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Mushrooms - What A Good Idea

Contributed by: NAPSA

by Elizabeth Pivonka, Ph.D., President, Produce for Better Health Foundation

(NAPS) - Adding mushrooms to your shopping list is a good idea since they are easy to use, versatile and provide a variety of valuable vitamins and minerals.

Mushrooms are a good source of selenium and copper. Studies show selenium may reduce the risk of cancer-particularly prostate cancer-and may play a role in cardiovascular health. In addition, a properly working immune system and the production of thyroid hormones both depend on this important mineral. Selenium has also been shown to have reproductive health benefits for men and women. Copper works with iron to produce red blood cells and keep body tissues properly oxygenated.

Mushrooms are one of the best sources of riboflavin. One serving, about five medium mushrooms, is also a good source of niacin and pantothenic acid. These B vitamins play an important role in the body's use of protein, carbohydrates and fat for energy.

Raw, white mushrooms have a mild, woodsy flavor. Refrigerating mushrooms will keep them at their best. Store them in a paper bag or remove the plastic wrap from the original container and cover it with a paper towel. Wipe them with a damp towel or quickly rinse them in cool water (do not soak mushrooms) just before using them.

Think mushrooms when salad is on the menu. Try slicing them onto baby spinach leaves and cherry tomatoes for a colorful and delicious treat. Arrange paper-thin slices of parmesean cheese (a vegetable peeler does this easily) on mixed greens and top with creamy white mushroom slices. Add a little olive oil and black pepper and serve with crusty bread for a salad that is too easy to be called "gourmet."

Perfectly sauteed mushrooms are a quick and easy vegetable. I always make extra because they are really handy to have in the refrigerator. Spoon them on to toasted bread and add a dab of low fat sour cream for a delicious snack or party appetizer.

Virtually fat free and without cholesterol, naturally low in sodium, very low in calories, a good source of valuable vitamins and minerals and delicious; mushrooms aren't just a good idea, they're a great idea.

See the recipe Perfectly Sauteed Mushrooms.


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