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Mushrooms should be part of your diet!

Posted Mar 06 2010 9:00am


Feature by our Editorial Assistant Colleen

Mushrooms are near and dear to my heart and are a delicious addition to my daily meals.

Most of you have seen the regular white and brown mushrooms (the brown ones are baby portobello mushrooms called cremini) that are in every grocery store but there’s also oyster (thin and oyster-shaped, a personal favourite of mine), portobello (often grilled and used in burgers as a replacement for a patty), porcini (often found dried in North America), shiitake, morels (you’ll easily find these at gourmet shops or you might also find them dried) and reishi mushrooms.

You can cook mushrooms in so many ways. You can grill them, oven-bake them, steam them, and sauté them, my method of choice.

I add mushrooms to many of my dishes as they’re amazingly versatile. I can make a gourmet hamburger by adding fresh sautéed mushrooms, or make a mushroom pasta sauce or just bake them and eat them as a side of their own. They absorb flavours well and are great to cook with.

>>> Here are some more good reasons why you should include mushrooms in your daily diet:

* You can get mushrooms at any time of the year.

* The meaty burger-patty substitute, the portobello mushroom, is a good source of riboflavin (a type of vitamin B) and potassium.

* Some other nutrients you can get from mushrooms are zinc, manganese protein, folate, magnesium, iron and calcium.

* The common button-shaped mushrooms are also a good source of potassium but you have to eat more than one. Eating about five of them should provide you with more potassium than an orange.

* Oyster mushrooms may look a little odd but if you’re looking to eat something high in iron (I’m anemic so this is an important detail that I look for in foods) then these are the right mushrooms for you. You can also purchase them dried to get more iron in your diet.

* Porcini mushrooms are a little stumpy looking and are a light brown colour and packed with potassium, protein, copper and selenium.

* Shiitake mushrooms are also great for fighting HIV and hepatitis B. They are small, white, little thin mushrooms that are delicious in stir fries and noodle soups and great for lowering cholesterol.

* Reishi mushrooms have a very flat and wide top that resembles a clam shell and are great for people with asthma or other respiratory problems because they have anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.

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