Need more Vitamin D? Consider mushrooms

Stretching your food and diet with mushrooms!

Recently, I was sitting in a workshop, put on by the Mushroom Council, to learn how to “stretch” meals with mushrooms.  I figure we could all benefit from learning to stretch the food dollar, and through Michigan State University Extension, pass this information along to staff working with participants feeding their families on a budget, in workshops and with readers who occasionally read these news articles. The youthful, bubbly lady doing the presentation started with the usual facts about mushrooms, explained a bit about the council and was frequently interrupted by an enthusiastic participant wanting to learn and share as much information as possible.  However, the presenter did share that mushrooms are an excellent source of Vitamin D.  Mushrooms, she says reacts to sunlight much like humans do and can produce their own Vitamin D.  This immediately sparked my interest as I know the challenge we have with clientele not enjoying other Vitamin D-rich sources. 

Here are a few ways in which mushrooms can be “stretch” when cooking with meat:

  1. Finely diced mushrooms resembles cooked ground meat
  2. This will add less calories to the dish than adding more ground meat
  3. It adds a serving of vegetables, a great way to hide veggies from the kids and the die-hards
  4. Flavor is enhanced because the mushrooms take on the flavors of the food around it.
  5. Mushrooms are a great source of potassium, more than some other popular sources.
  6. Mushroom growers can increase the Vitamin D in mushrooms by exposing them to ultraviolet light, for very short - a few seconds – and increase their Vitamin D to levels that can provide 100 percent of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI).
  7. Consumers can do a similar practice by exposing the mushrooms to sunlight or ultraviolet light for a few seconds, and increase the Vitamin D of the mushroom.  And Voila! We have an excellent source of Vitamin D source.

I’m excited and ready to share this good news, because I know from the dietary recalls of clients, the intake of Vitamin D-rich foods are low, amongst women especially, and a new, richer source of Vitamin D can be an answer.

The presenter explains that about 25 percent of mushrooms on the market today have been exposed to ultraviolet light to increase their Vitamin D, but we will see an increase in the marketplace of Vitamin D-rich mushrooms.  This is a great way to increase the health benefits of Vitamin D in a diet, without having to sacrifice the skin to overexposure to sunlight. 

Watch for more information on this growing area in nutrition today.  In the meantime, check out the list of Vitamin D in these mushrooms.

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