Mushrooms are fascinating, invisible one day, pushing their way up through the earth the next day ready for eager mushrooms enthusiasts to pick. There are hundreds of different types of mushrooms: some are more exotic than others, some wild growing in wooded areas while others are cultivated. But, even if you add the simplest most common mushrooms to your soups, casseroles or side dish, you’ll still get that delightful flavor.
Mushrooms are easy to work into a Mediterranean diet, voted by the US News and World Report this year to be ‘the best overall diet. It’s easy to understand the popularity of the Mediterranean diet. Mediterranean cooking allows you to cut down on red meats, increase your healthy fats and respect your daily calorie intake.
Chopped and well-seasoned mushrooms will combine well with seafood, tomatoes, herbs de Provence and olive oil, the basis for the Mediterranean cuisine.
Mushrooms are different from ordinary plants, in that they grow and get their energy without photosynthesis — their nutrients come from the soil. Sometimes referred to as a vegetable, this delicious, mysterious food is really a fungus which has been around for age. The ancient Egyptians reserved them only for the Pharaohs while the Romans fed mushrooms to the warriors to give them extra strength.
The medicinal, unusual properties of mushrooms are not part of a new plan devised by health fanatics to get us to eat healthier. There are many reasons why you should consider mushrooms more seriously.
Here’s what you might not know:
Mushrooms for Weight loss
Mushrooms are low in calories, with an earthy sweet texture and flavor. With obesity on the rise, mushrooms are a healthy option with only 15 calories in a cup of raw sliced white mushrooms (70 grams) Cooking will add some more calories to your dish but, because they’re high in fiber, mushrooms are filling when served with a meal.
A 10 day research study aimed at comparing the difference of satiety ratings between meat and mushrooms showed that participants felt less hungry and more satisfied after meals of white button mushrooms rather than ground beef.
One thing to remember though is that mushrooms have lots of different flavors and a lot depends on how it’s cooked. If you’re looking for a low-calorie diet choose your cooking method and oil carefully as in the recipe below.
Antioxidants and Vitamins
The Mediterranean diet is a balanced approach to food, based on unprocessed home cooking with high consumption of fruit and vegetables. These are good sources of antioxidants which will give you a healthy heart and help fight infection.
Mushrooms are packed with antioxidant properties: attributes which scientists and mycologists (mushroom experts) say will help us to live a healthier longer life. Mushrooms, they say contain two super antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione noted for their anti-aging properties.
Mushrooms contain the antioxidant selenium in substantial quantities. Scientists say selenium is an anti-cancer nutrient which plays a protective role in the prevention of cancer. Not all mushrooms are alike, some offer more health benefits than others. Shiitake Mushrooms, in particular, have been touted by scientists to have the ability to fight cancer cells and to help chromosome damage caused by anticancer treatments. Reishi mushrooms are another type of medicinal mushroom proved to be effective in many health conditions including cancer and during chemotherapy.
A word of warning before you go mushroom foraging. Mushrooms might look exotic, colorful, and full of promise in the fields but it’s best to choose a foraging companion who is thoroughly familiar with the local species in your area. Some mushrooms are poisonous.
Most important though – don’t think of mushrooms as small insignificant vegetables — mushrooms are fabulous fungi worth getting to know.
Sautéed mushrooms in olive oil – simple and satisfying
700 g fresh button mushrooms
90 ml olive Oil (around 6 tablespoons)
2- 3 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper
45 ml of herbs de Provence (3 tablespoons of parsley and thyme)
Remove the tips of the stems and clean the mushrooms using a damp cloth. Heat the olive oil and cook the garlic for a minute or so. Add the mushrooms and cook occasionally stirring until they are cooked. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs de Provence and continue cooking for two to three minutes.
Photo Credit: Flickr @Andi Fisher creative commons
Article also available here https://provencialprovence.blogspot.com/2019/04/3-good-reasons-why-you-should-include.html
Alice Alech’s blog provencialprovence.blogspot.com