When I was growing up, I was told that there were very few mushroom health benefits. Everything I was taught said that there was a bit of zinc in them and very little else. Still, my family ate them because they were cheap, and they tasted good. Now, I’m always reading about how they’re practically superfoods. They’re being made into coffees, powdered to be added to smoothies, and just overall praised for incredible nutritional advantages.
Why is Everyone Going Nuts over Mushroom Health Benefits?
Though mushroom health benefits are typically lumped into the veggie section, both by nutritionists and in the grocery store. That said, they’re not technically plants. They’re fungi. They have a stem and cap and come in a surprising number of shapes and sizes as well as colors, textures and flavors.
Note: I’m focusing on culinary mushrooms for this blog post. I know there are functional options that are used medicinally (or even as a hallucinogenic), but that’s not the purpose of this post.
Among my favorite mushroom health benefits are that they are:
- Low in calories
- Taste great (that’s my opinion)
- A great source of vitamin D (when raised with UV exposure)
- Other vitamins, minerals and even antioxidants (B vitamins, copper, selenium and potassium, for example)
Advantages of Eating them Regularly
Among the mushroom health benefits you can enjoy from eating them regularly includes:
- Lower blood pressure
- Immune system support
- Weight loss support
- Great overall nutrition
How to Add More Mushrooms to Your Diet to Enjoy Their Benefits
If you love mushrooms, it’s easy to add them to your diet. Add them to salads, sauté them in a pan, grill a portobello instead of a burger patty, or top them on your pizza. If your family isn’t big on fungi, your food processor and some herbs will make all the difference. These will help you work them into pasta sauces or mix them in with ground beef, chicken, or pork to make burgers out of them. It’s super easy to tuck them into foods without experiencing their flavor or spongy texture, if that’s what’s turning you off.
How to Clean Them
One of the best ways to get the most out of mushroom health benefits is in properly preparing them. Most of the steps are obvious, except the cleaning part. Many people run them under water, but adding the excess moisture isn’t a good idea for making sure they are as clean and nutrient dense as possible. Instead, wipe them down with a slightly damp paper towel or clean washable cloth. As you do, be sure that they feel firm, relatively dry, and don’t contain mold.