Has anyone else been fighting this dreadful virus lately? I’ve had a cold now for a few weeks and it’s still trying to hang on, but I know an excellent secret, and I’m willing to share. Even though they look simple, mushrooms have a whole lot going for them in the nutrition department.
Have you heard of Movember? Do you participate at work, school, or in your community?
“During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in Canada and around the world. With their “Mo’s”, these men raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and male mental health initiatives.”
The Canadian Cancer Society recommends choosing 5 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit every day to reap the benefits of their disease-fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals. As they are low in calories and fat, have very little carbohydrate and provide some fibre, fresh mushrooms are a delicious way to eat healthy. In addition, emerging research also suggests that mushrooms and mushroom extracts may have potent anticancer activity, against both breast and prostate cancer.
Each week, we will be showing off a new Mushtache to show our Movember support!
Are you having a tough time with your weight this summer? It’s been
hot scorching this summer and I’ve spent most of it in a bathing suit, which is great, until the BBQ fires up. I can’t help myself when I’m surrounded by delicious foods and I know I’m not alone. Nearly two-thirds of Canadians are either overweight or obese and feeling great can be difficult in summer swimwear.
I’m sure at this point everyone has seen the #hashtag and has embraced the concept of eating meat-free meals on Mondays. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Meatless Monday is an online initiative that encourages the elimination of meat from meals, one day a week.
There are many personal health benefits of going meat-less including fighting the risk of Diabetes, improving your diet and curbing obesity and long-term weight gain. Replacing meat in your diet means lower calorie consumption and a larger intake of essential vitamins and minerals. That’s where mushrooms come in!
Many mushroom varieties have a meaty texture (like crimini and portabella) that make them very versatile in meals that typically contain meat. Try adding mushrooms to your meal- replacing the meat with mushrooms instead. This is great for burgers and lasagna; cut up mushrooms, cook them the same way you would cook the meat, and enjoy in any recipe. This is an easy technique that will cut down on calories and cost and will up your nutritional intake.
Try going Meatless today with some of my favourite recipes:
- Fragrant Thai Curry Dinner
- Lasagne with Slow Roasted Mushrooms and Goat Cheese
- Easy Mushroom Ravioli with Three Cheese Sauce
What are your favourite Meatless Monday recipes?
Mushrooms are clearly beneficial as both foods and drugs. The question is, how can we benefit from their unique disease-fighting and health-promoting properties?
One option is mushroom supplements. While mushroom tonics, powders and extracts have been popular in Asian countries for a while now, Canada is catching up: there are already a handful of licensed natural health products containing reiishi and shiitake extracts for immune system support.
An even better (and more delicious) option is to simply eat more mushrooms. Mushrooms contain a lot of things that are good for us. “A 100-gram serving of fresh white mushrooms—about 4 or 5 medium-sized mushrooms—has only 25 calories, no cholesterol and is virtually fat-free,” says Brittany Stager, Marketing Manager at Mushrooms Canada. To add to their health-conscious nutrient profile, mushrooms that have been exposed to UV light (most commercial type have) are a good source of vitamin D, an essential nutrient that is typically obtained only from animal-based products like meat, poultry and seafood (20). “Just one serving of shiitakes can provide up to 48% of your daily requirement for vitamin D,” Stager explains. Better yet, mushrooms contain dietary fibre, are low in sodium and are a good source of riboflavin, copper, selenium, niacin and panthothenic acid.
To find fresh, tasty mushrooms, look no further than your neighbourhood grocery store or farmer’s market for locally grown finds. According to Stager, many of the most popular types are produced right here in Canada. “There are seven varieties of fresh mushrooms grown in Canada,” she says. “White, crimini, portobella, shiitake, oyster, king oyster and enoki are all grown and harvested from coast to coast every day of the year.” Even thick slices of the melon-sized giant puffball have been known to appear at Ontario farmer’s markets from time to time.
To up your mushroom intake, Stager recommends adding half a cup of white button mushrooms to your omelette instead of cheddar, or tossing diced grilled portabella with pasta in lieu of sausage. These swaps will cut your sodium intake by a significant amount and provide you with extra potassium. Not bad for a fungus.
Any way you slice it, the world as we know it simply wouldn’t exist without fungi. Through reading this and the other wonderful articles in this volume, I hope you have gained an appreciation for—or at the very least, an understanding of—these fascinating organisms and their contribution to food, health and medicine. And maybe, just maybe, you will come to love mushrooms as much as I do.
Thanks so much Jennifer for joining us as a guest blogger. For those of you who missed Jennifer’s first post on Medicinal Mushrooms, you can find it here.