Archive for the ‘vitamin d’ Category

Top Ten Reasons to Enjoy Mushrooms This Holiday Season

Mushroom Meatballs

Sugar and spice, and everything nice tops the list of holiday essentials, but we’re certain that mushrooms are the true hero of the holiday season. From small bites to a full feast, mushrooms are the perfect ingredient for every occasion. If you’re not convinced take a look at our top ten reasons to enjoy mushrooms for the holidays.

1) They’re always in season. From the Fourth of July to New Year’s Eve, mushrooms are always fresh and available.

2) Your guests will never know they are eating a “healthy” meatball appetizer when you replace a portion of ground meat with finely chopped mushrooms. Try these Crimini and Pork meatballs from our featured recipe tab.  (Pictured Above)

3) They are a natural source of Vitamin D, a perfect way to get your daily dose as the sun sets early.

4) From the hearty portabella to the savory shiitake, there is always a variety to choose from. Check out our Variety Pinterest board to learn more!

5) Stuffed mushrooms are always a crowd favorite. You can even combine two appetizers in one with Spinach Artichoke Dip Stuffed Mushrooms.

6) Portabella mushrooms make a great canvas for leftovers. Try these Portabella Pizettes that combine a variety of holiday flavors.

7) Not a lot of time to spend in the kitchen before guests arrive? These No-Bake Hummus Stuffed Mushrooms are the perfect appetizer to whip up in minutes.

8) This Mushroom Lasagna from What’s Gaby Cooking will have guests talking for days after the party.

9) There is never a shortage of mushroom recipes. We have more than 1,000 recipe ideas on our Pinterest boards.

10) They are healthy, versatile and delicious. What more do you need?

Happy Holidays!


Mushrooms and Health Summit

On September 9-10th the Mushroom Council held its very first Mushrooms & Health Summit in Washington D.C. Mushroom Council representative, Bart Minor, was at the two day event which boasted mushroom experts from leading scientific institutions, nutrition professionals, and a fascinating mock growing room that captured the attention of every single attendee.

Mushroom Summit Presentations

I can’t think of a better way to bring mushrooms out of the dark and into the health spotlight than at our very own Mushrooms & Health Summit. In a room full of scientists, doctors, nutrition professionals, and even foodies, it became evident that mushrooms are something we should be excited about!

I sat there fascinated by all of the emerging research; presentations on everything from weight management and immunity, to vitamin D and umami. Leading scientists and researchers are discovering new facts about mushrooms and what makes them a unique dietary component every day.

The mushroom lunch was a captivating presentation in itself. Culinary experts from the CIA showcased mushroom blendability by demonstrating their sensory sampling panel, and highlighting the research that has come out of these highly successful trials. It should be no surprise the studies found consumers generally like mushrooms as a partial substitution for ground meat because mushrooms enhance the aroma, flavor, and texture of the finished dish.

Mushroom Summit Blendability Sampling

The mock growing room was by far the star of the summit. With a huge display that showcased all commercially grow varieties, summit attendees we both surprised and delighted to see exactly how fresh mushrooms are grown in the US.

Mushroom Summit Growing Room

Since 2005, the mushroom industry has dedicated resources to better understand the nutrition properties and health benefits of mushrooms, and I was honored to see all of these resources come together to shed some light on the humble mushroom.

5 Facts You Probably Don’t Know About Mushrooms

“I didn’t know that!” A very common phrase that Council Representative, Bart Minor, hears on a regular basis when he exposes a little known fact about nature’s hidden treasure. Stick around to learn 5 facts about the mysterious mushroom.

In the past 14 years I have certainly learned a lot about mushrooms. Everything from the scientific measures it takes to grow a mushroom, to the underestimated nutrient value. It’s this knowledge that I love to share with all who will listen. To see someone’s eyes widen in happiness when I tell them mushrooms are low in fat and calories, or to see that jaw drop when I tell them mushrooms contain vitamin D – it all makes my day.

That said, I am here to share my knowledge, and potentially delight and surprise you with these 5 little known facts about mushrooms:

Mushroom Tacos

1. Mushroom Blendability Will Change the Way You Eat. Blending chopped mushrooms and meat in traditional recipes like meatloaf, burgers, taco filling and meatballs not only boost flavors, but brings another serving of vegetables to the plate. Even the kids will love the difference.

2. One Handful of Mushrooms Delivers Nutrition, Taste and Versatility. That’s right, mushrooms are in fact good for you! Fresh mushrooms are fat-free, low-calorie, nutrient-dense, low in sodium, contain natural antioxidants, and deliver important nutrients, including vitamin D, potassium, selenium, ergothionene and B vitamins. Another reason to add mushrooms to your everyday dishes.

3. Mushrooms are Full of Umami.Umami is the fifth basic taste after sweet, salty, bitter and sour. Derived from the Japanese word umami, meaning “delicious,” umami is described as a savory, brothy, rich or meaty taste sensation. It’s no wonder mushrooms have been called the “vegetarian’s meat.” All mushrooms are a rich source of umami and the darker the mushroom the more umami it contains.

4. Mushrooms naturally produce vitamin D. That’s right, following exposure to sunlight, mushrooms’ plant sterol – ergosterol – converts to vitamin D. Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D, but mushrooms are unique for being the only source in the produce aisle.

5. Give Your Immune System a Boost. Within the produce aisle, mushrooms are a leading source of the antioxidant selenium, which helps strengthen the immune system and protect body cells from damage that might lead to chronic diseases. Mushrooms are one of the best dietary sources of the antioxidant ergothioneine, which is known for its role in immunity.

Why I Love Mushrooms

In honor of National Mushroom Month, Elizabeth .M. Ward, M.S., R.D. shares reasons to enjoy mushrooms every day of the year. 

I adore vegetables, and as you may have guessed, mushrooms are among my favorites. September happens to be National Mushroom Month, but I think mushrooms are worthy of year-round praise.

They’re versatile and interesting. I never tire of mushrooms. It’s not possible to become bored when there are so many varieties to choose from, including white button, cremini (baby portabella), portabella, oyster, and shiitake. Plus, there are so many ways to use them. I serve mushrooms with meat, chicken, and fish, and as part of salads and soups. Sliced raw white button mushrooms are a delicious alternative to chips when serving dip.

Mushrooms lighten up entrees. Mushrooms fill you up, but not out. That’s because they are full of water and fiber to keep you full, while being relatively low in calories.

“I swap chopped mushrooms for a portion of meat in my favorite recipes, including chili, tacos, meatballs, lasagna, lettuce wraps, burgers and pizza.”

My family enjoys meat-free burgers made from grilled portabella caps topped with a thin slice of sharp cheddar cheese and a slab of juicy tomato between whole grain buns. Yum!

Mushrooms create excitement. When I’m pressed for time, roasted chicken is my go-to meal. I enjoy chicken, and so does my family, but to be honest, it can be boring. I like chicken even more when I spruce it up with store-bought peach salsa, caramelized onions or sautéed mushrooms.

Mushrooms offer great taste without the sodium because they have umami, the fifth basic taste after sweet, salty, bitter and sour. Umami is a brothy or meaty flavor that offers a full-bodied taste.  Mushrooms are naturally low in sodium, and their umami means you can use even less salt in your favorite dishes. The darker the mushroom, the more umami it offers.

Mushrooms are nutritious. I may be a dietitian, but if food doesn’t taste good, I won’t eat it, and I imagine you’re no different. That’s why it’s so wonderful that, in addition to tasting great, mushrooms are good for you.

For a food that’s so relatively low in calories and fat and cholesterol-free, mushrooms pack a nutritional punch. They support good health by providing B vitamins, potassium, and antioxidants that protect against cell damage.

Mushrooms are the only item in the produce aisle with natural vitamin D.  A three-ounce serving of mushrooms that have been treated with ultraviolet light, the same type of light we get from the sun, supplies about two-thirds of your daily dose of vitamin D. You and your family need vitamin D for strong bones, among other reasons.

How are you incorporating mushrooms into your meals?


Gobble the Garden

In honor of MyPlate’s first birthday celebration, Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D. is sharing useful and easy tips to make sure you never get bored with the veggies on your plate.

MyPlate, the government’s latest and, in my opinion, best symbol for healthy eating, just marked its first birthday. MyPlate stresses balanced meals and snacks using easy-to-understand themes, like the major message to “make half your plate fruits and vegetables.”


Fruits and vegetables supply similar nutrients, such as potassium, fiber, vitamins A, C and K, and folate, but most vegetables are lower in carbohydrates and calories than fruits. Vegetables are particularly nutrient-rich because they provide lots of good nutrition for relatively few calories.

How many vegetables for you?

While MyPlate puts fruits and vegetables on equal footing, it’s often more challenging to include the vegetables you need every day.

Health experts base suggestions for fruit and vegetable intake on calorie requirements.

Generally speaking, adults and teens need about five servings of fruits and vegetables a day while younger children should eat between two and three. One cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or two cups of raw leafy greens.

Amount matters, but it’s also important to vary vegetables to maximize nutrition; all vegetables are healthy, but they are not created equal. Here are some examples of the benefits vegetables have to offer:

  • Mushrooms are the only source of vitamin D in the produce aisle. One serving of mushrooms exposed to ultraviolet light provide close to two-thirds of your Daily Value for vitamin D.
  • Beans and peas are rich in protein, which most vegetables lack. They supply iron and zinc in amounts similar to seafood, meat, and poultry.
  • Tomatoes are tops for vitamin C and for lycopene, a powerful cell-protector that also provides tomatoes with their deep red hue.
  • Sweet potatoes and carrots are packed with beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant that helps ward off cell damage and serves as the raw material for making vitamin A.

Delicious, Easy Vegetable Tips

You know why you should eat more vegetables, but you may not always get what you need. Or, you may not like how vegetables taste. There’s no need to eat plain produce in the name of good health. Add some healthy fats, such as olive and canola oils, a sprinkle of good-quality grated cheese, hummus, or even peanut butter to make vegetables more appealing.

Here are some suggestions for ways to include tasty vegetables:

  • Plan meals around vegetables, such as a vegetable and beef or chicken stir-fry or chili. Substitute beans or mushrooms for half the meat in your favorite recipes.
  • Grill portabella mushrooms for burgers instead of beef and turkey. Top with 1 ounce sharp cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomato, and serve on a whole grain bun.
  • Sip 100% no-salt added vegetable juice with a meal or as a snack.
  • Choose no-salt-added, reduced-sodium, and low-sodium canned vegetables, including tomato products.
  • Place a container of cut-up vegetables in a see-through container in the refrigerator with low-fat dips, such as Ranch dressing, on hand for dipping.
  • Get kids involved with vegetable choices. When shopping, allow them to pick a vegetable to have at home.
  • Make veggie pizzas at home using chopped red bell pepper, mushrooms, onions, and artichokes. When ordering pizza, ask for extra vegetables.
  • Add chopped vegetables, such as green and red bell pepper, onions, and mushrooms to prepared pasta sauce or to your favorite lasagna recipe.
  • Roast vegetables, such as chopped broccoli and cauliflower, and thickly-sliced carrots. Toss with olive oil and the herbs of your choice and roast at 400˚F for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Grill vegetables, such as asparagus, eggplant and mushrooms. Brush each piece with olive oil before setting directly on the grill.