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Say `yes' to mushroom

The consumption of mushroom is said to keep cholesterol levels in our body in check. It is good for diabetics and people suffering from high blood pressure.

The other day, there was a lavish spread for the buffet at a wedding reception. The diners were seen frequenting a particular table, as they seemed to relish a particular curry fry, which became the talk of the evening.

A curious guest asked another, "It tastes excellent, what curry do you think it is?"

"It must be chicken fry."

"Don't be silly, who would serve a non-vegetarian item at a wedding reception?"

"I think it must be mushroom curry," interjected yet another guest. He guessed right.

Mushroom has become the most sought-after dish at feasts and food festivals, of late. It tickles the taste buds of gourmets.

Not long ago, mushroom was looked down upon as `untouchable'. `Mushroom growth' is the common contemptuous remark for any unhealthy growth. The very utterance reminds one of garbage heaps. Mushroom's use was restricted to the rural poor and the tribals, who perhaps knew its nutritive value. It is no longer so, the mushroom has found pride of place in the cuisines of the urban elite.

The growing popularity of mushroom can be gauged by the fact that it is being sold across the counter in some big department stores in the city. Farmers have taken to mushroom cultivation in a big way.

Mushroom is an important species in the plant kingdom due to its high nutritive value and ability to cure common diseases. It can be cultivated round the year. Though natural mushroom is good, some varieties are poisonous and it is difficult to identify them. The growth of spawn in the laboratory eliminates the risk.

The proteins present in mushroom are easily digestible, unlike those present in non-vegetarian foods. This makes mushroom safe for both children and adults. The consumption of mushroom lowers harmful cholesterol in the body. While it increases high-density lipids, it decreases harmful low-density lipids. People suffering from high blood pressure will benefit from the consumption of mushroom as it is not only low in salt but also contains potassium, which nullifies the effect of sodium present in the body. It is recommended for diabetics due to its ability to reduce sugar levels. The high fibre content is said to improve our immunity to diseases.

Vitamin B in mushroom helps fight anaemia and its folic acid content is good for pregnant and lactating mothers.

With so many plus points to its credit, it is time we say `yes' to mushroom and make it part of our daily diet.

B. Madhu Gopal

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