Sauteed with a bit of garlic or mixed into a soup, mushrooms are versatile and full of flavour. Not only that, but they have a range of incredible health benefits.
Studies have shown mushrooms to be rich in nutrients and antioxidants to support a healthy immune system – which is extra important as we head into the cold and flu season.
So, what is it about mushrooms that make them such a wonderful superfood?
Dietitian and mushroom researcher, Glenn Cardwell says they are an excellent source of vitamin D – if they get a bit of sun.
“In Australia, just under one in four (23 per cent) Australians are living with a vitamin D deficiency, which may be having harmful effects on their bone and general health. This rises to over 40 per cent in the southern states during winter,” says Mr Cardwell.
“However, mushrooms can easily help to combat vitamin D deficiencies, if left outside in the sunshine for approximately an hour, a serve of mushrooms (100g), which is approximately three medium sized mushrooms, can provide 100 per cent of the recommended daily intake.”
Full of rich umami flavour, mushrooms are perfect for vegetarians as they’re the only non-animal source of vitamin D. “They’re a great way for vegetarians and vegans to look after their health and ensure they’re getting vital nutrients,” says Mr Cardwell.
In addition to vitamin D, mushrooms deliver a load of essential nutrients. One serving can provide 20% of the RDI of four B vitamins, helping keep the body’s cells functioning properly.
According to studies, a diet that includes mushrooms is associated with a lower risk of developing breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Mr Caldwell’s number one tip for mushrooms: “put your fresh mushrooms out in the winter sunshine for about an hour before putting in the fridge. This will naturally multiply their levels of vitamin D and antioxidants.”