Though classified as vegetables in the food world, mushrooms are actually fungi and not technically plants.
Still, mushrooms provide many of the nutritional attributes of produce, as well as attributes more commonly found in meat, beans or grains.
- Mushrooms are the only fruit or vegetable source of vitamin D.
- Like most fungi, mushrooms offer a unique variety of phytonutrients, including their well-known beta-glucan polysaccharides (lentinan and laminarin), a cholesterol-lowering nutrient called eritadenine, as well as the recently discovered amino acid-like nutrient, ergothioneine.
- The phytonutrients in mushrooms aid white blood cells in immune system support to keep us healthy.
- Mushrooms contain just as high an antioxidant capacity as carrots, tomatoes, green and red peppers, pumpkins, green beans, and zucchini.
- While it varies between types, they are typically an excellent source of copper, pantothenic acid and selenium. They are also a very good source of vitamin B2 and zinc. Additionally they are a good source of manganese, vitamin B6, niacin, choline, dietary fiber, vitamin D and folate.
Best Ways to Use
- Dried mushrooms made are a great addition to soups and salads to scrambled eggs and pasta sauces.
- Dice mushrooms into small pieces and cook in a pan with oil, season with salt, pepper, and other desired spices, add to pasta sauce, sprinkle over pizza, or enjoy however you would ground beef.
- Remove the stem of a Portobello mushroom and you’re left with something that can be used as a burger bun or mini-pizza base