Whether you’re a sucker for shiitakes or crave the gilded caps of chanterelles, mushrooms are as delicious as they are healthy. So forage no further; here are five reasons to fit more fungi into your diet.
1. Packed with potassium.
Potassium is an important part of maintaining your body’s fluid balance, as well as muscle and nerve function. Topping a burger with a grilled portobello mushroom gives you more potassium than a banana.
2. Improve your immune system.
Mushrooms may be small but these fungi pack a mean punch when it comes to nutritional value. They act as anti-bacterial agents and immune system enhancers in addition to lowering hypertension and cholesterol.
3. Loaded with antioxidants.
Eight to ten raw, white mushrooms contain l-ergothioneine and 11 per cent of the recommended daily value for selenium. Antioxidants like these defend your body from cell damage and the onset of health problems such as Alzheimer’s, cancer and diabetes caused by free radicals.
4. Carb-free, gluten-free and low in calories.
Substituting eight ounces of fresh mushrooms for meat three times a week can not only help with weight management, it also reduces your environmental footprint since mushrooms require little water and land to grow.
5. Help improve your oral health.
Make ‘shroom for shiitake and your dentist will thank you. In a 2011 study, participants who used a shiitake-extract mouthwash had less plaque and a better gingival index than those using a leading gingivitis mouthwash.