A mineral found in no other fruit or veggie makes mushrooms a superfood to reckon with

What’s on my plate? Mushrooms. They may be easily available with your local vegetable vendor, but don’t confuse mushrooms to be a vegetable. They belong to the fungi kingdom and are loaded with essential nutrients. More than 2,500 different varieties grow in the wild, but only a few are edible.

Superpower: Like us, they produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight and are the only vegetarian source of this critical sunshine vitamin. The antioxidant and selenium-rich (a mineral which you don’t find in many fruit or vegetable) mushrooms are known to strengthen the immunity, have cancer fighting powers and—whether they are crimini, enoki, oyster, portobello, shiitake, maitake or buttons—are low in calories, have virtually no fat, sugar or salt. Numerous studies reveal that mushrooms may help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer; and are a valuable source of dietary fibre as well as the five B vitamins thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6) and folate. Researchers at US-based Pennsylvania State University found that just a handful of white button mushrooms has about 12 times more of the powerful antioxidant, L-Ergothioneine than wheatgerm and four times more than chicken liver, previously thought to be the best sources. Meanwhile, South Korean-based Hanyang University found mushrooms may lower the risk of breast cancer.

Where to buy: The humble white button mushrooms are available with your local vegetable vendor too, while the more exotic variants are sold at supermarkets, high-end grocery stores or you can order them online.

Eat this: Their high-water content makes them perfect for starter dishes like soups and stews, even main course dishes such as pasta or risotto as well as a barbeque and tea-time snacks as well, how would you fancy a mushroom bruschetta? In fact, mushrooms are so versatile that they taste delicious with an Indian curry too.    

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