Mushrooms are one of those foods that people either absolutely love or really can’t stand. I for one love mushrooms. They’re known as the “meat” of the veggie world because of their distinct flavor and texture. Funny thing is, they’re neither a meat nor a vegetable. Mushrooms are actually a type of fungus. Many are edible, but there are some mushroom varieties that are actually poisonous. So it’s important that only individuals who are knowledgeable of mushroom identification gather and eat mushrooms found in the wild. The mushrooms found in the supermarket or farmer’s market have likely been grown in a controlled and sterilized environment, like on a mushroom farm.
Mushrooms are an excellent vegetable to include in a diet when focusing on weight loss and weight management. Raw mushrooms are mostly water (about 92 percent). Because of their high water content, they really only provide about 22 calories per 100 gram serving. That means you can eat just about as many mushrooms as you want and still not put a dent in your calorie intake!
Despite their low calorie level, they are certainly a rich source of other key nutrients, like B vitamins and copper. They even offer vitamin C, zinc, and potassium. Mushrooms are also one of the few plant sources we can get vitamin D from. The human body can make vitamin D in response to sunlight. Just like humans, mushrooms, even the picked ones, do a similar function. Therefore mushrooms that have been exposed to sunlight are an excellent way to get a plant-based source of vitamin D.
Mushrooms are very versatile in the kitchen. There are many kinds of mushrooms to choose from, including white, shiitake, and portabella, just to name a few. Depending on the type of mushroom you pick up at the market, their flavor can be more mild, meaty or earthy. Aside from the many types of mushrooms to choose from, mushrooms can be used in the kitchen in various ways. They can be grilled, stuffed, breaded, fried, roasted, braised, and sauteed.
So it’s time to shake things up a bit in the kitchen. If you haven’t tasted mushrooms in a while, check ‘em out. Remember that our taste buds change frequently and foods that we’ve previously disliked will likely be more palatable as we age.
So get out of your cooking rut and start experimenting with this earthy and delicious ingredient. How do you like to prepare mushrooms? Leave a comment below and let us know!