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The many health benefits of mushrooms

The humble mushroom is so much more than its fungi family suggests. The secret superfood packs a punch when it comes to nutritional benefits.

The many health benefits of mushrooms

There is nothing humble about a mushroom with the vegetable packing a bigger “nutrient punch” than a host of super foods such as quinoa and kale, nutritionist Nikki Hart says.

“Just a handful gives you a whole lot of nutrition,” Hart says.

The health benefits of mushrooms seems to have flown under the radar. Those benefits include:

– Potassium to help maintain normal blood pressure.

– An excellent source of B Group vitamins (in particular B2, B3, B5 and B7) to support heart function, energy, and optimise the condition of skin and hair

– More than a third of the recommended daily intake of selenium which helps to boost immunity, and mood

– Mushrooms exposed to sunlight naturally generate vitamin D, which enhances calcium absorption and bone strength

And, Hart says, if we ate more mushrooms it would help towards getting our daily recommendation of vegetables. Recent statistics show a third of all adults do not eat the three or more servings of vegetables per day recommended for heart health. 

“The low fat, low saturated fat and low sodium content of mushrooms makes them a very heart-friendly vegetable to add to meals,” she says.

“Cardiovascular disease is responsible for 30% of all deaths in New Zealand, so we need to take a look at what we are eating.”

Consumer research showed that 79 per cent of all New Zealand households buy mushrooms but, according to Miranda Barton, the director of New Zealand-based Meadow Mushrooms, the “superior nutritional benefits of mushrooms aren’t well understood relative to some other produce”.

Meadows, founded in 1970 in Prebbleton, near Christchurch, is a family-owned and run business.

 “We are passionate about mushrooms, and we want to see Kiwis get more of the good stuff into their daily diet,” Burdon says.

Visit the Meadows Mushroom website here.

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