While the research on the relationship between vitamin D status and various forms of cancer and other conditions is ongoing, one thing we do know is that many types of mushrooms can be a source of vitamin D and other nutrients. Mushrooms are often overlooked when people are trying to increase their daily vegetable intake, yet they are very versatile, tasty and can help contribute to a healthy diet.
Why do we need Vitamin D?
Vitamin D helps promote healthy bones, mostly by helping with calcium absorption. It also plays a role in your nervous system and immune system. Like many nutrients, too much vitamin D can be harmful to your system, and is often related to the overuse of supplements. When you are getting your vitamin D from exposure to the sun (your body can make vitamin D when your skin is exposed to the sun), this risk is limited because your body naturally limits the amount of vitamin D it produces in this manner. If you want to learn more, here is a link to the Office of Dietary Supplements Consumer Fact Sheet on Vitamin D.
How much Vitamin D do we need?
The average recommended amount of vitamin D for adults age 19-70 is 600 IU/day.
The amount of vitamin D varies considerably from one mushroom type to another. For example, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, one cup of sliced shiitake mushrooms has around 13 IUs of vitamin D; one cup of diced portabella mushrooms has around 9 IUs; and one cup of chanterelle mushrooms has around 114 IUs.
Other non-mushroom food sources of vitamin D include cod liver oil (1360 IUs/Tablespoon), cooked sockeye salmon (447 IU/3 oz.), orange juice fortified with vitamin D (approximately 137 IU/cup), milk fortified with vitamin D (115-124 IU/6 ounces and egg yolks (41 IU/large egg).
For this recipe, I used three types of mushrooms – maitake, shiitake and bunapi (also called white beech). Using these mushrooms, this dish contains approximately 150 IU of vitamin D per serving. If you don’t have access to these mushroom varieties, feel free to use regular white button mushrooms, portabellas or others which may be more readily available in your local market.
Sauteed Mushrooms with Quinoa (serves 4)
- ¼ cup shallots, chopped finely
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups mushrooms, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. chives, minced
- 2-3 Tbsp. red wine
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
1. Spray skillet with canola oil.
2. Saute shallot and garlic for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add mushrooms and stir briefly.
4. Add chives.
5. Deglaze pan with red wine.
6. Adjust seasonings.
7. Serve mushrooms on top of cooked quinoa, garnish with parsley sprig if desired.
Nutrition information per serving: 186 calories; 3 grams fat; 0.5 grams saturated fat; 0 grams transfat; 0 mg cholesterol; 297 mg sodium; 34 grams carbohydrate; 4 grams dietary fiber; 8 grams protein (values are approximate).