No matter what mushroom is your favorite, all edible varieties are excellent low-calorie foods loaded with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrient antioxidants. These nutrient-dense, calorie-sparse delectable beauties are well-deserving of the classification of superfood.
Of the thousands of mushroom species across the globe, approximately 20 are used for culinary purposes. Americans eat about 900 million pounds of mushrooms a year, but 95% of that consumption is just one species: the common button mushroom. Interestingly, Portobello and Cremini mushrooms are simply mature versions of the button mushroom. And while mushrooms are cultivated primarily as an incredibly versatile cooking ingredient, research has shown that some differ greatly from the average button mushroom in terms of biological makeup, nutritional profile and potential supportive medicinal value. Maitake is one such variety of “super ‘shrooms.”
Maitake mushrooms (also known as “Dancing Mushroom”, “Hen-of-the-Woods” or “Ram’s Head”) are very high in ergothioneine; a sulfur-containing amino acid which is an extremely powerful antioxidant. Studies have shown that ergothioneine in mushrooms is bioavailable, meaning that it can be easily absorbed by the body. Todd J. Pesek, M.D., Heinen’s Chief Medical Officer, lauds the many benefits of Maitake in his book Eat Yourself Super. Dr. Pesek refers to an “explosion of research” that points to the possibility that compounds found in Maitake may help stimulate the immune system.
It’s easy to see how mushrooms may be an important part of an optimal, healthful diet; especially during cold and flu season. Stop by Heinen’s produce department today and check out our Maitake and other wonderful varieties of fresh and dried mushrooms.
–Bob Schminky, Wellness Consultant – Heinen’s Mayfield Heights