By Meghann McMillan
The mushroom, a fruiting body of spore bearing fungi has been recognized as one of the top superfoods. A superfood is a food that very nutrient dense, contains properties that contribute to good health and wellbeing as well as the ability to help prevent many diseases. Mushrooms are fully loaded with essential nutrients, antioxidants and health promoting properties.
Mushrooms contain riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, copper, chromium and selenium. When exposed to sunlight or ultraviolet (UV) light, mushrooms naturally generate vitamin D and become a good source of this important vitamin. In a country where low levels of vitamin D is becoming a very common and major issue, mushrooms are something people should be consuming more of. Mushrooms also contain fiber and protein and are low in calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium; an overall healthy food choice!
With cold and flu season approaching, it is important to consume more mushrooms. Why, you ask? Because mushrooms are known for their antiviral and immune enhancing properties. Whether you are fighting off a cold or preventing getting sick all together this season, mushrooms are always a good choice. These powerful fungi also have anti-cancer properties as well as cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar lowering properties. Mushrooms are a good choice for those following a heart healthy diet.
You can find a wide variety of mushrooms at your local grocery store or farmers market. Some of the more popular types including shitake, enoki, oyster, portobello and button. These mouthwatering mushrooms can be added to salads, soups and stir fries; topped on pizzas, burgers and sandwiches. They can be sautéed, baked or stuffed and are often used as a meat replacer due to their tender and meaty texture. The possibilities are endless and the health benefits of this superfood are immense.