Q: "I have only just discovered how much I like mushrooms. I want to know their nutritional value and if they're good for you. Can I eat too many of them?"
Carlie A, via email
A: I love mushrooms, too! The good news is they are very nutritious and have very few kilojoules. A cup of sliced button mushroom (75g) has a tiny 72kJ (17 calories) and no fat. They are high in B vitamins, especially riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid, which set them apart from other vegetables.
If they are grown on a compost of horse or chicken manure – as commercial mushrooms are – it adds vitamin B12, which is often difficult for strict vegetarians to obtain. They have little vitamin C, but are rich in potassium.
For dieters, mushrooms are a great way to cut kilojoules without losing out on flavour. A recent US study found that substituting mushrooms for half the amount of mince in meals, such as lasagna or chilli con carne, drops the kilojoules by one-third, with no-one the wiser that only half the mince was used.
Can you eat too much of them? Probably not, but as with all things in nutrition, it's wise not to go to extremes!