In June the mushrooms start growing in the woods. The mushrooms, even if they are vegetables, aren’t constituted by cellulose, such as salads or fruits, but by nitrogenous substances, carbohydrates, low fat and, in particular, proteins. And it is thanks to this characteristic that mushrooms have been nicknamed the plant based meat. But the mushrooms are also a precious source of mineral salts such as iron, zinc, magnesium and selenium that give anticancer and antioxidant properties. Mushrooms contain also vitamins, such as D, group B, C and E, support the immune system, the work of the liver and help counteract high blood sugar and cholesterol levels (Valverde et al, Int J Microbiol, Jan 2015). For this reason, the mushrooms are useful in case of obesity, high blood sugar and cholesterol but also, due to their laxative action, in case of constipation. Let’s see better in detail the properties of the mushrooms on the basis of the different cooking methods and combination with other foods.
Mushrooms, preparations and cooking methods
The mushrooms can be eaten raw or cooked. Raw mushrooms have a laxative action, are more digestible than cooked mushrooms and maintain the maximum amount of antioxidants and vitamins (Ng et al, J Food Sci Technol, Nov 2017). However, in order to eat them raw, their origin should be precise and safe in order to avoid ingesting also toxic substances that a good cooking would remove. Usually, for this preparation, champignon mushrooms are used. The mushrooms should be rinsed with a damp cloth and cut into thin slices, then, you can season them with extra virgin olive oil and a little sea salt, lemon juice and parsley. With cooking the amount of vitamin C and antioxidant polyphenols is reduced (Ng et al, J Food Sci Technol, Nov 2017). However, roasted or sautéed mushrooms stimulate the liver. In comparison to sautéed mushrooms, the roasted or baked mushrooms are cooked in bigger pieces and for this reason there is a lower surface exposure to heat and they will maintain a higher amount of nutrients (Aufiero, the nutritional and therapeutic role of foods). For baked mushrooms big sized mushrooms such as pleurotus are used. These should be cut into big pieces, then cooked in the oven at 150°C for 30 minutes and finally seasoned with extra virgin olive oil and parsley. Sautéed mushrooms, instead, should be rinsed with a damp cloth and cut into thin slices. In a frying pan pour the extra virgin olive oil and heat together with a clove of garlic, when the oil is hot add also the mushrooms.
Mushrooms, food combinations
The mushrooms can be combined with some cooked vegetables such as chicory and with all raw vegetables, with the exception of raw spinach in order to avoid an overload of substances such as purines, that may cause kidney stones in predisposed people. Mushrooms and fish are a good food combination especially in case of overweight and obesity because in this way the metabolism is stimulated thanks to the iodine of the fish and the stimulating action on the liver of the mushrooms (Aufiero, the nutritional and therapeutic role of foods). In case of overweight but also in case of constipation or for the general health of the body by exploiting the anticancer effect of the mushrooms, a good combination is given by mushrooms, for example sautéed, and pasta. The same is true for the combination between mushrooms and polenta or mushrooms and rice. Very interesting is the association between mushrooms and egg, especially in case of anemia and debilitation since both mushrooms and egg contain iron. For this reason, you can try an omelet with mushrooms that has also the advantage of stimulating the liver and results useful in case obesity and type 1 and 2 diabetes (Aufiero, the nutritional and therapeutic role of foods).
Mushrooms are rich in purines and for this reason should be avoided or limited in case of gout, kidney stones and hyperuricemia. The mushrooms contain also adenosine, a substance that counteracts the platelet aggregation. For this reason, while the mushrooms are indicated in case of cardiovascular diseases with an increase in blood viscosity, they are contraindicated in case of problems related to blood clotting. Be careful also in case of digestive problems, the mushrooms may result difficult to digest. The mushrooms should also be limited during pregnancy, because they are a challenging food for the liver but also because of their action as blood thinner.