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Make Room For Mushrooms!

Elaine Magee, MPH, RD Wellness Services Corporate Dietitian

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Sep 28th, 2017

Zen Blended Turkey Burger

Very few foods deserve the title, “super food” but mushrooms should definitely be a part of this elite group. Mushrooms are packed with uniquely helpful plant compounds, one of which is called ergothioneine (say that five times fast!), a unique antioxidant and cellular protector in the body. Research suggests these plant compounds may even help guard against plaque depositing on the inner layer of arterial walls.

Mushrooms are a rare non-animal source of key nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin B-12 and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), making it the perfect substitution for vegans or vegetarians. They are also one of the richest plant sources of selenium, a mineral suspected of playing a role in immunity and the prevention of some cancers and heart disease.

Make mushrooms a regular part of your diet by automatically adding them to eggs, sandwiches, casseroles, salads and so much more! Start by grabbing some washed and ready to go mushrooms on your weekly stock-up shopping trip and try one of the unique recipes below.

For a vegetarian alternative to bacon, try our recipe for crispy Portobello Bacon, complete with a smokey, peppery, spice blend that is too good to pass up.

Portobella Bacon

For a healthful version of Sloppy Joe’s, whip up this recipe for Sloppy Janes, featuring a blend of half grass-fed lean ground beef and half chopped mushrooms! You will not regret trying this unique recipe!

Sloppy Janes

Still not convinced by the power of mushrooms? Find even more unique health benefits below!

Mushrooms Help Boost Immunity

Anti-viral and antibacterial action has been reported in lab and animal research using mushroom extracts or compounds. These potential benefits may be due to compounds in mushrooms helping to enhance the immune system through natural killer cells.

Mushrooms Deliver a Dose of Vitamin D

Mushrooms are the only fruit or vegetable source of vitamin D. Similar to what happens when human skin is exposed to sunlight, the plant sterol in mushrooms converts to vitamin D2 when mushrooms are exposed to sunlight or UV light during growth or processing. Light exposed mushrooms are now available in many produce sections, each serving contributing  as much as 400 IUs of vitamin D.

Mushrooms May Protect the Brain

The brain is particularly susceptible to oxidation and inflammation. Thanks to several compounds, mushrooms may help protect the brain with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action! Promising data shows the possible protective effects of mushrooms on early stages of dementia– beta-amyloid peptide toxicity in the brain and mild cognitive impairment.

Mushrooms May Boost Breast Cancer Protection

Research suggests mushroom compounds are able to suppress the growth of breast cancer cell lines without affecting the growth of normal cell lines. Although it needs to be confirmed in intervention studies, promising data from lab and animal trials suggests as mushroom consumption increases, the risk of breast cancer decreases. Some research on mushrooms and other cancers (colorectal, prostate, cervical, ovarian, and endometrial) have also been promising!

Mushrooms Make Meat Even Better

If you haven’t tried combining finely-chopped mushrooms with ground meat, it’s time to wake up and smell the mushrooms! Use the DELICIOUS mushroom blend to make everything from burgers to meatloaf and sloppy Joes! Finely-chopped mushrooms not only look like meat when blended together and cooked, but they also enhance the flavor of meat and provide a better nutritional profile. Find some more delicious recipes below, all featuring the mushroom blend.

Why are meat and mushrooms an match made in umami heaven? Both have high levels of different flavor-enhancing compounds! Taste the umami difference for yourself, by making these ADORABLE Mini Umami Burgers for your next party or fun family dinner.

umami sliders

Spice up your boring burger with a savory blend of ground turkey and mushrooms! These Zen Turkey Blend Burgers will quickly become a weekly family favorite. The mushrooms will keep the meat texture super moist and juicy! You can even try substituting ground beef or ground chicken for two more unique dishes!

zen turkey burgers

Not only can mixing meat and mushrooms save you calories, saturated fat and possibly sodium, it can also save you money! Pro Tip: One pound of ground meat goes twice as far when blended with a pound of chopped mushrooms. Take it easy on your wallet and your waistline with this flavorful Mushroom Kofta Kebob Bowl recipe! The homemade tzatziki sauce will make the dish even more mouth-watering and memorable!

Mushroom Kofta Kabob Bowl

Disclaimer: larger double-blind placebo controlled human studies are required before clear effects of mushrooms on human health outcomes can be substantiated.

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