When I was growing up, I didn’t like mushrooms. My mom didn’t like them, and by default, I didn’t either. When she did buy them for my dad, they were canned. And canned mushrooms are kinda disgusting.
When I went vegetarian in the early 90s, I decided to try them out of curiosity and I discovered that I really liked them. My mom would smell them cooking and ask to try them. I once heard her tell someone that she didn’t like mushrooms unless I cooked them, and I had to explain to her that I wasn’t doing anything special, and that I suspected what she actually didn’t like were the kind from a can, but I don’t think she listened.
These days, mushrooms are a mainstay in my diet and I eat them several times a week. And with good reason – not only do they have umami, which is a flavor that a lot of vegetables are lacking, but they are also packed full of nutrients. There are thousands of varieties of mushrooms, but only about 100 have been studied for their health benefits. Because they have tough cell walls, they should be cooked before eating. Heating them before eating will health release the vitamins and minerals they contain.
Here Are 10 Reasons To Love Mushrooms:
- They’ll Keep You Regular – They are full of fiber, which is crucial for keeping the bowls regular and for flushing toxins out of the body.
- They Can Lower Blood Sugar – The high fiber content of mushrooms, along with their natural insulin and enzymes, have been shown to help improve blood sugar levels in diabetics.
- They’re Good for Heart Health – The fiber, potassium, and vitamin C in mushrooms are all good for the heart. These nutrients work together to regulate blood pressure and lower cholesterol.
- They Can Help with Weight Management – Another benefit to the high fiber content of mushrooms is that the body will feel satiated longer, resulting in less of an appetite.
- They’ll Give Your Immune System a Boost – They contain beta-glucan, which can protect against colds, the flu, and other viruses. They also contain selenium, which can boost the body’s production of killer T-cells. Shiitake, portobello, oyster and reishi mushrooms contain lentinan, which can help stimulate the immune system.
- They’re Known to Fight Cancer – The immune boosting compounds in mushrooms are known to fight cancer cells and prevent tumors from forming. Studies have shown that eating mushrooms on a regular can decreased the risk of breast, stomach, bladder and colon cancers. White buttons in particular have been shown to significantly suppress breast cancer growth.
- They’re Full of Antioxidants – Antioxidants are substances that fight free radicals in the body, and mushrooms are loaded with them!
- They Can Speed Up the Metabolism – They are chock-full of B vitamins, which help the body turn food into fuel. They can also help the body metabolize fats and proteins.
- They Contain Vitamin D – They are the only vegetable that contains vitamin D. Just like humans, they produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is crucial for calcium absorption and immune function, among other things.
- They’re Delicious – They are also a good source of umami, which is known as the fifth taste. Umami often described as the savory or meaty ‘mouth-filling’ taste, which a lot of foods in the plant world are missing.
What are you favorite ways to cook mushrooms?