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Mushrooms - the latest superfood

by Wendy Martin (follow)
Nutrition (265)      Healthy Foods (75)     
While people always seem to be on the lookout for the latest and greatest in food choices, mushrooms are becoming one of the latest foods to become trendy.

While they've been used in diets and even medicines for centuries, it's no surprise that they pack a lot of power when it comes to health benefits.

white button mushrooms
Mushroom are being resurrected as an old favourite/new superfood. Image credit Jonni Boi/sxc.hu

Mushrooms contain between 80 and 90 per cent water, are low in sodium, low in fat as well as calories, and they are nutrient dense. These things alone make them an excellent choice for those who are counting calories or watching their weight.

Additionally, mushrooms are gluten-free, cholesterol free, and full of potassium (which is great if you're watching your blood pressure).

white button mushrooms
A portabella mushroom is packed full of nutrients. Image credit: Leo Synapse/sxc.hu

Just one average sized portabella mushroom contains more potassium than a regular sized banana. They are also full of B vitamins (great for the nervous and digestive systems), iron (good for vegans/vegetarians and red blood cells), copper (helps makes red blood cells), and selenium (good for prostate gland function and helps reduce prostate cancer).

Mushrooms are also the only grown food that contains natural vitamin D, which can help bone strengthening. Combined with calcium that is also found in mushrooms, they can help with joint pain and preventing osteoporosis.

Mushrooms such as the shiitake and oyster variety also contain beta-glucans which assist your body in stimulating the immune system.

Some nutritionists have recommended mushrooms to diabetics, as eating them can sometimes improve their diet with many varieties of mushrooms containing natural insulin. Many species of mushrooms also help protect diabetics from infections to their limbs, as they are a natural antibiotic.

If you're already a mushroom fan, do a bit of research as the wide varieties not only provide a variety of flavours and textures in cooking, but the health benefits also stack up with the different varieties as well.

mushroom pasta
Mushrooms are incredibly versatile and can easily be included into many recipes. Image credit: Superfloss/sxc.hu

Mushrooms are a highly versatile food that can be used in many different recipes. However, make sure you buy them only from food markets and reputable vendors as many types of mushrooms can be poisonous if mistakenly identified.

Try using them in a variety of recipes today and reap the benefits in future.

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