Mushrooms have been part of the human diet since the beginning of time. They grow nearly everywhere in the world and are plentiful in moist, dark, environments. Mushrooms are commonly thought of as vegetables, but in reality, they are a type of fungi with many unique health benefits.
There are many types of commonly available mushrooms that can be found in your local grocery store! Below I will discuss some of the best mushrooms for a healthy diet.
Different mushrooms will have different benefits, but most store-bought mushrooms will have similar nutrient values. Nutrients commonly found in mushrooms include: riboflavin, niacin, copper, selenium, potassium, and many other trace metals and minerals found in the local soil. Aside from their vitamin and mineral content, many mushrooms are also a good source of beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is a carbohydrate that has powerful immune modulating effects. This, and other constituents found in mushrooms have been shown to improve immunity, increase energy, and even have some anti-tumor properties.
Here are some of the healthiest mushrooms that you will find in most grocery stores:
- Shiitake Mushrooms – Contain a substance called Lentinan that has been shown to have anti-tumor and liver protective properties.
- Turkey Tail Mushrooms – One of the most commercially studied mushrooms, it has been shown to improve immune function in cancer patients.
- Oyster Mushrooms – Contain high-levels of Vitamin D and Potassium which can improve immune function.
- Portobello and Button Mushrooms- Contain high-levels of copper and selenium which provide a strong antioxidant action and prevent neurodegenerative disease.
One of the wonderful things about mushrooms is that they are not restricted to seasonal availability. Because most mushrooms found in your local shop are cultivated, not wild, they are available year-round!
Now that we know mushrooms are great for you, we need to find ways to include them in our diet. The following is one of my favorite recipes for any sort of mushroom you can find locally. These sautéed mushrooms are great on steak, baked potato, or my favorite option, as a breakfast accompaniment.
Savoury Sautéed Mushrooms
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
1 lb. mushrooms of choice, sliced *
1 clove garlic, crushed, then sliced
1 Tbsp. red wine
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire or Teriyaki sauce, or to taste
Ground black or mixed pepper, to taste
Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat; add the mushrooms and cook until tender. Add garlic, cooking wine, Worcestershire sauce and pepper; sauté for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy as a side dish or topping for steak, potatoes, eggs or anything that you like.
*You can mix any of your favorite variety of mushrooms in this recipe