The following article was written by Heinen’s Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek RD, LD.
People either love or loathe mushrooms. If you fall into the latter group, this article isn’t an attempt to convert you, but it may open your eyes to some of ways mushrooms can benefit your overall wellness and help you discover delicious mushroom-based products available at Heinen’s.
Let’s start with the basics!
Are Mushrooms Vegetables?
Fresh mushrooms can be found in Heinen’s Produce Department, so it makes sense to classify them as a vegetable. But the truth is, mushrooms are the fruiting body of fungi! From an Fx, food as medicine standpoint, they are considered functional foods. Functional foods are those that offer health benefits beyond basic nutrition.
Unlike vegetables, mushrooms don’t require light and are grown indoors year-round. You also won’t find a vegetable that doubles in size every day during the growing process as mushrooms do.
What Fresh Mushrooms are Available at Heinen’s?
Most of us can trace our first mushroom experience to the common button variety, but with so many other options available in Heinen’s Produce Department, it’s time to step out of your comfort zone and explore other varieties like Portabella, crimini (aka “baby bellas”), shiitake, lion’s mane, oyster, king trumpet, beech and maitake (aka “hen of the woods”).
Thanks to their meaty texture and savory umami flavor, mushrooms make a perfect stand-in for meat and seafood dishes.
Fresh mushrooms are a cinch to add to meals. Some of my favorite ways to cook with mushrooms include:
- Making a hearty pot of creamy Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup.
- Serving sauteed mushrooms alongside grilled grass-fed steak.
- Swapping traditional sloppy joes with these Lentil and Mushroom Sloppy Joes.
- Adding cooked mushrooms and a variety of other rainbow veggies to scrambled eggs, omelets or egg bites.
- Celebrating Meatless Monday with a batch of homemade Mushroom Kale Burgers.
Mushroom Nutrition and Health Benefits
The health benefits and nutritional value of mushrooms are plentiful:
- Immune Health: Mushrooms are the only food capable of increasing its own vitamin D levels through exposure to UV light. When it comes to immune strength, vitamin D is a superstar because it brings balance to your immune system by protecting your cells from chronic inflammation and invaders like viruses (the cause of colds and flu).
- Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails: Mushrooms are loaded with the B vitamins riboflavin, niacin, folate and pantothenic acid, all of which are essential for cell growth and formation.
- Brain Health: Lion’s mane mushrooms have the potential to protect against neurological damage and promote the growth of nerve tissue.
The Best Fx-Approved Mushroom Products at Heinen’s
Enjoying the benefits of mushrooms has never been easier thanks to these mushroom-based products available at your local Heinen’s.
- Om Lion’s Mane Organic Mushroom Powder: This brain health superfood powder mixes well with smoothies, coffee or tea. It’s a smart way to help fuel your noggin!
- Pan’s Mushroom Jerky: A savory snack made from shiitake mushrooms, which have a fleshy and fibrous texture that create a satisfying chew.
- Phillips Mushroom Farms Organic Gourmet Blend Mushroom: A fresh blend of baby bella, shiitake and oyster mushrooms that are perfect for stir fries.
- Actual Veggies Truffle Burger: Chef-crafted shiitake mushroom patties with white truffle. Expect a deliciously crunchy outside and a soft, warm inside!
Now that you’re up to speed on the many benefits of this flavorful and versatile superfood, it’s time to make mushrooms a regular part of your diet.
As a registered dietitian, I recommend starting with a teaspoon of Om Mushroom Powder in your morning coffee or tea. It’s a simple, yet powerful way to start your day!