Mushrooms tend to divide opinion – generally speaking, you either love them or hate them. One thing that’s less contentious, however, is their healthful properties. Whatever the shape, size, species and colour, mushrooms are rightly credited as being one of the most nutritious foods available to us.

The word “mushroom” derives from the French word for fungi, and it was a French gardener who is said to have “discovered” mushrooms growing on his growth fertiliser in 1650. However, cave paintings throughout North Africa dating back 7,000 years depicted mushrooms, so they’ve been with us a lot longer.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive on the topic of mushrooms. What makes them so healthy, how should we cook them to preserve their nutrients, which species are especially beneficial?