The Magic of the Mushroom
Mushrooms are in a world of their own. This world is known as the fungi kingdom. Fungi have created a symbiotic with the plants to which they share the same soil. The job of fungal species is very complex and plays a vital role in the growth of a healthy forest.
Commonly referred to as a functional food, mushrooms provide many important nutrients. They contain an abundance of antioxidants, vitamin D, dietary fibres as well as vitamin B’s. Mushrooms also contain selenium, iron, copper, potassium and phosphorus.
Nutritional Breakdown of the Mushroom
- Beta Glucans. This is a type of fibre found in the cell walls of many different types of mushrooms. Recent studies have examined the role these fibres play in improving insulin resistance as well as improving blood cholesterol levels. They have also be looked at in terms of improving immune function and lowering obesity;1
- Choline. Mushrooms contain an important nutrient called choline. This nutrient supports sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. It also can reduce chronic inflammation2 and aids in the transmission of nerve impulses;
- Mushroom is the only vegan food that supplies bioavailable, non-fortified vitamin D.
How to Integrate Mushrooms into Your Diet
When buying mushrooms from your local supermarket or fruit shop, make sure they are firm, dry, unbruised and unwrinkled. Store your mushrooms in the refrigerator and only wash them directly prior to use.
- Sauté mushrooms with some onions for a quick and easy snack or side dish;
- Add mushroom raw to any salad;
- Stuff your portabella mushroom with any of your favourite filling, sprinkle some cheese on the top and bake until cheese is golden brown;
- Grill sliced portabella mushrooms and enjoy them on sandwiches or in wraps.
Betting on beta-glucans. Webb, PhD, RD, Denise, Today’s Dietitian, Vol. 16 No. 5 P. 16. Accessed 17 June 2014;
Choline. Nutrition 411, Last reviewed December 2008, Accessed 13 February 2014.
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