The Nutrition Magic of Mushrooms
It’s spring, and mushrooms are popping up all over, including in your local produce aisle. You don’t have to be
It’s spring, and mushrooms are popping up all over, including in your local produce aisle. You don’t have to be a top chef to prize the lush, earthy flavor of exotic mushrooms. But whether you pick smoky morels or the familiar buttons, you’ll get some newly discovered health benefits:
They safeguard against cancer. Mushrooms are rich in disease-fighting phytochemicals, and eating them regularly has been linked to a lower risk of breast cancer in studies of Chinese and Korean women. Mushrooms also prevent prostate cancer cells from multiplying in mice — and might do the same in men.
They supply hard-to-get nutrients. One medium portobello mushroom supplies 21 percent of the recommended daily intake of selenium and one third your need of copper; it also has as much potassium as a medium-size banana. Other varieties are just as rich in minerals, a recent analysis found. What’s more, mushrooms retain their nutrients when stir-fried, grilled, or microwaved.
They help you cut calories. When ground beef was swapped out for mushrooms in lasagna, sloppy joes, and chili, adults consumed 400 fewer calories per day, according to a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study. Researchers estimate that if you sub mushrooms for ground meat in one meal every week, you can lose five pounds in a year. Just don’t sabotage this fringe benefit by preparing mushrooms with loads of butter. Instead, toss them into a nonstick pan that’s been lightly sprayed with oil, then sauté on low heat until they soften.
3 Recipes to Try