“Without leaves, without buds, without flowers;
Yet they form fruit.
As a Food, as a tonic, as a medicine;
The entire creation is precious.”
-weird mushroom poem of sketchy origin
Mushrooms: They have B12! When exposed to UV light, they make vitamin D2. Protein, fibre, and selenium. Shall I go on?
Maybe Vitamin D2 isn’t as good as D3, but it’s not worthless: Dietary vitamin D2 – a potentially underestimated contributor to vitamin D nutritional status of adults (Cashman et al., 2014)
If you have a pet reptile or just so happen to have a Repti-Glo bulb (or an epic Sperti lamp), try putting some shrooms under it for a half hour to increase the Vitamin D content (this is partly speculative, but has precedence: eg, Roberts et al., 2008, Ko et al., 2008, and Koyyalamudi et al., 2009).
Mushrooms protect against oxidative stress in hepatocytes and neurons (Guizani and Waly, 2012).
“Neuronal health – can culinary and medicinal mushrooms help?” (Sabaratnam et al., 2013)
Therapeutic potential of mushrooms for neurodegenerative diseases (Phan et al., 2014)
White button mushrooms improve memory in mice (Bennett et al., 2013)
…and some of ‘em, like shiitake, taste quite meaty.
N.B. 1) The carbs in mushrooms aren’t very carby — they’re complex glycans like prebiotics, and can improve gut microbial diversity (at least in mice) (Varshney et al., 2013); and 2) there aren’t many total carbs in mushrooms; they’re mostly water.
The proteins are pretty cool, too: Bioactive proteins from mushrooms (Xu et al., 2011)… immunomodulatory proteins, ribosome inactivating proteins, laccases, antitumor, antiviral, antioxidant… and in terms of overall protein quality: not bad.
A cute baby white button mushroom eventually grows up to be a Portabello, and big Portabello caps are very versatile in the kitchen: use ‘em to replace burger buns, or just make a few of these for breakfast –>
I’m pretty sure they’re “in-season,” year-round. Paleo and Low Carb-friendly. Good calories, albeit not very many calories (for those who are counting).