Nutrition News to Help You Be Well and Live Well
Shiitake, portobello, cremini, button, oyster and enoki oh my! Mushrooms may not seem like much, but these foods from the fungi family actually pack a big nutrition punch. In this month’s newsletter, we’ll explore some of the many health benefits of mushrooms and some tasty ways to consume them. Enjoy!
by Sally Stegemann MS, RD, LD
Mushrooms have a unique offering of essential vitamins and minerals. They are the
only significant plant source of vitamin D when grown in a particular way. Mushrooms are
grown in the dark, but contain ergosterol which converts to ergocalciferol (vitamin D2)
when exposed to UV light. To find these high vitamin D mushrooms, look for mushrooms
that are labeled as such in the grocery store. It is estimated that more than 40% of Americans are vitamin D deficient, so access to more food sources of vitamin D is crucial. In addition, mushrooms are rich in B vitamins which help in a variety of functions, such as the metabolism of energy and the production of red blood cells. Other key nutrients found in mushrooms include potassium (a serving of mushrooms has about as much potassium as a banana), copper and selenium. Mushrooms are the best source of selenium (an important antioxidant) in the produce aisle. You may have heard that oats are an excellent source of dietary fiber, especially soluble fiber, but did you know that mushrooms also are a good source? Mushrooms contain a soluble fiber called beta-glucan which can help regulate
blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
While mushrooms don’t often get recognized for their antioxidant properties, they are actually a great source of two potent antioxidants called glutathione and ergothioneine. These antioxidants have been recognized to not only help reduce visible signs of aging, but may also help protect against cognitive decline of aging and cognitive diseases such as
Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. A study in 2019 found that adults who consumed 3⁄4 cup
servings of mushrooms twice weekly had a reduction in cognitive decline. Ergothioneine
has also been associated with reduced risk of depression.
Mushrooms are delicious served raw or cooked. They can be stored in the refrigerator for about 5 days. Before use, wipe the dirt from the mushrooms and use a damp cloth to clean them or rinse briefly under water. Avoid keeping the mushrooms in water for very long, as they will absorb excess water and become soggy.
Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy
1⁄3 cup grated onion, divided
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon butter
8 ounces cremini (also known as baby bella) mushrooms, quartered
1⁄3 cup dry red wine
1 1⁄4 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- Combine 1⁄4 cup onion, pepper, salt, garlic and beef. Shape into 4 (1⁄2-inch thick) patties.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and coat with a drizzle of olive oil. Add patties; cook 3
minutes on each side until browned.
- Melt butter in pan. Add mushrooms; saute 4 minutes. Stir in wine and remaining onion,;
cook 2 minutes. Combine broth and flour; add to pan, and bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or
until thick. Add patties and vinegar to pan; cook 2 minutes. Enjoy!
Additional mushroom recipes:
Best Stuffed Mushrooms
One Pot Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Pasta
Grilled Mushroom Kabobs