Mushrooms: Your “Go-To” Culinary Superfood
Mushrooms are a fresh, natural superfood that can be used in many ways across the menu. No other food compares to mushrooms in terms of flavor and their versatility as a meat extender, a meat enhancer, a topping, a filling, a side, an appetizer and more. They are a nutrient-dense vegetable that can help you meet the latest dietary guidelines and other government mandates.
Learn more about Meeting Today’s Health Challenges with Mushrooms, A Culinary Superfood.
The focus on the nutritional value of brightly colored fruits and vegetables has unintentionally left mushrooms in the dark. Mushrooms provide a number of nutrients:
Mushrooms are a good source of B vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid, which help to provide energy by breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates2. B vitamins also play an important role in the nervous system.
- Pantothenic acid helps with the production of hormones and also plays an important role in the nervous system2.
- Riboflavin helps maintain healthy red blood cells2.
- Niacin promotes healthy skin and makes sure the digestive and nervous systems function properly2.
- Selenium is a mineral that works as an antioxidant to protect body cells from damage that might lead to heart disease, some cancers and other diseases of aging2. It also has been found to be important for the immune system and fertility in men3. Many foods of animal origin and grains are good sources of selenium, but mushrooms are among the richest sources of selenium in the produce aisle and provide 8-22 mcg per serving4. This is good news for vegetarians, whose sources of selenium are limited.
- Ergothioneine is a naturally occurring antioxidant that also may help protect the body’s cells. Mushrooms provide 2.8-4.9 mg of ergothioneine per serving of white, portabella or crimini mushrooms5.
- Copper helps make red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. Copper also helps keep bones and nerves healthy2.
- Potassium is an important mineral many people do not get enough of. It aids in the maintenance of normal fluid and mineral balance, which helps control blood pressure. It also plays a role in making sure nerves and muscles, including the heart, function properly2. Mushrooms have 98-376 mg of potassium per 84 gram serving, which is 3-11 percent of the Daily Value4.
Umami and Sodium
Mushrooms and ground meat blend seamlessly to add an extra serving of vegetable to the plate by enhancing or extending the meat. It works because finely chopped, umami-rich mushrooms look similar and take on the flavor properties of meat and other flavors. Add nutrients to America’s iconic foods without losing taste or satisfying texture.
Like all fruits and vegetables, mushrooms are naturally gluten free, and make a delicious and nutritious addition to a gluten-free diet.
2Duyff, R. American Dietetic Association’s Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. Third Addition. Wiley & Sons. NJ. 2006.
3National Institutes of Health. Medline Plus.www.nlm.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002414.htm
4U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory. 2009. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 22.www.ars.usda.gov/nutrientdata.
5Dubost, N.J., et al. (2006). Identification and quantification of ergothioneine in cultivated mushrooms by liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 8, 215-22.
6Rop, O., Mlcek, J., & Jurikova, T. (2009). Beta-glucans in higher fungi and their health effects. Nutrition Reviews, 67, 624-631.
7Cheskin LJ, Davis LM, Lipsky LM, Mitola AH, Lycan T, Mitchell V, Mickle B, Adkins E. Lack of energy compensation over 4 days when white button mushrooms are substituted for beef.Appetite. 2008:51;50-57.