Mushrooms contain…. Antioxidants!

Recent research has found that mushrooms contain a powerful antioxidant called l-ergothioneine. Antioxidants are the heroes of cell preservation. They work by slowing or preventing the oxidative process caused by free radicals that can lead to cell damage and the onset of problems like heart disease and diabetes. Including versatile and delicious mushrooms in the diet is a good way to boost antioxidants.

  • Researchers at the Pennsylvania State Mushroom Research Laboratory found that mushrooms contain significant levels of ergothioneine, which has shown antioxidant properties as a scavenger of strong oxidants.
  • Antioxidant activity is enhanced by the presence of selenium. A 100 gram serving of white mushrooms provides 15% of the Daily Value for selenium.
  •  Ergothioneine is heat-stable, meaning it is present in both raw and cooked mushrooms.
  • Portabella and crimini mushrooms have the most ergothioneine, followed closely by white mushrooms.
  • Exotic mushrooms, such as maitake, oyster and shiitake, have the highest amounts of ergothioneine.
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How are you preparing antioxidant packed mushrooms this weekend?

Mushrooms Contain…. Fibre!

Mushrooms offer both soluble & insoluble fibre, which may have anti-cancer properties as well as promoting satiety and good bowel health.

Whether the concern is lowering cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, diverticulosis or just general bowel health, fibre is one of the dietary keys. Getting enough fibre every day has also been linked to a lower Body Mass Index, an indicator of obesity. Because fibre helps make foods more satisfying, one tends to eat less and that can translate into weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight.

Mushroom Fibre Facts
• The soluble fibre is mainly beta-glucans, a polysaccharide. Soluble fibre helps to lower total and LDL cholesterol levels. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels.
• There is some evidence that beta-glucans offer anti-cancer potential, and a diet high in fibre may have a protective role in preventing breast and bowel cancers.
• Insoluble fibre helps promote regularity and good bowel health. It also helps slow digestion and adds satiety or staying power to foods. More fibre means less room for high-fat, high-calorie choices which can translate into weight loss and healthy weight maintenance.
• Aim for 25 to 35 grams of fibre every day. For children older than 2 years of age, their age plus 5 grams a day is a guideline to figure out how much fibre they need.

Mushrooms – a little can mean a lot
• Substituting a 4-ounce grilled portabella mushroom for a 4-ounce grilled beef patty for one year resulted in huge energy and fat savings, and almost 9% more fibre. (NHANES III)

• Fresh mushrooms are part of the White/Tan/Brown category in the 5 to 10 a Day for Better Health campaign. A half-cup serving of fresh mushrooms is also one of the vegetable choices for consumers building their individualized Canada’s Food Guide on the Health Canada website.

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What’s your favourite way to get your mushroom fibre fill?

Mushrooms Contain… Minerals!

Cooking and serving fresh mushrooms everyday is a smart way to get more of the minerals essential to a healthy body and an active life. Fresh mushrooms contain a wide variety of minerals including potassium, copper, selenium and zinc, but are naturally very low in sodium. Try fresh mushrooms in dips and spreads, stuffed with savoury ingredients and baked or on a nutritious veggie pizza.

According to Canada’s Food Guide, a half-cup of fresh mushrooms counts as one serving of Vegetables and Fruit and is a source of copper, phosphorus, potassium and selenium. Along with serving up great taste, fresh mushrooms also contribute to daily intakes of iron, magnesium and zinc. Here we’ve listed the nutrient amounts and % Daily Value of these important minerals for a for a 100 gram serving of white button mushrooms (approx. 4-5 mushrooms).

Copper
15% DV
• Found in all body tissues, with the bulk in the liver, brain, heart and kidney.
• An essential micronutrient that plays a role in making hemoglobin.
• Also involved in energy production.

Iron
2% DV
• A component of hemoglobin and myoglobin and is important in oxygen transfer.
• A component of numerous enzymes.
• About 70% is found in hemoglobin, about 25% is stored in liver, spleen and bone.

Magnesium
2% DV
• Macronutrient with 50% found in bone and the other 50% almost entirely inside body cells.
• Serves as an important part of more than 300 enzymes responsible for regulating many body functions including energy production, making body protein and muscle contraction.
• Also helps maintain nerve and muscle cells.

Phosphorus
6% DV
• A component of every cell and other important compounds including DNA and RNA which are responsible for cell growth and repair.
• Part of phospholipids present in every cell membrane in the body.
• Is a major component of bones and teeth.
• Important for pH regulation.

Potassium
8% DV
• Helps regulate fluids and mineral balance in and out of body cells.
• Helps maintain blood pressure.
• Important for muscle contraction and transmission of nerve impulses.

Selenium
15% DV
• Is involved in fat metabolism.
• Acts as an antioxidant with vitamin E.

Zinc
4% DV
• Helps the body use carbohydrate, protein and fat.
• A constituent of many enzymes and of insulin.
• Promotes cell reproduction and tissue growth and repair. Adequate zinc intake is essential for growth.
• Involved in immune function.
• Also plays many important structural roles as components of proteins.
mushroom nutrition
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What’s your favourite way to cook with mineral rich, fresh mushrooms?

Mushrooms Contain…. Vitamins!

Including fresh mushrooms in everyday meals is a great way to boost vitamin intake but adds virtually no calories, fat or sodium. Tossing some sliced mushrooms into green salads, soups, stews, stir-fries, omelets, as well as pasta and rice dishes is so easy and quick. Grilling whole portabellas makes a tasty low-fat “burger” and sautéed fresh mushrooms lend a savoury depth of flavour to chicken, beef and fish.

According to Canada’s Food Guide, a half-cup of fresh mushrooms counts as one daily serving of Vegetables and Fruit. When it comes to the B vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid, fresh mushrooms make a good choice. Fresh mushrooms also make an important contribution to daily intakes of folate, thiamin and vitamin B6. Here, we’ve listed the nutrient amounts and % Daily Values of these important water-soluble vitamins for a 100 gram serving of white button mushrooms (approx. 4-5 mushrooms).

Folate
6% DV (11 mcg)
• Plays an essential role in building new body cells, by helping to make DNA and
RNA.
• Works with vitamin B12 to form hemoglobin in red blood cells. Prevents megaloblastic anemia.
• The Dietary Reference Intake or DRI for women of child-bearing age is 400 micrograms. Folate is essential for lowering the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida in developing fetuses.

Niacin
20% DV (3.6 mg)
• Important for the metabolism of carbohydrate and fatty acids.
• Acts as a coenzyme or cosubstrate in many biological reduction and oxidation reactions. Required for energy metabolism.
• Helps enzymes function normally.

Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)
20% DV (0.8 mg)
• Acts as a coenzyme in fatty acid metabolism.
• Has numerous other essential roles in energy metabolism.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
25% DV (0.4 mg)
• Required for the metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids and lipids, and supports antioxidant protection.
• Changes the amino acid tryptophan in food into niacin.
• Enzyme cofactor essential to all areas of metabolism particularly that of carbohydrate and fatty acids.

Thiamin (vitamin B1)
4% DV (.05 mg)
• Plays essential roles in carbohydrate metabolism and neural function.

Vitamin B6
4% DV (.02 mg)
• Primarily involved in metabolism of amino acids.
• Helps produce other body chemicals including insulin, hemoglobin and antibodies that fight infection.

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What’s your favourite way to serve B-Vitamin rich, fresh mushrooms?

Get the real “dirt” on fresh mushrooms

“Mushrooms are grown in pure manure!”

It’s a very common misconception, and I hear it almost every time I even mention mushrooms… I’m not going to lie, it sort-of drives me crazy… (Come on! They’re not grown in pure manure, I swear!!)

It is also this common misconception that leads people to clean mushrooms in very unusual ways…. Do we have any peelers in the house? How about gill scrappers? Or my favourite, soak ’em in water until they are soggy…?

Because people don’t know what the heck that dirt actually is, they will try almost anything to get it off. So let’s take a step back and examine what the real dirt on mushrooms is….

It is peat moss. Simple and straight forward – peat moss.

All Canadian mushroom farmers use peat moss as the ‘casing layer’ on the top of the mushroom beds. Mushrooms are grown in beds in large growing rooms. The beds are made of wood, steel or aluminum. Before each crop is planted, the rooms and beds are sterilized at 160°F (71°C) for 24 hours, this ensures they will start with clean equipment.

The beds are then filled with a growth medium called substrate, which supplies carbon and nitrogen nutrients. The substrate is pasteurized at 136°F (58°C) for 8 hours before the mushroom spawn are mixed into it. Spawn is mushroom mycelia attached to sterile grain, such as millet or rye. It is the seedstock of mushrooms. Spawn is delivered to the farmer, in sealed bags from sterile laboratories that specialize in mushroom mycelia genetics.

In the beds, the substrate layer is about 8 inches (20 cm) thick. Two inches (5 cm) of peat moss is spread over the substrate to supply moisture. This is called the ‘casing layer’. The mushroom mycelia permeate throughout the substrate and grow UP through the casing layer. By controlling the temperature, humidity, oxygen and CO2, the grower stimulates the mycelia to form mushrooms on the surface of the peat moss. The whole process from spawning to harvest takes about 14 days.

So, what should you do to remove the specs of dirt? Let’s ask a Mushroom Farmer

Nick, how should you clean mushrooms?