Detroit -

Mushrooms have grown so much in popularity that they now require their own day.

Tina Miller, Meijer Healthy Living Advisor, says that April 16 is Mushroom Day. 

he adds that this incredibly nutritious vegetable has health benefits often overlooked. 

Mushrooms have been gaining popularity and now join tomatoes and broccoli as one of the three most popular vegetables among U.S. consumers.

Mushroom Facts:
Mushrooms are low in sodium, plus their satisfying umami taste counterbalances saltiness and allows for less salt to be used in a dish, without compromising flavor.

Mushrooms are the only fresh fruit or vegetable with vitamin D.
Similar to humans, mushrooms naturally produce vitamin D following exposure to sunlight or a sunlamp: mushrooms’ plant sterol - ergosterol - converts to vitamin D when exposed to light. Retailers currently offer a variety of light-exposed mushrooms which can provide close to 400 IU of vitamin D per serving (approximately 4-5 white button or crimini mushrooms, or one portabella).  That’s impressive since the recommended intake of Vitamin D for adults is 600 IU per day.

Mushrooms are low in calories, fat free, and can be an effective substitute for meats thanks to their hearty and fulfilling nature.

Mushrooms may help reduce cancer risk.  Initial studies show compounds in mushrooms suppress the effects of aromatase, an enzyme that helps the body make estrogen. Blocking aromatase is a way physicians reduce circulating estrogen levels, which is important in addressing hormone-dependent breast cancers.

Mushrooms provide B vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid, which help to provide energy by breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

Within the produce aisle, mushrooms are a leading source of the antioxidant selenium, which helps strengthen the immune system and protect body cells from damage that might lead to chronic diseases.  Most American’s don’t get enough selenium in their daily diet.
   
Mushrooms are one of the best dietary sources of the antioxidant ergothioneine, which is known for its role in immunity.

Mushrooms are a good source of potassium, which helps control blood pressure.  A ½ cup serving of cooked mushrooms provide about 275mg Potassium, while ½ cup raw contains about 100 mg Potassium.

Marvelous Mushroom Recipes:

Mushroom and Peppers Grill-Fry
Serves: 4
Ingredients
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
1 yellow pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
1 red onion, cut into chunks
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
3 Tablespoons Meijer canola oil
McCormick® Ground Black Pepper to taste
½ pound cooked Meijer Ultimate pasta noodles, such as spaghetti, thin spaghetti or angel hair
1 bunch green onions, sliced
 Directions
1. Toss the baby bella mushrooms, broccoli florets, yellow and red pepper chunks and red onion chunks in a bowl. Mix in the crushed garlic cloves, soy sauce and canola oil. Let sit in the marinade for at least 30 minutes. Season with a little pepper before placing  in the basket on the grill.
2.  Cook the pasta noodles as directed and drain.
3.  Drain the marinade and save it for the noodles. Toss the marinated vegetables in a grill basket over medium heat over the grill. (Alternately, place vegetables on aluminum foil on grill.) Grill for 8 to 10 minutes, tossing every few minutes, or until broccoli turns bright green and peppers begin to soften.
4.  Meanwhile, soak the cooked noodles in the soy sauce marinade until vegetables are done cooking. Drain the marinade off the noodles and toss them with the cooked vegetables. Sprinkle the sliced green onions over the top.
5.  Serve Mushroom and Vegetable Grill-Fry over noodles of your choice.

Nutrition Facts:  Calories: 400; Total Fat: 12g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium:  790mg; Protein: 15g; Total Carbohydrate: 59g; Dietary Fiber: 6g
Content and recipes adapted from MushroomCouncil.org

MLT  Wrap
Serves 4
Ingredients
4 large portabella mushrooms, sliced (or 8 ounces white button mushrooms, quartered)
2 tablespoons Meijer olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup Meijer low-fat mayonnaise
2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
2 cups fresh baby spinach
2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
4 Meijer whole wheat tortillas
Directions:
1.  Brush portabella strips with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with pepper and salt. Heat olive oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a single layer of mushrooms and cook, without stirring, for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms become red-brown on one side. Flip mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes more, until other side is same color.
2.  While mushrooms are cooking, warm warps in a dry skillet. Stir mayonnaise and ginger together and divide among tortillas, spreading to cover; top with spinach and tomato slices. When mushrooms are done, slice into thin strips and sprinkle with more salt and pepper, if desired.
3.  Place mushrooms on tortillas and roll into a wrap.

Recipe adapted from Oldways Preservation Trust, www.oldwayspt.org <http://www.oldwayspt.org>