A mushroom is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source. Mushrooms are a low-calorie food eaten cooked, raw or as a garnish to a meal. Mushrooms are a good source of B vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid, which help to provide energy by breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. B vitamins play an important role in the nervous system. Mushrooms are rich in disease-
fighting phytochemicals, and eating them regularly has been linked to a lower risk of breast cancer in women. Mushrooms are the leading source of the essential antioxidant selenium in the produce aisle. Antioxidants, like selenium, protect body cells from damage that might lead to chronic diseases. They help to strengthen the immune system, as well. In addition, mushrooms provide ergothioneine, a naturally occurring antioxidant that may help in protecting the body cells.