You probably don’t need any more reasons to add delicious mushrooms to your diet, but just in case you do we thought now would be a great time to point out that besides being virtually fat-free, low in calories and carbohydrates, nutrient-rich mushrooms also one of your biggest potential allies in the fight against obesity and heart attacks and prostate cancer, three of the major health risks for men. That’s right, eating more mushrooms is pretty much a no-brainer.
Yup, mushrooms are pretty much a super food for men. If you don’t believe us, just look at the facts. They’re a good source of essential minerals – such as heart-healthy potassium (helpful to offset the effects of sodium and lower blood pressure) and selenium (that may protect against prostate cancer). Plus, their meaty flavour and hearty texture appeals to manly taste buds and is exactly what men need to stay lean and healthy. These nutritional heavyweights are also rich in anti-oxidants and Vitamins B and D.
Here are a few quick facts on why mushrooms are essential for men:
1. One cup of mushrooms contains a mere 18 calories and zero grams of fat making it a “must include ingredient” in any weight loss programme.
2. To lose weight but still gain muscle, all you have to do is to replace the meat on your plate with mushrooms. Not only are they low in calories, they’re high in fibre and pack a powerful protein punch too!
3. Selenium is a recognised ally against prostate cancer and a serving of Portabellini mushrooms (80-100gm) provides almost a third of your daily selenium needs.
4. Studies show that diets rich in potassium and low in sodium can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, the number one killer of men. Two-thirds of a cup of sliced, grilled portabella mushrooms contains as much potassium as a medium-sized banana. And, whilst a low salt diet allows 400-1000mg of sodium per day, fresh mushrooms contain only 14mg of sodium per 100gm. Impressively healthy!
5. Finally, adding mushrooms to your diet could improve your sex-life! They inhibit oestrogen production and contain enzymes that promote testosterone conversion making sure that testosterone levels remain high. And that’s never bad!
So many good reasons to throw a handful of mushrooms into every meal and the best news is that mushrooms are on supermarket shelves 365 days a year! And if you need a recipe or two, we’ve got you covered – check out the three deliciously easy mushrooms recipes to try below! (Psst, plus if you buy a punnet of mushrooms during June, you could win a Weber braai – look out for the promotional packs in stores and click here for more information).
MUSHROOM, CARAMELIZED ONIONS, BRIE & ROASTED GARLIC PIZZA
Serves 2 – 4
30ml olive oil
3 onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
5ml soft brown sugar
500g readymade white bread dough* polenta or cake flour, for dusting
45ml sundried tomato pesto or Neapolitan pasta sauce
3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 big brown mushroom, thickly sliced
100g Portabellini mushrooms, thickly sliced
125g brie cheese, sliced
milled black pepper
coarse sea salt
*find in the fridge section at large supermarkets
Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan over a very low heat. Separate the onion slices into rings and add to the oil, with the crushed garlic. Cover and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are golden and soft. Stir in the sugar, and cook, uncovered for 3-4 minutes or until the onions are golden and caramelised. Set aside and allow to cool. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Roll out the bread dough onto a floured or polenta-dusted counter top until ½ cm in thickness. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Spread a layer of sundried tomato pesto or Neapolitan pasta sauce on top of the dough. Top the pizza base with the reserved onion mixture. Add the sliced big brown and Portabellini mushrooms and garlic. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Add the brie and return to the oven for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese just starts to melt. Top with salt and pepper and some parsley or coriander leaves before serving.
STICKY, SMOKEY SAUSAGE AND MUSHROOM SKEWERS
Serves 4 – 6
60ml BBQ sauce
45ml plum sauce or peach chutney
30ml honey wooden bamboo skewers, soaked in warm water
12 – 18 Portabellini mushrooms
6 pork, beef or chicken sausages
45ml white sesame seeds
To Serve (optional):
grilled pita breads
Mix the BBQ sauce, honey and chutney in a small mixing bowl. Thread the mushrooms onto the skewers, alternating with the sausages that have been cut in half. Brush the sausages and mushrooms with the basting sauce and sprinkle some sesame seeds over the top. Grill or roast the sausages, basting occasionally with the sauce and sesame seeds. Serve with grilled pita breads, salad leaves and tzatziki.
SPICY BEEF & MUSHROOM STEW
12 ml oil
320 g beef cubes
2.4 cloves garlic, crushed
6 baby onions, peeled
12 ml brandy (optional)
12 ml Moroccan Harissa paste
0.8 tin diced tomatoes
600 ml beef stock
320 g Portabellini mushrooms
salt and milled black pepper
8 ml fresh parsley, chopped
Heat the oil in a pan and fry the beef, in batches, for 2-3 minutes, or until browned. Transfer the meat to a plate and fry the garlic and onions, over a low heat, for 5-7 minutes, or until the onions have softened. Increase the heat and return the meat to the pan. Add the brandy, if using, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the harissa paste, tomatoes and stock and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over a low heat for 1 ½ hours. Stir in the mushrooms and cook for 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender. Season with salt and pepper and top with parsley. Serve with creamy polenta and seasonal vegetables.
For more great recipes using mushroom visit the South African Mushroom Farmers Association website. To find out how you can win a Weber just by eating more mushrooms click here.