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Cabbage, White Button Mushrooms, Cauliflower: Do They Have Nutritional Value?

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White Button Mushrooms

Value: They're low in calories, inexpensive, and have low energy density -- so you get filled up with fewer calories. Also, these mushrooms are known to have antioxidant benefits similar to those of fancier mushrooms. They are a great source of vegetable protein, says Brennan. Oh, and they're a fungus, not a vegetable.

Nutrients: (five medium) 362mg vitamin B2 (riboflavin) (21 percent of the daily value), 3.3mg vitamin B3 (niacin) (16 percent) and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) (13.5 percent), 0.286mg copper (14.3 percent), 8.4mcg selenium (10 percent), 286mcg potassium (8 percent), 77mg phosphorous (8 percent), and 4.5mg iron (2.5 percent).

Health Perks: They are a good source of three important B vitamins that help convert food to energy and promote healthy skin, hair, muscles, and brain function. They also supply a good source of selenium, a trace element that functions as an antioxidant in the enzyme glutathione peroxidase. This important enzyme helps neutralize the free radicals -- unstable oxygen molecules -- produced by normal cellular processes. Once used, the enzyme needs riboflavin -- also found in mushrooms -- to regenerate into its active form. Thus, everything you need to help this particular antioxidant enzyme system function optimally is supplied in mushrooms. Selenium is also needed for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland and may play a role in fertility, especially for men. In addition, research suggests that selenium may reduce the risk of lung, liver, and prostate cancers, says Gillitt.

Nutrition Stats: (five medium) 20 calories, 3g carbohydrates, 3g protein, 1g fiber, 0.3g fat, 4mg sodium.

Purchasing: Select mushrooms that are firm and white, not browning or broken, says Brennan. Also, look for caps that are closed on the bottom, as they tend to be fresher.

Storage: Brush off dirt with a soft vegetable brush. Do not rinse or soak mushrooms or they may get soggy. Store them in a paper bag or vented container to allow air flow. Mushrooms will keep for about three days in the refrigerator, says Brennan.

Next:  Cauliflower


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