Mushrooms. An edible fungus that thrives on the extraction of nutrients from dead and decaying plants. Doesn’t that just sound delicious? Maybe not, but these edible fungi are packed with tons of nutrients making them a top superfood. There’s plenty of health benefits of mushrooms, but I thought I’d run through my top five.
I’d be lying if I said I loved mushrooms, but I find myself cooking with them more and more. While eating an oyster mushroom burger or a stuffed portobello mushroom are not high on my list there are plenty of foods that I can sneak them into to get their nutritional benefit. Brigette, on the other hand, loves mushrooms. A portabello mushroom a day keeps the doctor away (or so she says).
Health benefit of mushrooms #1:
Vitamin D. Finding a serving of Vitamin D in fruits and vegetables is next to impossible, except in Mushrooms. They are the only ‘fresh produce’ that you can cook that is high in vitamin D. Just like humans, mushrooms produce Vitamin D as they are exposed to sunlight, and it gets passed to us as we eat them.
Health benefit of mushrooms #2:
Immune system boosting. Mushrooms assist our body to produce antiviral proteins that are released by our cells. This helps us protect and repair body tissue. Through the consumption of mushrooms, they help our bodies prevent microbial growth and other fungal infections since they carry natural antibiotics.
Health benefit of mushrooms #3:
Vitamin B. We’ve mentioned in other posts the importance of B-12 for vegans, but there are other B vitamins that are great to have in our diets too. These fungi are high in Vitamin B2 and B3 which are vital in helping the body turn food into fuel, subsequently burning it as energy.
Health benefit of mushrooms #4:
Iron. Mushrooms are very high in iron, and they also contain copper. Copper helps your body absorb iron, meaning over 90% of the mushrooms nutritional iron content can be absorbed by your body.
Health benefit of mushrooms #5:
Calcium. Mushrooms are high in calcium, and they also aid our bodies to absorb and metabolize calcium. This is an important function for someone on a vegan diet.
If mushrooms aren’t something that you’re currently cooking with try adding them to your next dish. Mushrooms work great in fajitas, stir-fries, salads, on avocado toast and so much more. Cooking with mushrooms on a plant-based diet is definitely important because you really need to cook with a variety of fresh produce to get all the nutrients you need. I’ve also found that mushrooms give a lot of recipes an added texture that you can sometimes miss eating a plant-based diet.
Whatever your feelings may be on the taste of mushrooms on their own, there’s no denying the health benefits of mushrooms for someone living a plant-based lifestyle. So give them a try, they’ll begin to grow on you!