The Health Benefits Of Mushrooms

Unlock the magic and elevate your well-being with nature's hidden treasure.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Sandeep Jassal, DNM Dr. Sandeep Jassal Dr. Sandeep JassalDNM facebook_icontwitter_iconlinkedin_iconyoutube_icon
Written by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health linkedin_icon Experience: 8 years
Edited by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , BTech (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach Sindhu Koganti BTech (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 6 years
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Mushrooms contain a wide range of nutrients, making them a nutritious addition to our diet. The various mushroom benefits have earned it the title of healthy food. In a world where greens dominate healthy foods, the mushroom takes a unique place.

There are several types of mushrooms, and each has a unique flavor. Their nutritional benefits are also quite diverse. Multicultural cuisines allow you to eat them alone or along with other vegetables. This makes mushrooms a convenient and delicious way to enhance your diet. The following article will answer any questions you might have about mushrooms’ health benefits and any possible side effects. Read on to learn more.

Types Of Mushrooms

There are numerous varieties of mushroom species out there. Here are some types of them that you may include in your daily diet:

  • Button Mushrooms: They are small and white or cream in color with a mild flavor. You can easily find this most common variety of mushrooms in grocery stores.
  • Portobello Mushrooms: They are large and dark brown with a meaty texture. These are a popular choice for grilling or stuffing.
  • Shiitake Mushrooms: They are dark brown and have a rich, smoky flavor. They are commonly used in Asian recipes such as soupy noodle dishes.
  • Enoki Mushrooms: They are long and slender and often grow in clusters. They have a mild, slightly fruity flavor and are commonly added to soups, noodle dishes, and hot pots.

Mushrooms are not only delicious but also offer a variety of health benefits. Check out the next section for some of them.

Benefits Of Eating Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a powerhouse of multiple vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are essential for the healthy functioning of your body. Their benefits are as follows:

1. Prevent Cognitive Impairment

Eating mushrooms can reduce the risk of neurological conditions and cognitive impairment. A study involving 663 participants aged 60 years and above found that those who consumed two portions of mushrooms per week had a reduced risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The researchers concluded that the bioactive compounds in mushrooms could delay neurodegeneration (1).

2. Rich In Antioxidants

Mushrooms are a rich source of antioxidants, ergothioneine, and glutathione. These components are crucial for minimizing oxidative stress in the body, one of the main reasons for inflammation, cell damage, and premature aging (2). Moreover, antioxidants build your immunity and may slow down visible signs of aging.

3. Improve Heart Health

Mushrooms have a lesser quantity of sodium than other savory foods and are ideal if you have a heart condition. They contain a B vitamin called niacin, which reduces LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and increases HDL cholesterol levels to promote your heart health (3), (4).

Mushrooms also contain several micronutrients like copper and zinc, crucial for promoting cardiovascular health (5), (6).

4. Ideal Pregnancy Food

Pregnancy is when a woman needs ample nutrition, and mushrooms are ideal foods for pregnancy. Some mushrooms like chanterelle, morel, and oyster contain folates, a crucial nutrient that women require during the early stages of pregnancy (7), (8). However, consult a doctor before consuming mushrooms and avoid consuming uncooked ones.

5. Promote Gut Health

Mushrooms contain beta-glucans that have metabolic and gastrointestinal effects and may reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Beta-glucans modulate the gut microbiome, alter lipid and glucose metabolism, and reduce cholesterol levels (9).

6. Strengthen Your Bones

Mushrooms contain significant amounts of vitamin D as compared to other unfortified vitamin D food sources. Vitamin D is crucial for bone development and maintaining bone health. Consuming mushrooms can prevent vitamin D deficiencies (10), (11).

7. May Promote Weight Loss

Mushrooms belong to the category of lower-energy-dense foods and have low calories. Thus, adding them to your diet will make you feel satiated for a longer time. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted a study incorporating data from 2017 to March 2020, focusing on obesity rates across different age groups in the United States. Among children and adolescents aged 2–19, the prevalence of obesity stood at 19.7%. For adults aged 20 and over, the age-adjusted obesity rate was notably higher, reaching 41.9%, with severe obesity affecting 9.2% of this population. If you are watching your weight, mushrooms can be great for your weight loss plan.

protip_icon Did You Know?
Some mushrooms glow in the dark to draw the attention of insects that spread the fungal spores around. This blue or greenish light they emit is referred to as “bioluminescence.”

Let us look at the nutritional value of mushrooms and understand why they are called superfoods.

Nutritional Content Of Mushrooms

Note: The nutrient content may differ as per the variety of mushrooms.

A hundred grams of mushrooms contain the following nutrients (3):

NutrientAmount In 1 Cup Of MushroomsRecommended Daily Intake
Energy21 kcal1,600 – 3,200 kcal
Protein3.09 g46 – 56 g
Carbohydrate3.26 g130 g
Calcium3 mg1,000 – 1,300 mg
Iron0.5 mg8–18 mg
Magnesium9 mg310 – 420 mg
Phosphorus86 mg700 – 1,250 mg
Potassium318 mg4,700 mg
Sodium5 mg2,300 mg
Zinc0.52 mg8–11 mg
Copper305 mcg890 – 900 mcg
Selenium9.3 mcg55 mcg
Vitamin C2.1 mg65 – 90 mg
Vitamin D (D2+D3)0.2 mcg15 mcg
Folate17 mcg400 mcg
Choline17.3 mcg400 – 550 mg
Niacin3.61 mg14 – 16 mg

Though mushrooms are botanically classified as fungi, they are considered vegetables. They have found their way to various cuisines, but people are skeptical about their safety.

Is It Safe To Eat Mushrooms?

Yes, but not all mushrooms are safe to eat. Only 38,000 varieties of mushrooms are edible, while the rest are highly poisonous. Edible mushrooms have a pale, muted, and dull color, while the poisonous ones are brightly colored. Edible mushrooms are safe for consumption unless you are allergic to them.

protip_icon Did You Know?
Like animals, mushrooms breathe by taking in oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide. In fact, some are known to even eat the flesh of nematodes and tiny insects for nutrition.

Always make sure that you cook them before eating. Raw mushrooms are tough to digest and may cause gastrointestinal issues. Here are a few ways to eat mushrooms.

How To Prepare Mushrooms

1. Stir Fry Mushrooms

You Will Need

  • 1 cup of mushrooms (roughly chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper (as per taste)

Method

  1. Heat a wok and add olive oil to it.
  2. Sauté the chopped mushrooms for five minutes.
  3. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

2. Mushroom Omelet

You Will Need

  • 1 cup of mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 eggs

Method

  1. Sauté the mushrooms for five minutes.
  2. Crack two eggs in a bowl, add salt and pepper and mix well.
  3. Pour the egg mixture on the mushrooms.
  4. Cover and let it cook for a few minutes and serve hot.

A blogger shared their experience of drinking mushroom tea for three years in their blog. They said, “I am now drinking Reishi, Chaga & Turkey Tail Tea, all of these boost your immune system and help your body get what it needs. My body has never felt better, even when I was a teenager, I do not think my body felt this great (i).”

To Conclude

Mushrooms are tasty, versatile ingredients featured in many savory dishes across the globe. They are loaded with dietary fiber, potent antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that support good health. The benefits of mushrooms include a reduced risk of cognitive decline and strong bones. They are also good for your heart and gut and help manage your weight. However, excess mushroom intake can cause problems. Also, never consume mushrooms from the wild without confirming if they are edible. If you experience any adverse effects, limit their use and seek medical advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is mushroom good for hair?

Yes, consuming mushrooms is beneficial for the hair. They are loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals that help in managing hair fall and strengthen the hair.

What should not be eaten with mushrooms?

Buttermilk, shrimp, and mustard oil cannot be eaten with mushrooms. Also, alcohol is a big no while having mushrooms.

Key Takeaways

  • Mushrooms can reduce the risk of neurological conditions, build immunity, improve heart health, and are ideal during pregnancy.
  • There are both edible and poisonous varieties of mushrooms. The edible ones are pale, muted, and dull-colored, while the poisonous ones are brightly colored.
  • Consuming raw or undercooked mushrooms may cause gastrointestinal issues.

Watch the following video to uncover five surprising health benefits of mushrooms and how you can have them in your meals. The video takes an insightful dive into their potential to boost immunity and overall well-being. Click on play to learn more.

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. The Association between Mushroom Consumption and Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Community-Based Cross-Sectional Study in Singapore.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30775990/
  2. Mushrooms: A rich source of the antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28530594/
  3. Mushrooms, white, raw
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169251/nutrients
  4. Niacin for Primary and Secondary prevention of cardiovascular events.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28616955/
  5. The concentrations and bioconcentration factors of copper and zinc in edible mushrooms.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12520390/
  6. Trace minerals intake: Risks and benefits for cardiovascular health.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29236516/
  7. Folate composition of 10 types of mushrooms determined by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30634279/
  8. Folic acid and L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate: comparison of clinical pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20608755/
  9. β-Glucan Metabolic and Immunomodulatory Properties and Potential for Clinical Application.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33322069/
  10. A Review of Mushrooms as a Potential Source of Dietary Vitamin
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30322118/
  11. Vitamin D and Bone Health; Potential Mechanisms
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3257679/
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Dr. Sandeep Jassal is a postgraduate in preventive health and lifestyle disease management by profession and a health awareness missionary by passion. After graduating in Ayurvedic Medicine, he did post graduation in preventive and promotive healthcare at Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad
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