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Food for Mood & Top Tips for Health

Updated: Jul 15, 2020


Food Focus: Mushrooms

Nutritional benefits All types of edible mushrooms contain varying degrees of protein and fibre. They also contain B vitamins as well as a powerful antioxidant called selenium, which helps to support the immune system and prevent damage to cells and tissues.

In particular, white button mushrooms are one of the few non-animal sources of vitamin D. When they are grown, whether indoor or outdoor, they are exposed to UV light which increases their concentration of vitamin D.

Mushrooms are being increasingly researched and used for their important health benefits with different varieties having different medicinal properties.

Can mushrooms help protect against cancer? In particular, certain varieties of mushrooms have been shown to have potential in protecting against cancer by protecting our cells against DNA damage but also inhibiting tumour formation. There is also some evidence that they may be beneficial in the treatment and management of neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s.

Can mushrooms protect heart health? Mushrooms have been shown to have some therapeutic properties that can help to lower cholesterol, particularly in overweight adults, as well as phytonutrients that can help prevent cells from sticking to blood vessel walls and forming plaque build-up. This in turn then helps protect the heart by maintaining healthy blood pressure and circulation.

New research says the healthiest way to cook mushrooms is to microwave them. We explain how to preserve their goodness while making them taste great.

If you’ve ever cooked mushrooms, whether frying, baking or boiling, you’ll know that they start off looking dry and then produce more liquid than you’d anticipated, which means that despite their appearance they are very juicy. This makes them ideal for microwaving as you don’t have to add a single extra ingredient if you don’t want to. Do make sure you eat the juices as well to get the maximum amount of nutrients.

Microwaving mushrooms won’t enhance the flavour but will concentrate it. The mushrooms will simply taste of cooked mushroom as you are not caramelising any juices. You can, however, add flavour by smearing mushrooms with garlic butter, coating them in olive oil (with a sprig of thyme), or using a few drops of soy sauce.

Different methods for microwaving mushrooms

  1.  Sliced: Slice as many mushrooms as you want into a bowl, cover tightly and then cook for two to three minutes, stirring the slices once. If the slices are still not quite tender enough cook them further in 30 second bursts until they're as you like them.2.    Button mushroom: Put whole, trimmed button mushrooms in a shallow bowl in a single layer, ribbed side up, and microwave for two to three minutes. Keep on cooking in 30 second bursts if you need to.3.    Portobello or field mushrooms: To grill a whole Portobello mushroom for a burger, put it rib side up in a shallow bowl and cover tightly. Microwave for two minutesand then take off the cover. Cook for another two to three minutes depending on the size of the mushroom, or until the mushroom is tender and any liquid collected in the cup has evaporated. Mushroom Soup Preparation time: less than 30 mins  Cooking time: 10 to 30 mins   Serves 4 Ingredients

    • 50g/2oz butter

    • 2 leeks, chopped

    • 3 garlic cloves, chopped

    • 300g/9oz mushrooms, sliced

    • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only

    • 600ml/1 pint chicken or vegetable stock


  1. Melt the butter in a large pot and gently cook the leeks and garlic for 4-5 minutes or until softened but not browned. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook on high for 3-5 minutes until the mushrooms are softened and have released much of their water.

  2. Pour over the stock and cook for 5 minutes.

  3. Remove from the heat, carefully pour into a food processor and blend until smooth. Alternatively, keep in the pot and use a stick blender to blitz until smooth.

  4. Divide between four bowls and serve.

This week’s Top Tip Show yourself some kindness, just as you would to anyone else. It's good for your physical as well as your mental health.

Quote of the Week

Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion.         Dalai Lama

Happy mushrooms!

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