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Mushrooms The New Super Food

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shiitake-mushroom-200x200Mushrooms are a nutrient, mineral and vitamin dense fungi that is surrounded by folklore, phobias and delicious recipes. A ring of these edible fungi are believed to be either a portal to another dimension, or a dance floor for our small fairy friends. Other areas of the world regarded mushrooms as a gift that provided superhuman strength and immortality. Whilst these make great bed time stories for the children, they also make strong, energised and lively children.

Mushrooms are an important source of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), riboflavin (vitamin B2) and niacin (vitamin B3). A 70g serve, 1 cup of mushrooms, contains a massive 17% of your daily intake of riboflavin and an equally massive 13% of your niacin and pantothenic acid daily requirements. These nutrients are essential for physical energy and mental clarity as they play a vital role in converting your protein, carbohydrates and fats into a usable form of energy. Not only are these nutrients a great source of energy, but they are needed for the smooth communication between the brain and bodily functions. Every action within your body (hand movements, walking, decision making etc.) requires certain B vitamins for the message to be developed, conveyed, received and acted upon.

Not only are mushrooms great for energy and communication, but they are also a great source of antioxidants. Antioxidants can be seen as ‘protectors of the body’ as it is their job to stop any free radical damage, or mass cellular damage, within the body. Not only do mushrooms provide antioxidants, but they also ‘renew’ or ‘revive’ other stronger antioxidants, helping to protect the body even further.

Not only do mushrooms contain essential vitamins, but they contain a strong amount of selenium and they are one of the only foods to contain vitamin D. Selenium is great for the immune system, thyroid and heart whilst vitamin D is necessary for bones health and calcium absorption. Mushrooms are also a great source of potassium, copper, ergothioneine and beta-glutcans, each contributing considerably to the healthy, young, vibrant benefits that mushrooms can provide.

Whilst they might look funny, or have an odd texture, mushrooms are a low calorie, fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten free and low sodium superfood that should be found in everyone’s diet. It is a versatile ingredient that can soak up flavour and is a great addition to many traditional dishes, across all cuisines.

Mushrooms are available all year round and should be stored in the crisper section of the fridge. Peeling the mushrooms is not necessary, but a quick wash is recommended (do not wash a mushroom that has been peeled as it will soak with the water and not your recipes flavour).