03 Dec 2021

Healthy Living: Best in season - mushrooms

Healthy Living:  Best in season - mushrooms

Fungi power: Mushrooms are a rich, low calorie source of fiber, protein, and antioxidants

IT so easy to get practically any food at any time of the year in our modern, global trade, but it is best to eat most foods in season to be in harmony with nature and to support your system most effectively.
If you look at autumn for example, it is amazing how the more nurturing foods become naturally available, to help ground you, calm you, and get your immune system ready for the winter. Root vegetables of all colours, wild berries, and a variety of mushrooms pop up for your autumn cooking.
Mushrooms are especially beneficial for your health; they have been the object of scientific research for many years and are considered to have valuable immune-building and anti-cancer properties. Some of these phytonutrients include beta-D-glucans, fucogalactans, APO (2-amino-3H-phenoxazin- 3-one), p-tolyl-hydrazine and so on.
The Japanese varieties are especially valued, but contrary to popular belief, the common button-type mushrooms have recently been shown to surpass some of their more exotic mushroom counterparts (like shiitake or maitake) in terms of immune system benefits. Several recent studies placed button mushrooms at the top of the list with respect to regulation of unwanted inflammation. Reishi was found to balance the immune system – making it perfect for both viral and autoimmune conditions, while also helping you to relax. Lion’s mane and oyster mushrooms are the best to regenerate your gut, underpin your overall health.
Along with extracts from oyster, shiitake, maitake, and white button mushrooms, extracts from crimini mushrooms have been found to reduce cholesterol, and the binding of certain immune cells onto the lining of the aorta, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. They also activate your innate antioxidant enzymes that protect your cells from oxidative damage.
High in hormone balancing CLA and good source of several minerals and vitamins, including selenium, copper, zinc, and a bit of bioavailable B12, mushrooms make a great vegetarian dinner option – just add more protein source, such as quinoa, legumes, or pasta made of these. The below recipes are just two of my favourite Eastern-European mushroom dishes:

Mushroom Stroganoff
500g mixed mushrooms
2 red onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic
Handful of fresh dill, finely chopped
2-3 tbsp sour cream
Olive oil, salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
Heat the onions in the olive oil, add garlic and mushrooms, season well and fry them until reduced in volume and most of their moisture evaporates. Turn off the heat, add dill, sour cream, and season to taste.

Hungarian Mushroom Stew
500g mixed mushrooms
2 red onions
1 tbsp paprika
Olive or rapeseed oil, salt and pepper
2 tbsp sour cream
A hint of hot paprika / chili / cayenne (optional)
Heat the onions until soft – remove the dish from the heat and add the paprika. Mix well, allowing the paprika to release its aroma. Add the mushrooms, season to taste and fry carefully on medium heat – avoid burning the paprika. Turn the heat off and add sour cream.

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