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Cooking How-To: Healthy Mushrooms

Mushrooms are not only delicious, but many provide nutritional and health benefits as well. A respectable source of protein on their own, mushrooms provide all the essential amino acids when combined with grains. Low in fat and carbohydrates, mushrooms also deliver useful amounts of some B vitamins and trace minerals.

Healthy cooking methods include:  

  1. In a pan - sauté in a bit of olive or grapeseed oil.
  2. Grilling - fresh shiitakes are delicious grilled and basted in a little teriyaki sauce. (Mix equal parts dry sherry or sake, one part reduced-sodium Japanese soy sauce, and one tablespoon of sugar for each cup of liquid.)
  3. On the stove - Asian methods, such as simmering mushrooms in broth or stir-frying them with vegetables, work very well.

It's important to thoroughly cook mushrooms since their cell walls are tough and the digestive system may have to work hard to get their full nutritional benefits. Heat will help eliminate that problem, as well as bring out the best flavors and textures.

Cooked Asian mushrooms occupy an entire row on my Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid. Here's some more information on my favorite types: Mushrooms for Good Health?

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Reader Comments (6)

I recently heard that the popular button mushrooms have no health benefits at all.
Dr. Weil, could you expand on this.
Thank you. And thank you for supplying so much info.

August 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngie A

In general, I advise against eating a lot of the cultivated white or "button" mushrooms found on supermarket shelves throughout the United States (portobello and crimini mushrooms are the same species). They are among a number of foods (including celery, peanuts, peanut products, and salted, pickled, or smoked foods) that contain natural carcinogens. Just how dangerous these natural toxins are is unknown, but we do know that they are not present in other kinds of mushrooms that offer great health benefits. If you do eat these varieties, never eat them raw and cook them thoroughly over high heat; that will break down some of the toxins.
Instead of button mushrooms, I recommend seeking out the more exotic varieties, which are becoming increasingly available in the United States. Some are edible and can make a delicious addition to your diet, but some are strictly medicinal mushrooms available in dried, liquid extract or in capsule form.
Here in this link is a list of mushrooms that Dr. Weil does recommend.

August 16, 2010 | Unregistered

I've heard that you are looking for some favorite wild mushroom recipes. The big three in our house are morels in cream sauce as a topping on GF pizza; black trumpet (chantherelles fallax) butter; and an appetizer of thin slices of raw beefsteak mushroom (Fistulina hepatica) atop dollar-sized dollops of very well-aged and stinky mozzarella cheese. If you want more info I'm happy to provide.
Charles Luce
Treasurer, New York Mycological Society

August 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCharles Luce

Thank you for both comments... Dr. Weil, I went to the link and it answered all my questions.
Mr. Luce, thank you, I will try these recipes. I'll be back if I have any more questions.

August 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngie A

grandioso su aporte y escritos, soy un seguidor y admirador de su aporte a la medicina
Thanks very much

August 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterALBERTO ERASO

Muchas Gracias Sr.

August 17, 2010 | Unregistered
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