by ,

(NaturalNews) For many people, the cold and often dreary days of winter can translate into seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as the "winter blues." But one way to help you and your family to avoid the winter blues and stay healthy and happy this winter is to plenty of mushrooms.

Though initially it may sound strange, eating mushrooms can do a lot more for your health than you might think. The vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in mushrooms will help you maintain vibrant health, keep off the excess weight, boost energy levels, and liven up the flavor of foods, not to mention help you avoid getting .

Part of the "winter blues" includes extremely limited exposure to natural sunlight. Sunlight has been shown not only to make people happier, but it also triggers the human to produce , a necessary component of good health (…). And mushrooms are loaded with , being the only item in the produce aisle that contains it.

Mushrooms are also rich in selenium and ergothioneine, two antioxidants that have been shown to boost immune function and help ward off . Selenium is also known specifically to fight cancer, prevent heart , and even rid the body of toxic mercury (…).

If you choose not to eat meat, mushrooms make a great meat substitute because they are both hearty and filling. They also add great flavor to foods since they are rich in umami, also known as the savory "fifth taste." Together with the fact that they are rich in potassium and energy-producing B vitamins, mushrooms are a great addition to any heart-healthy meal.

"Button mushrooms have been a healthy food sources since the prehistoric era," explain Michael Murray, N.D., and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D., in their book The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. "Ancient Egyptians believed mushrooms to possess keys to immortality … [C]ommon thought in many nations through the world hailed mushrooms as conferring superhuman power."

Sources for this story include: