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Saturday, Aug 01, 2015
Nicole La Placa

Learn about the different types of mushrooms

Published:   |   Updated: March 12, 2013 at 05:05 PM

There are different varieties of mushrooms in the grocery store. Which ones are the best for me? — Penny, Sebring

Mushrooms are fungi and are found growing on decaying wood, forests and cow pastures. Because they are able to absorb and eliminate toxins, it is easy to think of mushrooms as a sponge for toxic waste in your body.

There are several types of mushrooms but the three that have the greatest health benefits are maitake, shiitake, and reishi.

Shiitake mushrooms are smaller mushrooms. These are widely cultivated for their delicious taste and medicinal properties. Research has shown that shiitake mushrooms help promote a healthy cardiovascular system and may also inhibit the growth of tumors.

Reishi mushrooms increase the antioxidants in the body and are believed to be a natural stress buster.

Some of the more common and locally available mushrooms are portabella and white button (aka cremini). These mushrooms also contain health benefits but are not considered to have the same powerful effects on the immune system as the three listed above.

Generally speaking, mushrooms contain powerful antioxidants and will be a healthy addition to your diet. Mushrooms can be chopped and added to salads, soups, stir fry, or eaten raw.

As with all vegetables, be sure to thoroughly clean your mushrooms prior to eating or cooking with them.

I want to start eating more seafood. Are shrimp healthy? — Neil, Sebring

Living in Florida means that there is usually an abundance of shrimp available at your local grocery store. Shrimp may very well be one of the most popular shellfish in the world. They can be bought fresh or frozen and are often on sale.

Shrimp are a low-calorie food that is high in protein. One three-ounce serving has 90 calories and 17 grams of protein per serving. Shrimp also contain all nine essential amino acids and also one-third of your daily requirement of Vitamin D. It should be noted that Vitamin D is essential for bone building and cancer fighting, which obviously makes it an important addition to our daily food intake.

Shrimp can be cooked a variety of ways such as steamed, boiled and baked. They can also be fried but this should be avoided to reduce your fat and cholesterol intake from the oil used in the fryers. Seasoning shrimp with herbs such as dill or black pepper will also help cut down on the fat and sodium found in salt and butter.

Adding shrimp to omelets, salads or eating them as an appetizer is an excellent way to experience all the flavor and health benefits that shrimp have to offer. Experiment with different recipes to find the most simple and delicious way you and your family will enjoy them.

Nicole La Placa is a certified health coach and lives in Highlands County. Send letters to or visit