These strange looking edible fungi called mushrooms are jam-packed full of essential nutrients and antioxidants. This pretty much makes them one of the most affordable super-foods on the market.
There are very few food sources of dietary vitamin D. Mushrooms, fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel and fish liver oils, beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks all have some level of vitamin D but mushrooms are the only plant source of vitamin D. Mushrooms exposed to sunlight or UV light will naturally generate vitamin D2.
A serve of mushrooms provides more than 20% of the daily needs for seven essential nutrients: riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), biotin, copper, chromium and selenium.
Mushrooms are very flavoursome and can enhance a meal without having to add fat or salt. Apparently this is because it has the fifth flavour, umami, which is the savoury flavour naturally present in mushrooms. It is one of the five basic tastes and is distinct from sweet, sour, bitter and salty and is described as a pleasant "brothy" or "meaty" taste.
They are very low in calories, and can help control appetite and hunger. Mushrooms also have more antioxidant capacity than tomatoes, green capsicum, pumpkins, zucchini, carrots, or green beans.
Mushrooms have a positive effect on immune function. A report in The Journal of Nutrition revealed that mushrooms enhanced the activity of immune system cells. Their immune system boosting capacity comes from the high levels of the antioxidant ergothianine, which exists in abundance in the white button mushroom variety.
So eat up because not only are they delicious, but super good for you too. Mmm mushroom and fetta ravioli, or garlic and butter grilled mushrooms!