The bad rap: These fungi lack vitamins and belong in the same "nutritional black hole" category with iceberg lettuce.
The healthy reality: Mushrooms have some serious disease-fighting potential, according to a recent study from Penn State University. White button, crimini, shiitake, maitake and king oyster mushrooms all contain a substance that helps stimulate white blood cells to ramp up production of a key cancer-destroying chemical, say researchers. The study also showed that mushrooms contribute a wide variety of nutrients to our diets; just 3 ounces (about five large mushrooms) provide more than 10 percent of the daily recommended intake for riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B5, copper and potassium -- all for less than a mere 30 calories.
The bad rap: They're swimming with artery-clogging cholesterol, putting you at risk for heart disease.
The healthy reality: Shrimp can be heart-healthy. They contain less than 1 gram of saturated fat per 3-ounce serving (about 15 shrimp), and it's saturated fat, not dietary cholesterol, that's primarily to blame for increasing blood lipid levels. But what shrimp do have may be even more important than what they don't: As one of the few foods naturally rich in vitamin D, shrimp contain more of the bone-building nutrient than an 8-ounce glass of milk, about one-third of your daily recommended dose. And since a full 36 percent of us don't get the D we need (putting us at risk for depression, hypertension, osteoporosis and autoimmune disorders), any food that provides that much should be a regular part of your diet. If recent headlines have you worried about the mercury levels in fish, relax -- shrimp is on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of lowest-mercury seafood. That means you can have up to four 3-ounce servings per week without worrying about mercury's potential harm to your -- or an unborn child's -- nervous system.