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Nutrition News About Mushrooms

Feed Your Immune System: Taking a Closer Look at Nutrients Found in Mushrooms

We hope that our health professional community is staying safe and healthy during these difficult times. We’re kicking off our first nutrition newsletter of the year with a timely topic, healthy eating and the immune system.
 
The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues and organs that work together to protect the body against infection and maintain overall health. Mushrooms, like other fruits and vegetables, can play a positive role in supporting a healthy immune system.
 
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasize the importance of creating a healthy eating pattern to maintain health and reduce the risk of disease. Suggestions include:
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Focus on whole fruits.
  • Vary your vegetables.
  • Make half your grains whole grains.
  • Move to low-fat and fat-free milk or yogurt.
  • Vary your protein routine.
  • Drink and eat less sodium, saturated fat and added sugars.
Nutrients Important for Overall Wellness
There are a variety of micronutrients, as identified by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, that are important for supporting a healthy immune system including selenium and vitamins D and B6, which can be found in mushrooms.
 
Download our NEW fact sheet for more information.
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Earth Month Brings Sustainable Nutrition to the Forefront

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental implications of what they eat and every year around Earth Day, there is often an influx of media attention on sustainability. There is a growing momentum in making positive ecological changes in the food system, and organizations, including the Mushroom Council, have made investments in research to learn more.

In June 2018, a session, sponsored by the Mushroom Council and the Almond Board of California, was convened at the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting to discuss the scientific evidence on what makes individual foods and dietary patterns both sustainable and nutritious. The session also looked at the role of various stakeholders in the actions needed to implement food systems that deliver sustainable nutrition.

Author David Gustafson provided a synopsis of the primary themes of the session in Current Developments in Nutrition, a publication of the American Society for Nutrition. Click here to read: “Growing Progress in the Evolving Science, Business, and Policy of Sustainable Nutrition1.” The article includes a set of implications and research recommendations.
 
Learn more about mushroom sustainability
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Update on 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines

By Mary Jo Feeney, MS, RDN, FADA, FAND
Nutrition Research Consultant to the Mushroom Council

Although the work of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is ongoing through May, the report of the Data Analysis and Food Pattern Modeling Cross-Cutting Working Group at the Committee’s 4th meeting January 23, offered insight into how mushrooms can play an important role in improving consumers’ food choices.

According to the Working Group, vegetables continue to be under-consumed – 1.5 cup equivalent compared to 2.5 cup recommended for a 2,000 calorie intake. Burgers and sandwiches were the primary sources of vegetables in consumers’ diets. Consumers also exceed their intake of energy/calories and solid fats – with burgers and sandwiches among the top 5 contributors to energy intake.

Consumer research2 on acceptance of mushroom-meat blended products discovered that getting more vegetables in the diet was the top reason for consuming blended products and that burgers were the preferred way.  While mushrooms can help increase vegetable intake through the blend application, research is underway to document the contribution of mushrooms to the USDA Healthy Eating Patterns when eaten in a full 84 g serving. Look for results of this research in our coming newsletters.

The Committee will hold a webcast only meeting May 11 at which its final report will be presented prior to submitting it to the Secretaries of the Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services.
Join the Webinar May 11

MushroomCouncil.org Now Available for Industry, Health Professionals

The Mushroom Council built a new website, MushroomCouncil.org, that provides resources and inspiration for all facets of the food industry to promote fresh mushrooms. Specific areas of focus include:
  • For dietitians; the latest research findings on health benefits; nutrition fact sheets; tips for adding mushrooms to the athletic training table for sports dietitians; and robust toolkits for retail dietitians.
  • For school nutrition professionals: mushroom resources for K-12 cafeterias and classrooms; cafeteria posters and downloadable graphics; recipe inspiration from real school menus; classroom education materials; and handouts for parents and caregivers.
  • For retailers: case studies from fellow retailers; downloadable logos, images, graphics and recipe cards; tips on in-store storage and display; and timely and topical sell sheets.
Visit MushroomCouncil.org

Varietal Spotlight: Maitake Mushrooms

Commonly referred to as ‘Hen of the Woods,’ maitake mushrooms (Grifola frondosa) have a delicate, rippling fan shape and rich, woodsy flavor.


How They Grow: The cultivated maitake starts out as a mushroom “culture”- a piece of mushroom tissue grown on special sterile media in a petri plate in a laboratory. The culture is used to make mushroom spawn: a series of steps to make a lot of mushroom tissue out of a little. The mushroom spawn is used to inoculate maitake production logs, which are made out of sawdust supplemented with grain byproducts such as bran. The logs go through a “spawn run” where the mushroom spawn colonizes the sawdust and supplements and knits them together in a solid mass – this takes about 30 days. The logs are incubated in special mushroom houses with temperature, humidity and air flow carefully controlled. Once the logs start to pin (small mushrooms begin to form), the logs are moved into “fruiting” houses which are also very carefully controlled to provide the best environment for mushroom formation. The whole process from lab to table takes from 10 to 14 weeks.
How to Prep Them: While you could chop maitake mushrooms with a knife as you would other mushroom varieties, try using your hands to tear off bite-sized pieces. Start at the stem and break the mushroom into large chunks with some of the core attached, then tear into smaller pieces. Or, take a whole maitake mushroom, slice in half through the stem and pan sear as you would a steak.

Delicious and Nutritious: One cup of diced maitake mushrooms3 (70g) has no fat or sodium, 2 grams fiber and is an excellent source of vitamin D (19.7mcg/99% RDA), niacin (5mg/29% RDA) and copper (0.176mg/20%).

Recipe: Maitake Wild Rice Salad

Makes 6 servings
 
Ingredients:
1/2 cup raw walnut pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
6 ounces maitake mushrooms, roughly chopped or torn into small pieces
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup dry wild rice, cooked according to package directions and cooled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Instructions:
Toast the walnut pieces over medium-high heat in a large, dry skillet. Stir often and cook for 3 minutes, or until you begin to smell their nutty aroma. Remove from heat and transfer the nuts to a bowl to cool.

Add oil to the skillet and adjust to medium heat. Add onions, stirring often for 1 minute. Stir in the mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes. They will soften and shrink, but still have a somewhat firm bite. Stir in the walnuts and cook for another 30 seconds.

Remove the skillet from the heat and add the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir well and let cool to room temperature.

Transfer the rice to a large bowl. Add the mushrooms and toss together. Sprinkle with chives before serving at room temperature or chilled.

1. Gustafson, D., Smith Edge, M., Griffin, T.S., Kendall, A.M., Kass, S.D., ‘Growing Progress in the Evolving Science, Business, and Policy of Sustainable Nutrition,’ Current Developments in Nutrition, June 2019, vol. 3, issue 6, nzz059, https://doi.org/10.1093/cdn/nzz059

2. Lang, M. ‘Consumer acceptance of blending plant-based ingredients into traditional meat-based foods: Evidence from the meat-mushroom blend’ Food Quality and Preference, Jan. 2020, vol. 79, 103758. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2019.103758

3. 1. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2019. fdc.nal.usda.gov.

The views and opinions in the article links included in this email are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the Mushroom Council.

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