When I was young, I didn’t think I liked mushrooms. It’s possible that the reason behind it was that my mom didn’t like them, and by default, I didn’t either. Or it could be because when she did buy them for my dad, they were canned. And canned anything taste awful.
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. 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, they’re are a mainstay in my diet and I eat them several times a week. And with good reason – not only do mushrooms 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 these tasty fungi, 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 help release the vitamins and minerals they contain.
These tasty vegetables are so good that even have their own “holiday.” Did you know that April 16th is The Day of Mushroom?
Here Are 10 Reasons To Eat More 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 button mushrooms 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 – Mushrooms 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.
- Here are 10 Ways to Enjoy Mushrooms:
Creamy Cannellini Mushroom Stroganoff – Meaty criminis replace the traditional beef in this stroganoff recipe.
Lemon-Dijon Tempeh and Mushrooms – This dish doesn’t take long to prepare, so it’s good for a busy weeknight, but it looks fancy enough to serve to guests at a weekend dinner party.
Spinach Mushroom Quiche – This dish is always perfect for a weekend brunch.
Mushroom and Arugula Filo Crust Pizza – Mushrooms are an ultimate pizza topping, and they pair well with cashew ricotta and arugula in this recipe.
Spinach Mushroom Omelet – Spinach and Mushrooms are a favorite food combination of mine, and this omelet is a favorite breakfast!
Cajun French Fry Po’ Boy with Vegan Mushroom Gravy – This recipe from Vegan Cooking in Your Air Fryer by Kathy Hester makes the ultimate sandwich!
Stuffed Mushrooms – I always make this appetizer for the holidays. I skipped them on year, and I thought my guests were going to revolt!
Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Tart – This recipe is always a favorite at potlucks. In fact, it won Best Main Dish in the 2014 Virtual Vegan Potluck!
Cauliflower Marsala – Mushrooms and marsala wine are a match made in heaven.
Temeph Fricassee with Wild Mushrooms – This dish is warm and comforting, and pairs perfectly with mashed potatoes in cooler weather.
What’s your favorite way to cook mushrooms?