The Botanical Name of mushrooms is Agaricus Bisporus. Cultivated mushrooms are usually a creamy white colour. They are firm to touch, have a rounded cap, thick stem, brown gills and can vary in size. They are often described as button, cup or flat. If purchased fresh and stored in a brown paper bag at the bottom of the refrigerator, mushrooms can last up to 1 week.
Some nutritional facts! Despite being a low source of energy (103kJ/100g), mushrooms are remarkably nutrient dense with one serve (100g equivalent to 3 button mushrooms) providing a range of essential nutrients including:
- Up to one-third of daily adult requirement for riboflavin and one-fifth for niacin which are involved in maintaining red blood cells, healthy nerve function and the release of energy from carbohydrate, protein and fat.
- Approximately one-third of the daily adult requirement for biotin and one-quarter of the requirement pantothenic acid. Biotin is involved in normal body metabolism, whilst pantothenic acid involved in making hormones and neurotransmitters.
- About one quarter of adult daily copper requirements and one eighth of a daily phosphorus requirement are found in a serve of mushrooms. Copper is important in maintaining red blood cells, blood plasma levels and the making of connective tissues and neurotransmitters. Whereas, phosphorus works in combination with calcium, in the formation of teeth and bones. It is also required in energy metabolism being crucial in energy release used during muscle contraction.
- Surprising mushrooms can generate vitamin D from sun light exposure. They are the only non-animal natural source of vitamin D. In fact, 100g of light-exposed mushrooms can provide 100% adult daily requirement of vitamin D! Vitamin D is important in enhancing calcium absorption and together they are required for good bone strength.
- Mushrooms are also a modest source of folate, potassium, and essential minerals selenium and iron. They are low GI and provide 3.3g of protein and 1.5g of fibre per 100g.
Mushrooms offer a delicious rich flavour to many savoury dishes. They can be used fresh in salads and added to stir-fries and sauces. Or try this healthy and delicious breakfast option – lovely fresh mushrooms sliced and fried with a little olive oil and fresh thyme leaves and black pepper and served on multigrain toast.
Check out this recipe for Beef, Spinach & Ricotta Lasagna!
Source: Nutrient Reference Values for Australia & New Zealand 2006; NUTTAB 2010.
PLEASE NOTE: Fruits & vegetables in season my vary depending on where you live. Check with your friendly greengrocer.