Mushrooms are a produce-aisle favorite, but ever wonder how they stack up nutritionally?

“Mushrooms provide a variety of nutrients with few calories,” says nutritionist and registered dietitian Karen Collins, a consultant for the American Institute for Cancer Research. “A half-cup of mushroom pieces contains just 9 calories when raw or 21 calories when cooked without added fat.

“Mushrooms are a good source of the mineral selenium, which protects against cancer as an antioxidant and by promoting DNA repair,” she adds. “Mushrooms also contain other compounds that act as antioxidants and may lead to the lowering of estrogen levels in postmenopausal women.” (High estrogen levels are linked with increased risk of breast cancer.)

Here’s a basic mushroom primer:

  • White mushrooms (“button” mushrooms) are the most common variety of cultivated mushroom, but usually the least flavorful. They keep better than most wild mushrooms, as they tend to be firmer.
  • Their brown counterparts, “crimini,” have a slightly fuller flavor.
  • Portobello mushrooms are the fully mature form of crimini and have become a popular substitute for meat.

Tune in tomorrow for a great new recipe: Mushroom Sauté with Toasted Walnuts.

Additional Mushroom Recipes on OrganicAuthority.com