Commonly considered a vegetable, mushrooms are actually a fungus, and they are delicious and nutritious. Often added to a salad or served as a side dish, mushrooms are rarely acknowledged as a source of many health-promoting nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, which have been linked to decreased risk of chronic diseases.
Each variety of mushroom will have a slightly different caloric count, but if you eat one cup of raw, white mushrooms, you will consume 15 calories. This serving size contains 0.5 grams of fiber and just over 1 gram of carbohydrates. With this serving, you will also have 1 gram of protein.
Many varieties of mushrooms are available at your local market, including crimini mushrooms, which are similar in appearance to white button mushrooms, but with a darker coffee color, deeper flavor and greater nutrient density. Portobello mushrooms are large and meaty, making them suited to be served as entrees. Porcini mushrooms have a long, fleshy stalk and pores on the underside of their cap, while oyster mushrooms have a tender, velvety texture.
Mushrooms are tasty sliced and added to salads, or as a companion to carrots and celery next to your favorite dip. Since important nutrients can be destroyed or diminished by overcooking mushrooms, it is healthiest to saute them for a few minutes. Use veggie broth instead of oil and try them with garlic or onions.