Australian Mushrooms dietitian Jemma O’Hanlon reveals the surprising benefits of eating mushrooms

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A dietitian has revealed the six surprising nutritional benefits of eating mushrooms – and why the fungus should be hailed as a superfood.  

Jemma O’Hanlon said not only are mushrooms incredibly versatile in dishes, they offer good gut health, keep you fuller for longer, eliminate bad breath and increase vitamin D status when exposed to UV light. 

‘Mushrooms are such a versatile way to add flavour to your meals, and we now know there are a host of health benefits associated with eating mushrooms too,’ she said.

She suggested adding a variety of everyday mushrooms in your diet, including Button, Cup, Swiss Brown, Flat and Portobello mushrooms. 

‘Add them to any meal and they will boost it, think soups, stews, risottos, bolognese, even pizza,’ she said.

A dietitian has revealed the six surprising health benefits of eating mushrooms - and why the fungus should be hailed as a superfood

A dietitian has revealed the six surprising health benefits of eating mushrooms – and why the fungus should be hailed as a superfood

In a new study, conducted by Nutrition Research Australia, researchers found the most commonly consumed mushrooms contain a range of bioactive compounds, found not only in vegetables but also some meats, whole grains and nuts. 

Here, the experts listed the health benefits of eating everyday mushrooms: 

VITAMIN D 

Eating mushrooms that have been exposed to sunlight increases vitamin D levels – and can be as effective as taking a vitamin D supplement, research has shown.

‘To reap the vitamin D rewards, leave your mushrooms to tan in the sun with the gills facing up for 15 minutes – it’s an easy trick that multiplies the vitamin D content of mushrooms by up to 10 times,’ Ms O’Hanlon said. 

‘You should also use every part of the mushroom in your meals – caps and stems. Many people don’t realise but there is so much goodness found in mushroom stems, so don’t waste them.’

FULLER FOR LONGER

Eating mushrooms has been linked to increased feelings of fullness, reduced hunger, and a lower food intake during the rest of the day, making mushrooms ideal for a healthy diet and those watching their weight.

Jemma O'Hanlon said not only are mushrooms incredibly versatile in dishes, they offer good gut health, keep you fuller for longer, eliminate bad breath and increase vitamin D status

Jemma O’Hanlon said not only are mushrooms incredibly versatile in dishes, they offer good gut health, keep you fuller for longer, eliminate bad breath and increase vitamin D status

GUT HEALTH

Want to keep your gut health in check? Mushrooms contain special prebiotics that feed your good gut bacteria, and can reduce bad breath.

IMMUNITY SUPPORT

Mushrooms are abundant in antioxidants, which help fight free radicals and support immune function.

LOWER CANCER RISK

Regularly consuming mushrooms has been associated with a reduction in the risk of ovarian cancer and the progression of prostate cancer.

BETA BENEFITS

The cell wall of mushrooms contain beta-glucans, a soluble fibre commonly found in oats that has cholesterol lowering properties and may boost heart health.

Eating mushrooms that have been exposed to sunlight increases vitamin D levels - and can be as effective as taking a vitamin D supplement, research has shown

Eating mushrooms that have been exposed to sunlight increases vitamin D levels – and can be as effective as taking a vitamin D supplement, research has shown

Why are mushrooms worthy of a superfood status?

Dr Flavia Fayet-Moore, CEO of Nutrition Research Australia, who led the analysis said the results make a strong case for positioning mushrooms as a genuine superfood.

‘Mushrooms are their own food kingdom and research from around the world, spanning more than 20 years, has given us reason to regard them as such,’ she said.

‘They are biologically distinct to both plants and animals, yet contain unique bioactive compounds found in both categories, making them a valuable food choice for anyone looking to support their health.

‘The body of scientific evidence shows that mushrooms have a remarkable profile of bioactive compounds that may support immunity on a cellular level and positively affect gut microbiota too.’

The research published in the October issue in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry is the first ever systematic review on the human health benefits of the popular Agaricus Bisporus mushroom variety.

Crispy sesame-crusted mushroom poke bowl 

Prep / cook time: 35-40 minutes

Serve: 2

INGREDIENTS 

Sesame-crusted mushrooms:

200g button mushrooms

1/4 cup white sesame seeds

1 tbsp black nigella seeds

1/3 cup panko crumbs

Pinch of sea salt

1 egg

Dash of milk

Vegetable oil (for frying)

Poke bowl ingredients:

2 cups pre-cooked brown rice

1 bunch broccolini

1/3 cup frozen edamame beans, defrosted

1 avocado, sliced

3/4 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced

1 small cucumber, thinly sliced

4-5 radishes, thinly sliced

2 shallots, thinly sliced (white part only)

Dressing:

1 tsp white miso paste

3 tbsp mirin

1 tsp peanut butter

1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil

METHOD 

1. In a bowl combine the sesame seeds, nigella seeds, panko crumbs and a pinch of sea salt, stir to mix through.

2. In another bowl whisk together with a fork the egg and a dash of milk.

3. Heat up a deep sided saucepan filled with vegetable oil (3cm deep) to frying point (205C). To test if it’s at the right temperature, add a pinch of panko crumbs; if the oil bubbles then it’s ready.

4. Add the button mushrooms in batches to the whisked egg mixture, then roll them in the sesame / panko crumb mixture until they get an even crumb coating.

5. In batches, add the mushrooms to the heated oil and fry, using tongs turn them over after the outer crumb turns a crispy golden brown. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Repeat the process until all of the mushrooms have been cooked. It is best to cook these in batches and not to overcrowd the saucepan.

6. Blanch the broccolini and edamame in boiling water until the broccolini is cooked and crunchy and the edamame has changed to a bright green colour. Drain and set aside.

7. To make the dressing combine all the ingredients in a small jug, stir well to combine and to dissolve any miso paste lumps.

8. To assemble the poke bowls start with a base of pre-cooked brown rice, follow by arranging the vegetables over the top and around the edges of the bowls. Finish with adding the crispy crumbed mushrooms in the centre and sprinkle over the thinly sliced shallots.

9. Serve with the miso dressing poured over the top.

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