On the MM Trail: I share some mushroom benefits of the mushrooms that joined me for the hike and served as tasty trail snacks
I recently hiked on the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail (MM), starting on the northern border of Connecticut and up to Mount Monadnock in Jaffrey, NH.
During a rain break, I decided to share a little bit about some of the mushrooms I brought with me on the hiking trip. You can watch the video below, and be sure to read about the mushroom benefits further on in this article.
Mushroom benefits of four great fungi
Chicken of the woods: It’s the end of September in the Northeast and it’s a great time to find chicken of the woods popping up around the woods. I’ve been adding this mushroom to cous cous and dried grains to get more protein. One of the great mushroom benefits is that they are a high-protein, low-calorie and low-fat food source. These chicken of the woods “nuggets” are great eating during the fall.
Shiitake mushrooms: I brought a bag of dried shiitakes with me on my hiking trip. Shiitakes are a great, light trail food. They rehydrate well and add a lot of flavor to whatever they are mixed with. When you dehydrate shiitakes in the sun, they convert a compound called “ergosterol” into vitamin D. I let these shiitakes dehydrate in the sun, so there is a huge amount of that vitamin D goodness.
Cordyceps mushrooms: Next I have a bag of dried cordyceps grown at our farm. Cordyceps have some compounds that are the building blocks to producing ATP. I’ve been using them for making tea. It’s great to get an energy boost during these days of 15-17 miles of hiking. Interested in learning more about cordyceps mushroom? Check out this article I wrote about my trip to Shanghai in search of the best cordyceps strains to grow.
Hen of the woods (maitake): Next I bust out the other ‘poultry’ mushroom. I’ve been seeing a lot of maitake out this time of year. It is great eating! Maitake, along with many other mushrooms, provide high contents of beta glucans. These compounds help modulate the immune system, toning it down or boosting it up, depending on what’s needed. On days when it is rainy and cold outside, it’s nice to have a boost to the immune system, which maitake can provide. They also taste great.
Some more mushroom benefits
We love to discuss the benefits of mushrooms and have a variety of times before in other articles.
Here’s one additional piece of data that’s interesting. According to the Mushrooms and Health Summit Proceedings from 2013, on people who ate mushrooms versus those that did not: “Compared with nonconsumers, consumers had higher intakes of energy, protein, thiamin, niacin, folate, copper, selenium, and sodium. Total and added sugars were lower in mushroom consumers. Consumers also had higher total Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores than did nonconsumers; specifically, HEI subcomponent scores were higher for total vegetables, dark-green/orange vegetables, total grains, and milk and lower for sodium.”
Mushroom benefits: Vitamins and amino acids
Let's take a look at some of the healthful constituents found in mushrooms, like vitamins and amino acids.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are nine amino acids essential to humans because our bodies cannot make them. While animal-based foods generally contain all the necessary amino acids, plant-based proteins are usually low in one or more kind. Mushrooms, however, contain all nine types of essential amino acids.
Edible mushrooms are a fantastic source of several vitamins, especially B vitamins. The B vitamins found in mushrooms help your body break down carbohydrates and fats and play an important role in the nervous system. Need more vitamins in your life? Vitamins are part of the mushroom nutrition worth knowing. Eating one cup of mushrooms can provide you with the following amounts of vitamins, depending on the species:
- 7% daily intake of B1
30-35% daily intake of B2
22-25% daily intake of B3
23% daily intake of B6
Most people are surprised to find that mushrooms are also a great source for vitamin D. Just like humans, mushrooms produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. When it comes to getting this essential vitamin, mushrooms are the only source of produce that can help. The key here is that they have to be exposed to sunlight. Check out our dried mushrooms
to help boost your vitamin D intake. They can be added to soups, risottos and vegetable dishes, or made into a delicious tea.
Also check out these great articles for more on mushroom benefits:
Resources for this article:
Mushrooms and Health Summit Proceedings.