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Healthy Hint

Toni-Ann DiSantis

Mushrooms aren’t just delicious — they may protect your health!

[Daily Dose] If the produce section of your grocery store held a popularity contest, the winners would be bright and beautiful. Red tomatoes and raspberries, orange carrots and squash, vibrant green spinach and Swiss chard, grapefruit — the whole rainbow. And indeed, those foods are not just easy on the eyes and delicious, they’re fantastic for your health. But don’t forget about the humble mushroom. Though often bland to the eye, mushrooms impart delicious, savory flavor and nutrients. In fact, a new study suggests they’re especially high in two compounds that may help prevent chronic illness and slow down the aging process. Researchers found that mushrooms are especially high in ergothioneine and glutathione, both of which help to counteract “oxidative stress” in the body. (Thought to contribute to chronic illness and accelerate aging, oxidative stress occurs when harmful molecules called free radicals damage cells and even DNA. ) Of the 13 mushroom varieties tested, porcinis had the highest levels of the beneficial compounds, but even basic button mushrooms had more than most other foods. So include all types of mushrooms in your weekly grocery run along with all that showy, colorful produce. Try them out in soups, stir-fries, and omelets.