Favored in salads and soups for their earthy, smoky and meaty taste, edible mushrooms are found in every supermarket. Long considered healthful for their medicinal properties, shiitake, enokitake, maitake and oyster mushrooms have been part of the Asian diet for centuries. In the United States, mushrooms are produced in every state, but Pennsylvania accounts for 61% of the country’s mushroom production. Although considered a vegetable, mushrooms are fungi.
These are some good reasons to become a mycophile:
A 3-oz serving of mushrooms (about 5 medium mushrooms) has just 20 calories. Cut almost half the calories of your pasta or rice dishes by adding mushrooms. A cup of cooked rice or pasta has 240 calories. Replace half the pasta or rice with mushrooms and shave 100 calories off the dish. Lighten the calorie and fat content of meatloaf by substituting some of the ground meat with finely chopped mushrooms.
Add Flavor without Adding Extra Salt
Mushrooms are a good source of “umami” (pronounced oo-MAH-mee). Umami, a Japanese word, can be translated as pleasant savory taste. Umami rich foods add a special bold flavor to foods reducing the amount of salt needed without having to sacrifice taste. Because umami boasts the taste of low-sodium foods, adding mushrooms to your favorite dish will decrease the overall salt content of the meal.
Boost your Mineral and Mineral Content
A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry [i] found that white and portabella mushrooms are a good source of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and copper. The American Heart Association recommends including foods rich in potassium to manage blood pressure. The recommended daily dose of potassium for adults is 4,700mg. So how do mushrooms compare to bananas, a well-known food source of potassium? A 3-oz serving of cooked, boiled mushroom [ii] has 300mg of potassium and a medium banana[iii] has 422mg of potassium. Low vitamin D levels have been associated with increased risk of a plethora of conditions including diabetes. Recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 600 IU. Mushrooms are one of the few good plant sources of Vitamin D. Half-cup of shiitake mushrooms have 20 IU of vitamin D.
[i] J. Agric. Food Chem., 2001, 49 (5), pp 2343–2348 DOI: 10.1021/jf001525d
[ii] http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2483/2 accessed 3-14-2014
[iii] http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1846/2 accessed 3-14-2014
Additional information http://mushroominfo.com/research/ accessed 3-14-2014