Portobello mushrooms have a unique look with their large tan cap, chestnut brown underside, and white stem. They are actually a more matured version of the small cremini mushroom, or button mushroom, that we commonly see. They are interesting in that they are surprisingly not a plant, although you find can them in the produce section. They are actually fungi that typically grow in dark, wet places, many times in the woods on dead trees.
Don’t let the fact that they’re a fungi freak you out! Portobello mushrooms are packed with tons of amazing nutrients, and their flavorful taste is an amazing addition to any dish. They have been used in culinary dishes, medicinally, and spiritually for centuries. In fact, during prehistoric times they were thought to have special powers that caused immortality. Pharaohs were the only people in ancient Egypt allowed to eat these immortal foods. (via Whole Foods)
Here are some of the benefits you can expect from incorporating Portobello mushrooms into your weekly meals:
Boosted immune system: White blood cells are a key component in having a strong immune system to fight off those yucky bacteria and viruses we want to avoid. Portobello mushrooms have a unique phytonutrient composition unparalleled by other foods. They are able to positively manipulate white blood cells activity and fight off those germs. Simply amazing!
Anti-cancer antioxidants: According to Science Daily, Portobello mushrooms are chalk full of cancer fighting antioxidant minerals including: selenium, zinc, and manganese. A unique antioxidant that Portobello mushrooms is called ergothioneine. Ergothioneine is not only an antioxidant, but its’ benefits focus on preventing oxidative damage to DNA. Yet another nutrient that helps to prevent cancer!
A healthy heart: Not only can Portobello mushrooms help prevent cancer; they can help prevent heart disease too! Our largest blood vessel, the aorta, is protected from oxidative damage and inflammation when we increase our intake of mushrooms. Studies have shown that eating Portobello mushrooms over a 1-2 month period can actually decrease cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women, so knowing these benefits can take you in the right direction to prevent this killer.
Their large size and texture allow you to use Portobello mushrooms as a main dish instead of a side or garnish like many items found in the produce section. Go ahead and try these delicious Portobello Pizza Caps! They are also an excellent replacement for buns on a hamburger if you are trying to go low-carb.
Whether you choose to garnish with mushrooms or make them into a hearty meal, we guarantee you’ll be fully satisfied!