They work great in a bolognese sauce, mixed through a stir fry or as a pizza topping, but did you know that mushrooms are fantastic when it comes to improving your health? Yes, that’s right — mushrooms are packed with good-for-you nutrients. Not only that, they’re incredibly versatile, making them the perfect vegetable to have on-hand.
According to Australian Mushrooms, these little veggies are rich in vitamin D, which is essential for strong bones and can help lessen your risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. In fact, a study published in the journal Dermato-Endocrinology found eating mushrooms can be just as effective as taking a vitamin D supplement. How come? Most mushrooms have been exposed to sunlight during their growth period.
Eating mushrooms has also been linked to increased feelings of fullness and reduced hunger, making mushrooms ideal for those watching their weight. Mushrooms also have gut health benefits, and can reduce bad breath! Not to mention mushrooms act as a prebiotic to stimulate the growth of gut microbiota, which helps with digestion, metabolism, immune function and brain health.
They’re also full of antioxidants, which help fight free radicals (unstable atoms that can damage cells, causing illness and ageing) in your body and support immune function. Mushrooms have also been linked with cancer-fighting and cholesterol-lowering properties and may boost heart health as well. In fact, one study published in the International Journal of Cancer found eating mushrooms may help lower your prostate cancer risk.
“Mushrooms are such a versatile way to add flavour to your meals, and we now know that there are a host of health benefits associated with eating mushrooms too,” leading dietician Jemma O’Hanlon tells Starts at 60.
And when it comes to getting the full benefits, she recommends eating a variety of mushrooms, such as button, cup, swiss brown, flat and portobello mushrooms. Jemma also recommends leaving your mushrooms in the sun (gills facing up) for about 15 minutes to increase its vitamin D levels. “It’s an easy trick that multiplies the vitamin D content of mushrooms by up to 10 times,” she says.
Jemma says you should also use every part of the mushroom in your meals — caps and stems, explaining that, “Many people don’t realise but there’s so much goodness found in mushroom stems, so don’t waste them!”
“Mushrooms are a simple and delicious way to get extra goodness into your day,” Jemma says.
She recommends adding them into your favourite stir dry dish or toastie, whipping up a delicious mushroom sauce to pair with a nice side of steak or chicken, or even adding them into an omelette for a tasty way to start your day. If you’re not a big fan of mushrooms, or you have fussy eaters at home, try adding them into a bolognese sauce, so you won’t have to miss out on the vegetable’s many health benefits.
If you’re after some more inspiration, Australian Mushrooms has shared a tasty recipe for baked polenta tart.
Polenta tart base
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.