If there were anything low on calories, without fat or cholesterol, yet sweet to the tongue, they have to be the yummy mushrooms. They are rich in vital minerals, vitamins and other healthy quanta that are very much needed for a perfect and disease-free lifestyle.
Health benefits of mushrooms are wide and beyond scope of this article. In brief, mushrooms are ambrosia with anticancer, antioxidant, and immune promoting properties. With the alarming rise in the incidence of diseases and not-so-good lifestyle, people around the globe are deprived of healthy food habits and suffer through their lives.
In this pretext, we would like to provide an insight on the nutritional composition of mushrooms. According to Ars.Usda.gov report, Americans consume 2.6 pounds per capita of fresh mushrooms. Of the lot, white button mushrooms are the favourite. Not to exclude the mushrooms down the favourite hit-list, shitake, enoki, maitake, oyster, portabella are a few other fast-sellers.
A survey conducted by the USDA involved samples of these mushrooms collected from retail outlets. These samples were analysed in their raw form and cooked (stir-fried and microwaved) form and nutritional values predicted. As per the report, mushrooms provide total dietary fiber ranging from 1.4g/100g in white mushrooms to 2.8 g/100g in enoki mushroom. Enoki mushrooms are found to have good amounts of vitamins, niacin and folate, 52 mcg/100g and 7 mg/100g respectively. And the good news is that, mushrooms did not lose these nutrients even after cooking. However, heat-liable nutrients such as folate, vitamin B-6 were reduced to about 85% of their original content after cooking. Sodium was leached out as it was water soluble, and is assumed to be irrespective of cooking methods adopted.
All the mushrooms were found of contain phosphorus, sodium, zinc, iron, selenium, copper, magnesium and calcium. The difference in the overall content of these minerals was not significant. The potassium content was found to be greatest in both enoki and white mushrooms with a potassium level of approximately 359 mg/100g. Maitake had 204 mg/100g of potassium.
Vitamins namely, riboflavin, panthothenic acid, and vitamin B6 were abundantly found in the mushrooms. White mushrooms are good source of vitamin- folate 19 mcg/100g, while enoki mushrooms serve the highest folate 52 mcg/100g among the other mushrooms.
White mushrooms were found to be rich in proteins 3 g/100g. Maitake/shitake showed lesser protein content of the lot. However, maitake/shitake beat others when it came to carbohydrates, dietary fiber and ergosterol. Ergosterol being the precursor of vitamin D, shitake seems to be good choice for healthy bone. Further studies indicate that mushrooms grown in exposure to UVB light have significantly high ergosterol content.
Every mushroom sample exhibited decimals of fat that was quite negligible (0.3 g/100g), so diet conscious and fitness freaks can munch on mushrooms without being haunted by the guilt. Another reason to hog on mushrooms is their innate ability to retain nutrients even after cooking. It is reported that stir-frying helps to retain larger percentage of nutrients than microwaving. Vitamins and minerals except sodium were found to be completely retained without any losses.