Mushrooms make a healthy addition to any meal as a main dish or side. These natural wonders have been used for thousands of years by different cultures for their medicinal and nutritional properties. There are over 14,000 species of mushrooms - meaning there is a huge variety to try! Different mushrooms have unique flavors, textures, appearances and nutrients which make them a great addition to any diet. Mushrooms aren’t only a side dish - try a portobello mushroom burger or one of our other recipes for some healthy nutrients in your life!
1. Health Benefits of Mushrooms
1. Eating mushrooms can help you lose weight!
How many calories are in a serving of mushrooms?
This can depend on the type of mushroom! One cup (70g) of raw white mushrooms only contains 15.4 calories!
What is fiber?
Dietary fiber, also known as roughage, is parts of plant based foods which your body is not able to digest. It is a dietary material consisting of cellulose, lignin, and pectin which are resistant to digestive enzymes. There are two types of fiber.
- Soluble Fiber - This fiber dissolves in water to a gelatinous material. It is beneficial in lowering cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
- Insoluble Fiber - This fiber promotes movement of materials through your digestive tract. This benefits constipation and people who are trying to lose weight.
Mushrooms are extremely fibrous. So much so, that some people argue that mushrooms shouldn’t be eaten raw!
How does fiber help benefit my weight loss?
Foods that are high in fiber are more filling than low fiber foods. These “energy dense” are considered to have fewer calories than other foods of the same volume because they take longer to eat and are full of nutrients. While fiber alone doesn’t burn fat, high fiber foods take longer for your body to digest. Raspberries are low in calories, and relatively high in fiber, making them a great weight loss food!
How can I incorporate mushrooms into my diet to lose weight?
If you eat red meat, this is for you! Research has found that mushrooms as a supplement for red meat helps to increase weight loss. A year long trial consisting of 73 obese individuals found that the group which supplemented just one meal a day with a vegetarian substitute of white mushrooms lost 3.6% of their initial weight from this simple change! It was also found that patients who stuck with the “one meal mushroom substitution” kept the weight off after the study.
Another study showed that portobello mushrooms have an impressive weight loss effect in women because of their dense phytonutrient content and the amino acid ergothioneine. The combination of these two factors helps the body stabilize blood glucose levels, as well as balance hormones.
EAT SMARTER TAKE AWAY: Try adding some mushrooms to your diet to promote healthy weight loss! Go vegetarian for one meal a day, or simply incorporate these low calorie filling morsels into your diet for their nutritional benefits.
2. Disadvantages of Mushrooms
1. Make sure you buy quality mushrooms, they can be easily contaminated, which can cause food poisoning!
How can mushrooms get contaminated?
While this problem is less present in modern day production, mushrooms can easily be contaminated by food borne bacteria. Just like any other food product, mushrooms can give you food poisoning when they are exposed to improper production conditions.
The problem used to be commonly related to the compost mushrooms are grown in. As a fungus, mushrooms get their nutrients from whatever they grow in or on. When mushrooms are grown in compost that hasn’t been sterilized they can make you very ill. Considering they get their nutrients from the soil or whatever food source they are on, mushrooms can also be susceptible to contamination from bad water. With modern day sterilization techniques, this is becoming less of a problem, though sometimes it does occur.
Another common way mushrooms can become contaminated is the second part of production, through cross contamination. Mushrooms are fragile, and can have paper thin gills below their caps that can easily store debris and bacteria. After harvest mushrooms can be contaminated during handling, transport or storage. (Just like any other food, they can also receive cross contamination from unsanitary cooking conditions.)
One of the bacterias that commonly infects mushrooms and can be avoided through proper production and storage is campylobacter jejuni, which is one of the common causes of food poisoning in the United States. This bacteria is rarely life threatening, but it can definitely put you ill out for a day or more which stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting.
How do I avoid mushroom contamination?
The best way to avoid mushroom contamination is by purchasing fresh produce and making sure you wash your mushrooms thoroughly!
Buy mushrooms that are fresh, and still feel smooth and velvety. Click here for advice on how to purchase good quality mushrooms. Do not buy “slimy” feeling mushrooms, or any mushrooms that look like they are molded. Avoid washing or rinsing your mushrooms until they are ready for use - it will encourage the growth of mold!
Make sure you rinse your mushrooms thoroughly, including the delicate gills that are located below the mushroom cap. This is a place many people miss. The dirt found on the cap of the mushroom is not the only place it will be! Remember that mushrooms are commonly grown in compost - you definitely want to wash them.
As with any canned product, make sure that the product isn’t damage and the expiration date is still good.
EAT SMARTER TAKE AWAY: As with any other food product, mushrooms can cause food poisoning when they aren’t produced or handled appropriately. Keep in mind that mushrooms get their nutrients from the soil or whatever product they are grown on, so we advise getting organic mushrooms. Be sure to wash your mushrooms thoroughly, making sure you rinse the area under the cap of the mushroom as well.
3. Top 100 Mushroom Recipes
4. Mushroom Recipes in Video
Mushrooms come in many different shapes with a variety of flavors and textures. They can be great eaten alone, as a meat substitute, and make a delicious addition to other meals. This fungi provides a boost of nutrients and can add some color to your favorite dish! Try some of these delicious mushroom recipes to add some healthy nutrients in your life. Keep in mind there is an enormous variety of mushrooms, so if you don’t like the flavor or texture of one particular kind there are numerous types to try!
5. About Mushrooms
What is a mushroom?
Mushrooms, also known as toadstools, include a huge variety of fungus that have fleshy and spore bearing bodies. Spore bearing means that the organism produces spores as a form of asexual reproduction. Mushrooms are usually found above ground or living on another organism that becomes the mushrooms food source.
When you think of a mushroom you usually think of the common mushroom, Agaricus bisporus, which has a stem, cap and gills. However, many other types of fungi share the name “mushroom” and may not have the same typical appearance. There is an entire science to the identification of mushrooms because there are so many different species. You need to be very careful when picking wild mushrooms because there is a large variety of toxic species.
Scientists have identified over 14,000 species of mushrooms, and continue identifying more every year.
What kinds of mushrooms can you buy?
There is an enormous amount of mushrooms in the world! However, many are not edible and can be toxic to humans. Keep this in mind if you are picking wild mushrooms. Here is a list of a few popular varieties of mushrooms used in different recipes. Keep in mind you can find a wider variety of mushrooms at your local farmers market. Different mushrooms can have a wide variety of taste and texture, so be sure to keep your mind open and give them a try!
6. Mushrooms VS Cauliflower
Though mushrooms and cauliflower are an entirely different plant, cauliflower can provide the same meaty texture that mushrooms are known for. Paired together, they compliment each other beautifully. Neither are high in calories, and both contain a significant amount of water, so which is better? Our vote is that they are a tie. Both contain moderate amounts of vitamins and minerals considering they are so low in calories - though cauliflower does contain a significant amount of Vitamin C. When it comes down to nutrients per calorie, cauliflower might be a head by a little, but mushrooms are definitely close behind.
7. History of Mushrooms
An ancient food, enjoyed by food connoisseurs and used in spiritual practices.
An intoxicating fungus that can be both delectable and deadly.
The word mushroom is thought to be derived from the Anglo-French word musherun. The modern spelling of the word mushroom is thought to have appeared around the 1560’s. It is unsure if the word mushroom is derived from the meaning of “moss”, “mould” or “fungi”, though we now know that fungi makes the most sense!
Origins of the Mushroom
Mushrooms have been prominent in cultures all over the world. While Europe may have been the leaders in the cultivation of mushrooms, other people have used a variety of mushrooms for thousands of years. While historians are unsure of where mushrooms originally come from, they do know that they were popular with ancient cultures. Edible mushrooms have been found in archeological sites in Chile which date back to over 13,000 years! Ancient Chinese, Greek and Roman civilizations also relations to edible mushrooms. (Actually, Roman emperors used to have taste testers to ensure the mushrooms they were going to eat were edible!)
While the common white button mushroom is the most popular mushroom eaten, one always thinks of the “psychedelic” and hallucinogenic mushroom that became popular in the 60’s. These hallucinogenic mushrooms, Amanita muscaria, have been used in religious and spiritual practices for years. Vikings, siberians, and other cultures used these mushrooms for religious reasons across the globe. These mushrooms were also used in Ancient Mexico. So why do these mushrooms give people such vivid hallucinations? We now know that the compounds psilocybin and psilocin are the instigators.
8. Q&A About Mushrooms
How do you pronounce the word mushroom?
What are mushrooms?
Mushrooms are member of the fungus kingdom. All mushrooms are fungus, but not all types of fungus are mushrooms.
What are mushroom spores?
Mushroom spores are similar to pollen and seeds - they are the form of reproduction for mushrooms.
Do mushrooms require sunlight to grow?
No, they do not. Mushrooms are a type of fungus which are aerobic. They need oxygen, and get their nutrients from other sources (just like people!).
Do I need to wash mushrooms before I eat them?
Yes! However, some mushrooms come pre-washed. Make sure you wash your mushrooms because they are typically grown in compost.
Why buy organic mushrooms?
Like many other fruits and vegetables, mushrooms can be grown in compost that uses pesticides and other chemicals to avoid having critters like insects and mice eating them, as well as stop other fungal infections and other sicknesses ruin a crop. Mushrooms are fairly high in pesticide contamination, so we recommend you buy organic if you can!
9. Nutritional Information
This is the nutritional information for 1 cup (70 g) of raw white mushrooms!
|Calories 15.4||Calories from Fat 2|
|Total Fat 0.2g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g|
|Monounsaturated Fat 0.0g|
|Total Carbohydrates 2.3g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber 0.7g||3%|
|Folate 11.2%||Riboflavin 17%|
|Niacin 13%||Copper 11%|
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