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Have you been getting your recommended servings of vegetables and fruit everyday? How about drinking plenty of water? If you have, then thumbs up, but there may be something else you want to add to your list of "Things I Need to Eat Today": fungus. For now we will just call them mushrooms because it sounds a bit more pleasing. Many people find mushrooms to be odd tasting with a strange texture, but if you take the time to try the different varieties you will find that there is something out there for everyone. Chanterelles are a bright golden color and have a fruity and peppery taste, and go quite well with eggs because of their delicate texture. They also last the longest in the fridge compared to other mushrooms because of their high water content and should be sautéed dry.
Believe it or not, cremini mushrooms are just baby bellas and baby bellas are just mature white button mushrooms. They are versatile and add a deep savory flavor to your dishes. Another savory shroom for you to try is a morel. They are slightly chewy and are great sautéed with butter, but be careful because these can sell for up to $20 a pound! Fun fact, did you know that white button mushrooms are one of the few non-animal sources of vitamin D? When they are grown, whether indoor or outdoor, they are exposed to UV light which increases their concentration of vitamin D.
If you are looking for a light but crisp mushroom then you may want to try the enoki variety. This mushroom looks a lot like bean sprouts and is used widely in asian dishes because they hold up well in soups and are even great for salads! Hen of the woods is another hearty mushroom that is used in asian cuisine. It grows at the base of oak trees and are often found in stir frys. All types of edible mushrooms contain varying degrees of protein and fibre. They also contain B vitamins as well as a powerful antioxidant called selenium, which helps to support the immune system and prevent damage to cells and tissues. In a day, men need to consume .075mg of selenium and women need .06mg and mushrooms are not the only source to get it from. Eggs (which contain 22 percent of the recommended daily dose in a single egg) meat, fish, and Brazil nuts are other great sources for it.
Besides the great flavor that mushrooms provide for us they can also protect us from impending illness. In particular, certain varieties of mushrooms have been shown to have potential in protecting against cancer by protecting our cells against DNA damage but also inhibiting tumour formation. There is also some evidence that they may be beneficial in the treatment and management of neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s.
If you are interested in eating more mushrooms but don't want to spend $20 a pound on them or you simply are someone who has a green thumb then you should consider growing your own. It is very simple but does require a certain level of attention as the mushrooms need to stay moist and have the correct lighting conditions. This can be done by transforming a plastic storage box into a grow house with a UV light and heat. Once the little guys start growing they don't stop and you will have enough shrooms to share with your friends. The syringe of spores will cost around $20 and the supplies will cost around $30.
Not only do your everyday mushrooms help prevent deadly disease but the psychedelic varieties are also known to have healing properties. They are often used in microdoses to help people with depression, anxiety, and OCD and has even been shown to stimulate the growth of new brain cells. Ninety four percent of participants who were involved in a study of how magic mushrooms affect the brain said that the study was one of the most meaningful experiences of their lives; 39 percent said it was the single most meaningful experience.
So whether you are enjoying your mushrooms on a salad or having a rec day, your health will be better for it!