I know I say it and I’m sure you have heard others say it, “when eating fruits and veggies, pick the colorful produce because they are the most nutrient-dense.” While this statement is very true, it unfortunately leaves out a very plainly colored, but healthy veggie, the mushroom. People enjoy mushrooms for its versatility in foods, from a pizza topping, to an ingredient in soup, pastas, meat dishes, and more.
Mushrooms offer many essential nutrients (a nutrient required for normal body functioning that cannot be synthesized by the body and thus must be obtained from a dietary source), including:
- B vitamins riboflavin and niacin
- Pantothenic acid
- Plus antioxidants selenium and ergothioneine
- A good amount of potassium
- White button mushrooms are a surprising and commonly unrecognized source of vitamin D
The mushroom provides you with all these great nutrients and only 20 calories!
As mentioned above, mushrooms provide you with selenium, but according to the American Dietetic Association, mushrooms are actually the leading source of selenium in the fruit and veggie aisle. This powerful antioxidant (selenium) helps fight off dangerous free radicals that are responsible for cellular damage, which contributes to cancer and other chronic diseases.
To incorporate this nutrient-dense veggie, try some of the following recipe ideas:
- Slice and sauté mushrooms to top a pizza, pasta dish, omelet or have a mushroom quesadilla
- Sautéed veggies go great with cooked poultry, beef, or veggie dishes
- In place of a hamburger, try a Portabella cap veggie burger
Remember there are a variety of mushrooms to pick from and add to your meals. Some include white button mushrooms, brown (crimini) mushrooms, Portabellas, enoki mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, maitakes, and shiitake mushrooms. Try them all to find your favorites.
More information on mushrooms can be found in a PDF from the American Dietetic Association website.