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Mushroom Magic

Updated on October 22, 2013

There are many types of mushrooms from the humble button to the exotic oyster. They have a rich, earthy taste and are full of amazing anti-aging benefits. Did you know that mushrooms soak up Vitamin D from the sun just like we do? After sitting in the sun for just five minutes, mushrooms have absorbed enough Vitamin D for 100% of our recommended daily allowance.

Mushrooms are a fungi and are used in cooking in most Chinese, Japanese and European recipes. They provide many vitamins including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, cobalamins and ascorbic acid. They also contain selenium, potassium and phosphorus.

Mushrooms found in supermarkets have been commercially grown on mushroom farms.  Popular mushrooms include white (button), crimini and portobello.  More exotic mushrooms that have become increasingly popular include shiitake, maitake, oyster and enoki.  On a side note, China is the largest producer of mushrooms.

White Button Mushrooms

This little gem is said to be a power house when it comes to fighting cancer. The can suppress an enzyme called aromatase, which is linked to certain cancers. Research has also shown that they reduce excess estrogen and that only one serving a day may prevent breast cancer from developing. They are great added to salads, cooked and served along side your favorite steak and are best in home made mushroom soup.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 cup of mushrooms
2 tbsp chopped onion
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup light cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp white pepper

Slice mushrooms through cap and stem. Cook with onions in butter for about five minutes. Blend in flour; add broth. Cook and stir until slightly thickened. Cool slightly; add cream and seasonings. Heat through. Serve at once: makes 4 to 6 servings.

How to Make Creamy Mushroom Soup

Portobello Mushrooms

This hearty and large mushroom is the perfect replacement for meat and according to the latest research, can help with weight loss. Findings indicate that by substituting a 4-oz portobello mushroom for a 4-oz grilled burger, one can save about 18,000 calories over the course of a year which is equivalent of five pounds! Portobello mushrooms are good for you too as they contain more potassium than a banana.

For a yummy portobello burger, brush the cap with olive oil and some garlic and salt and grill until tender or about 10 minutes. They can also be grilled and served on salad greens. One of my favorite ways to eat portobello mushrooms is to fill the cavity with guacamole and eat them raw.

Exotic Mushrooms

There are many types of mushrooms including Shiitakes, Reishi, Oyster and Criminis.

Shiitake Mushrooms

In Asia, they are considered a symbol of longevity and can be found in many skin care products. Shiitake mushrooms contain kojic acid, which reduces the buildup of melanin, preventing age spots and lentinan, a compound that stimulates new stem cells in the body to help stave off aging. They are also great in soups and salads.

Reishi Mushrooms

This mushroom contains steroid-like compounds that have proven to inhibit allergic reactions, and help relieve asthma and bronchitis symptoms. These properties have proven to be so potent, that in one study the extract compared favorably with prednisone and had fewer side effects. Reishi mushrooms are great in soup and are a recommended supplement found in health food stores.

Oyster Mushrooms

If you have high cholesterol consider the oyster mushroom. They contain ergothioneine, a potent antioxidant that reduces plaque build up in the arteries. They are also rich in lovastatin, a compound that blocks the absorption of cholesterol. Eating just a half cup a day as proven to cut total cholesterol by nearly 30%. You can find oyster mushrooms in most supermarkets and can be added to sauces, soups, stir fries and risotto.

Criminis Mushrooms

If you have a sluggish thyroid, consider eating more criminis mushrooms. They can reduce cranky spells and anxiety. Criminis are rich in selenium which helps to regulate the thyroid. Studies have found that increasing your selenium levels can relieve depression. Add criminis to salads or grill them on skewers with onions and green peppers.


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    • True Blue Tips profile image

      True Blue Tips 7 years ago

      Hi Immartin. Thanks. You always make me laugh with your comments. I must admit that I chose the title just to get a reaction!

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      What excellent information on the mushroom. I always did love them and eat them regularly. However I must admit your title had me prepared for mushrooms of a different nature. Lynda