Categorised as vegetable in stores and as fungi in books, mushrooms are what you make out of them. Most of us are accustomed to using mushrooms in numerous dishes, mostly as appetizers. But its huge array of health benefits are often overshadowed by its incredible taste.
All edible mushrooms contain adequate amounts of protein, dietary fiber, high levels of Vitamin B6, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin C, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorous, Potassium and the powerful antioxidant selenium.
Similar to whole foods like tomatoes and peppers, mushrooms too are high in antioxidants, which help reduce free radicals in the body. Free radicals harm our body cells, which can eventually lead to cancer. Mushroom also contains a rare mineral selenium, which detoxifies cancerous compounds, and decreases tumor growth rates by reducing inflammations.
Mushrooms also play a huge role in preventing breast cancer and prostate cancer. The Beta-glucans and conjugated Linoleic acid present in mushrooms have anti-carcinogenic effects. These help suppress estrogen which is the main reason of breast cancer, and slows down growth of cancerous cells in prostate cancer.
CONTRIBUTES TO A HEALTHY HEART
All the fiber, vitamin C and potassium in mushrooms help regulate a healthy heart by controlling the blood pressure. Mushrooms with high potassium and low sodium levels can help lower blood pressure, and reduce risks of cardiovascular diseases.
Also certain fibre and enzymes present in mushrooms help reduce cholesterol.
LOSING WEIGHT IN A HEALTHY WAY
Consuming lots of dietary fiber to lose weight is common. Mushrooms contain two types of dietary fibres, beta-glucans and chitin, helping to speed up the process without making the weight loss unhealthy. They help reduce appetite while making you feel full for much longer.
Anemia occurs when there is a lack of iron in the blood and usually results in headaches, bad digestion and fatigue. Mushrooms are rich in iron, and the best part is that almost all of it can be easily absorbed by the body. This iron helps in making red and white blood cells and provides energy for the body.
Besides these, consuming mushrooms helps prevent diabetes. The natural insulin and enzymes in mushrooms help break down sugar and starch, while some compounds ensure insulin production.
Mushrooms are also one of the only non-meat sources of Vitamin D. The vitamin helps in better absorption of calcium and phosphorus.
Incorporate mushrooms into your daily routine with any of these following recipes and live a bit healthier.
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup onions, sliced
1 cup sliced leeks, halved and sliced
¾ cup sliced celery
3 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped (approx. 1 and ½ tbsp)
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 pounds mushrooms, rinsed and thickly sliced*
6 cups chicken stock (or approx. 3 (14.5 ounce) cans)
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp cracked black pepper
Melt butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add carrots, onions, leeks, celery and garlic. Cook and stir until tender, but not browned, approximately 10 minutes. Add thyme, mushrooms, chicken stock, salt and pepper. Heat until a soft boil, then turn down to low heat, cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
Remove from heat, ladle into bowls, and serve.
GARLIC STUFFED MUSHROOMS
20 Button Mushrooms
1 cup grated Cheddar Cheese (120g)
2 tbsp un-salted butter, at room temperature
5 garlic cloves
⅛ cup fresh flat leaf parsley
Salt and black pepper to taste
In a small bowl, combine minced garlic, finely chopped parsley, pepper, cheese and butter. Clean the mushrooms and remove the stems. Do this carefully so you do not break the mushrooms. Season each mushroom with salt and black pepper and fill with the prepared garlic stuffing. Place them onto a baking tray lined with a sheet of baking parchment. Bake in a preheated oven at 375°F/190°C for 15 minutes. Enjoy warm or cold!
Recipes are collected
Photo: LS Archive/Sazzad Ibne Sayed