrates into glucose. Your body then turns it into energy by burning it. When you increase your B vitamin intake, you’re kicking up your metabolism.

They Help Your Immune System

The American Society for Nutrition published a study done with mice, which concluded that button mushrooms promoted immune function by increasing the production of proteins. In turn, the proteins act like antivirals to protect and repair the tissues in your body.


Antioxidants to Help Protect Your Body

Antioxidants are the substances that help combat free radicals, which come from the oxidation in your body. When you eat mushrooms that are high in antioxidants, you’re doing something good for your heart. It can even lower the risk of infections. Free radicals can do a lot of damage to the DNA that you have in your healthy cells. They can also damage brain cells. Research has shown that free radicals cause proteins to clump in your brain. Those clumps are called amyloids and are often seen in the brain cells of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Preparing Mushrooms and Incorporating Them into Your Diet

Mushrooms are versatile. You can eat them raw and toss them on top of your salad. Grill them and place them on burgers. Sauté them with vegetables for a great stir fry. Drizzle them with olive oil and roast them with potatoes for an easy side dish. You can skewer them and use them in kabobs. Make a mushroom risotto or use them instead of meat to convert a regular meat dish with a vegan one.


Sausage Stuffed Mushroom

What Types Of Things Will You Need:

  • Pound of mushrooms (about 16 large mushrooms)
  • Half of an onion (minced)
  • One-fourth of a cup of red bell pepper (chopped)
  • Half a pound of Italian sausage
  • Two tablespoons of bread crumbs
  • Two tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
  • One-fourth of a teaspoon of salt
  • One-fourth of a teaspoon of pepper

What Do You Do With These Ingredients:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Take the stems off the caps and chop up the stems.
  3. Sauté the stems, pepper and meat (except for the mushroom caps) over medium heat until the sausage is cooked through. Take it off the heat and mix in the rest of the ingredients. Stuff the caps with the mixture, and place on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake for about twenty minutes or until the mushroom caps are tender.

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