From plain old white button mushrooms, to cremini mushrooms, portabello, shiitake and oyster, reishi and cordyceps, mushrooms of all sorts are on the healthy list and should be included in your diet.
In fact, close to 100 species of mushrooms have been studied for their health-promoting benefits. These studies have found that mushrooms are linked to a variety of positive health benefits, including improved weight management, increased vitamin D levels and improved immune system function. There’s also evidence some variety of mushrooms may act as anti-inflammatories and can even be helpful to those suffering from asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and stroke damage.
Some interesting quick facts you should know about mushrooms:
- While organic isn’t necessary for all vegetables, organically grown mushrooms are a substantially better choice, as mushrooms absorb whatever they’re grown in—good or bad.
- Mushrooms have strong antibiotic qualities.
- There are more than 10,000 species of mushrooms, and only about 50 to 100 are toxic to humans (like the ones you were warned not to touch as a kid).
- Americans consume about 900 million pounds of mushrooms each year (95 percent of which are the common button mushroom).
- The button mushroom is high in B vitamins.
- Shiitake mushrooms have antiviral qualities.
- Reishi mushrooms are known to prevent weight gain and insulin resistance, and improve gut health.
- The parasitic mushroom, often used in traditional Chinese medicine, has possible antidepressant effects.
What if you don’t like the taste of mushrooms?
5 ways to hide mushrooms so even your kids (or adults who eat like kids) will eat them:
5. Chop them into tiny pieces or throw them in the blender and then hide them in meatballs, meatloaf or even a homemade hamburger.
4. Blend them into a pureed soup.
3. Along with chick peas, tahini, garlic, lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper, throw in some mushrooms and blend them into a delicious humous.
2. Throw them in a food processor and add them right into your homemade pizza dough
- Puree them into a bolognese sauce for pasta
For those of you who love mushrooms and feel no desire to hide them, here’s an amazing 5-mushroom and hazelnut soup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup shallots, minced
1/3 cup minced garlic
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
2 cups chopped button mushrooms
1 portabello mushroom
1 cup oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 cup ounces shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 cup oyster mushrooms
1/4 cup sherry
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup finely-chopped parsley
1/4 cup cornstarch, (made into a slurry with chicken stock)
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
Melt butter in a pot. Saute hazlenuts on medium heat until brown (this will take about 5 minutes). Add shallots and garlic and saute for 5 to 10 minutes. Add all five kinds of mushrooms and cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Add sherry. Add chicken stock and parsley. Bring to a simmer.
Whisk cornstarch with a bit of chicken broth and then add to soup. Stir until thickened. Stir in cream. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes on low heat. Add tarragon and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with a spoonful of sour cream or creme fraiche on top.