Five Reasons to Include Mushrooms for Better Health
by Linda Conroy
For those who enjoy sautéed mushrooms on their steaks or grilled portabella as a source of protein, they need no convincing to make mushrooms a staple in their diet.
However, there are many more benefits and reasons to turn to mushrooms for better health.
1. Vitamin D – Similar in how humans convert sunlight on their skin to vitamin D, mushrooms do the same thing. Ultimately, you will want to source organic mushrooms that are grown in filtered sunlight, but if those are not available, mushrooms purchased in the store will benefit significantly from spending time in the sun. Simply put your mushrooms in a bowl and set them in a sunny window or outside for an hour or two to allow them to convert the sunlight into vitamin D.
In addition, vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient, so cooking your mushrooms in butter or a healthy oil will help your body assimilate the nutrients into your body.
2. Protein – Mushrooms contains all nine of the essential amino acids required for optimal body function. The only other complete source of these critical nutritional compounds is animal protein.
3. Lung Health – Reishi mushrooms have an affinity for the lungs and are used as a preventative strategy for supporting lung health. This is especially important in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic and for people struggling with asthma. Like many other mushrooms, reishi is an adaptogen, helping to support the immune and adrenal systems during times of stress.
4. Endocrine System – Turkey Tail mushrooms have been shown to be helpful with some types of cancer, specifically those affecting the endocrine system. It has been shown to increase the immune system when given with standard cancer treatment.
5. Brain Health – Lion’s Mane mushroom stimulates nerve growth factor, a protein that promotes healthy brain cells. Lion’s Mane mushroom will help in maintaining cognitive health and reducing brain fog brought on by Lyme’s disease. It is also known as a cognitive enhancer, increasing memory, creativity and motivation.
Though we often see button mushrooms sliced on our salads, eating mushrooms raw can cause severe gastrointestinal upset. They also contain chitin, a fiber that is nearly impossible to digest unless thoroughly cooked. So grab some onions, garlic, thyme and plenty of healthy oil and sauté your favorite fungi.
· 2 tablespoons oil or fat
· 1 lb. mushrooms of your choice, sliced
· 2 whole shallots, scallions or onions, peeled and thinly sliced
· 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
· 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
· 1/4 cup dry wine
· 1 tablespoon Tamari
· 1/4 cup of cultured cream or yogurt
1. Warm oil/fat in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms, shallots and garlic and stir to combine, cooking until mushrooms begin to sweat.
2. Add fresh thyme and wine and stir to combine. Let cook until mushrooms are soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add Tamari and stir again to combine.
3. Transfer mixture to food processor and pulse until a rough purée forms. Add cream. Pulse until a creamy purée forms, season with more tamari, if needed.
4. Transfer to a bowl and serve with baguette, crackers and cheese.