Move over sunlight- just one serve of this vegetable provides you with all of your vitamin D… Can you guess the vegetable? It's mushrooms! That's right, just 100g of sunbaked mushies (equivalent to 3 button mushrooms) provides 100% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI) of vitamin D.
Now, before we get to the sunbaked part, you might be surprised to learn that in a warm, sunny country like ours, surrounded by beautiful beaches, 60% of women and 40% of men are vitamin D deficient. Right now, at the end of winter, our vitamin D levels are at their lowest, and if you're an office worker, older person, have naturally dark skin or just tend not to spend much time outdoors, you could certainly be at risk of deficiency.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient, most commonly gained through sunlight exposure (though also in small quantities in some foods, like oily fish and eggs), which helps the body better absorb calcium which we know is vital for strong teeth and bones and helping to prevent conditions like osteoporosis.
Sunbaked mushrooms to the rescue!
Now it might sounds funny that a fungi which grows in dark places could be high in vitamin D, but that's where the sun baking comes into play. Mushrooms naturally contain the precursor to vitamin D (called ergosterol), and when exposed to UV light, this is converted to vitamin D as we know it.
How do you reap the benefits? Simply sit your regular mushrooms out in the sun for an hour and cook as you normally would. For something even easier, many supermarkets (including the large chains) now sell 'vitamin D mushrooms' which have already been exposed to short bursts of UV light. Look for them next time you're stocking up on veg.
Add a few mushrooms to your next meal…
- Slicing some raw mushrooms into a salad
- Adding some to your next stir fry
- Making mushroom burgers with the large field or portabella varieties or stuff with ricotta and chives
- Experiment with the earthy flavours of gourmet mushrooms like shiitake in a risotto with white wine
- Replace half the mince in your bolognaise, burger pattie or san choy bow with finely chopped mushrooms (like in the photo above)- you can't even tell!
Credit: Photos photographed by me but styled by Janelle Bloom and Annette Forest at the Power of Mushrooms event in Sydney last weekend. For more info and recipe inspiration check out http://www.powerofmushrooms.com.au.