The key to good eating is making healthy cooking taste amazing – and any ingredient that adds flavor without much sugar, salt or fat should have a place in your pantry. Enter shiitake mushrooms, a simple (and delicious!) ingredient that does just that. Shiitakes are a natural source of glutamate, which adds savory flavor to foods, and they’re also high in a few key nutrients you need for good health.
Fill Up on Few Calories
Like most veggies, shiitake mushrooms are low in calories. A cup of cooked mushrooms has 81 calories per cup, to be exact. Using the mushrooms to bulk up your favorite dishes allows you to eat bigger servings without adding hundreds of calories, so you can feel full while still sticking to the calorie limits of your diet plan. And because shiitakes are also a good source of fiber, which slows digestion and stabilizes your blood sugar levels, you’ll feel satisfied enough to avoid cravings between meals.
Zinc for Immune Health
Shiitakes might also be just what you need to amp up your immune system for cold and flu season. They’re a great source of zinc, a mineral important for immunity. Zinc plays a key role in enzyme function, which means that low levels of zinc prevents your cells and tissues – including the tissues that make up your immune system – from working properly. Decreased immunity is one of the earliest signs of zinc deficiency, suggesting that zinc-rich foods are key to helping you fight off diseases. A cup of shiitake mushrooms has about 2 milligrams of zinc, which is between 18 and 25 of the zinc you need daily, depending on your sex.
Niacin for Energy
Eat shiitake mushrooms and you’ll also get plenty of niacin, also called vitamin B-3. Niacin plays a key role in your well-being because your body converts it to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD, a chemical essential for energy production. Without it, your cells wouldn’t be able to make the fuel they need to get you through each day. Niacin also plays a role in cell and tissue growth. A cup of shiitake mushrooms provides just over 2 milligrams of niacin, or around 14 percent of your daily niacin needs.
Healthy Serving Tips
Shiitake mushrooms are known for their powerful umami (savory) flavor, which means they’re a great way to amp up the tastiness of a dish without turning to salt, sugar or fat. Add a few shiitake mushrooms to your favorite soups as they simmer, which will allow more flavor to diffuse into the broth. Add the mushrooms to your fave chili recipe for a boost, or put together a quick weeknight dinner with a savory “noodle bowl" made with low-sodium broth, soba noodles, shiitakes, a soft-boiled egg, and green veggies like sliced bok-choy.
Source: https://healthyeating.sfgate.com | benefits shiitake mushrooms
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