Healthy Eating

Fresh Take On Mushrooms

Fungi that have been exposed to ultraviolet light provide the daily allowance of vitamin D in a single serving.

Fresh Take On Mushrooms
Pin it

Much more than a pizza topper, the humble mushroom can help everything from your head to your heart. “Mushrooms actually contain more antioxidants than pumpkins, carrots and tomatoes,” says Karen Graham, R.D., an Arizona-based integrative nutritionist. That’s because they’re loaded with ergothioneine and selenium, two immune-boosting antioxidants that cut your risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Also in their corner are beta-glucans, plant chemicals found especially in shiitake and maitake mushrooms, which supercharge the immune system and may prevent cancer. In fact, a study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that women who ate 10 grams of mushrooms per day were 64 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than those who didn’t. Composed of 90 percent water and with only 15 calories per cup, ’shrooms can also help shrink your waist.

A study by Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center in Baltimore found that replacing a meat meal with a mushroom meal meant 420 fewer calories and 30 fewer grams of fat a day. And if that’s not reason enough to embrace these earthy delights, the B vitamins found in fungi may help fend off age-related cognitive decline. To work the magic of mushrooms into your diet, toss them into a vegetable omelet, mixed green salad or hearty risotto.