The Wonders of Mushrooms
Mushrooms, a type of fungus, is considered a wonder food. You might have seen some growing on a wall or in the corner of a damp room, but the edible types are either farmed or foraged in open spaces. An excellent meat alternative, this dynamic flavored food makes part of a delicious dish on its own or with other accompaniments. It is categorized as a vegetable, is affordable, and contains that sought-after umami taste, making any meal delectable. Only a few are safe to eat raw, so cooking them is the safest bet to gain this food’s nutritional value and range of flavors. It is also very important when they forage, to note the edible ones from the poisonous ones preferably with an experienced picker and with images to compare.
Here is a list of common types of edible mushrooms:
- Button mushrooms
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Oyster mushrooms
- Portobello mushrooms
- Porcini mushrooms
- Lobster mushrooms
- Chanterelle mushrooms
- Clamshell mushrooms
- Hedgehog mushrooms
- Morel mushrooms
- Maitake mushrooms
- Cremini mushrooms
Mushrooms have many health benefits and are filled with rich plant proteins and numerous nutrients. They help boost your mood and are a great addition to weight management given their dense nutrition and low calories. The following stand out in this amazing wonder food:
To protect your cells from free radicals, a diet rich in these compounds is essential. The antioxidants found in mushrooms called selenium help to protect your cells from aging as well as strengthen your immune system which prevents heart disease and cancer. Mushrooms are some of the richest sources of selenium.
When grown under sunlight or UV lights, mushrooms are one of the few food sources of vitamin D. This essential nutrient is mainly synthesized through sun exposure on our skin. Mushrooms have the ability to synthesize vitamin D and make it readily available as a food source. Adding them to your meals will give a boost to your immunity, bone, and heart health as well as help keep away seasonal colds and flu. Mushrooms are also rich in B vitamins; riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid essential for heart health, nerve and neuron function.
Mushrooms contain a great amount of potassium which is important for heart, nerve, and muscle function. Potassium regulates fluid balance and therefore helps reduce water retention as well as lower blood pressure. This helps to protect your body against stroke, kidney stones, and osteoporosis. Another mineral found in plenty of mushrooms is copper. It helps to maintain healthy bones and nerves as well as transporting oxygen around the body.
Dietary fibre helps to maintain bowel health. By including mushrooms in your food intake, you will increase the amount of beta-glucan. This soluble dietary fibre helps improve the levels of good cholesterol and regulates blood sugar which boosts heart health and lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes. This will ensure a longer and healthier life.
With all of these benefits, it would be a pity to leave them out of your meals. They are easy to cook and do well sauteed on a pan, mixed in stir-fries, added in sandwiches, topped on bread and pizza, made in soups or sauces, grilled on a barbeque, put in salads, stuffed and baked and so much more. To store them, they need a cool environment in a breathable bag or container. They also keep producing vitamin D if stored by a window with some sunlight for a couple of hours.
Simple recipe – sauteed garlic mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
- 1 punnet of button mushrooms, sliced evenly
- 3 cloves of chopped garlic
- 4 spring onions
- Salt and pepper
- Heat the oil on medium heat in a pan until hot and add the sliced mushroom and garlic, saute for about 3 minutes
- Add salt and pepper to your taste and keep stirring, then cover with a lid to allow moisture from the mushrooms to be released
- After 2 minutes, remove the lid and let the mushrooms cook for not more than 5 minutes on medium-high heat
- Remove from heat and add chopped spring onions, check for seasoning and enjoy!