They’re packed with protein
Mushrooms have a high protein content (around 20-30 per cent by dry weight) which is vital for building and maintaining muscle mass. This can be especially useful for the elderly, vegetarians and vegans, or anyone looking to up the protein content in their diet.
They’re full of fibre
Mushrooms provide loads of fibre, with the oyster and shiitake varieties containing 2g per serving. Fibre helps lower cholesterol and is important for the functioning of the digestive system.
They’re loaded with vitamins and minerals
Mushrooms are rich in vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B3 (niacin), both of which have a direct impact on our energy levels, brain function, and cell metabolism. 100 grams of the crimini variety contains 44 per cent and 30 per cent of the RDI, respectively, while white button mushrooms contain 36 and 30 per cent and oyster mushrooms contain 32 and 39 per cent.
In addition, raw maitake mushrooms and portobello exposed to UV light are among the highest in vitamin D, which is essential for the absorption of calcium.
Are there any risks to eating mushrooms?
While most varieties of mushrooms are safe for consumption, others such as death cap, false morels and Conocybe filari can cause serious health issues or even death. Because of this, extreme caution is advised when foraging.
What types of mushrooms are there?
There are thousands of types of mushrooms out there, each with their own individual uses and health benefits. Here are 15 of the most common:
- Swiss brown
- Button mushrooms
- Field mushrooms
- Woodman mushrooms
- Lions mane
- Turkey tail
Can mushrooms protect against diseases?
Studies show that certain varieties of mushrooms that may hold benefits for cancer treatment and prevention. In particular, enokis are packed with nutrients called beta glucans that boost the production of nitric oxide – a key mechanism in destroying diseased cells. In addition, the stalks are made up of a protein named ‘designated Five,’ which helps regulate the immune system. Plus, enokis provide 23 per cent of our recommended daily intake of niacin, a B vitamin that may reduce melanoma risk.
Mushrooms have also been heralded for their heart health benefits and cholesterol-lowering abilities – especially the oyster mushroom. This variety contains natural chemicals called statins that stimulate receptors in the liver that block the ‘bad’ low-density lipoproteins. This helps to maintain healthy blood pressure, circulation and ward off heart disease.
What’s the best way to store mushrooms?
When stored correctly, fresh mushrooms should keep in the main compartment of the fridge for up to a week. Simply place them whole and unwashed in a brown paper bag and fold the top over to prevent them going soggy.
What’s the best way to cook mushrooms to retain their nutritional value?
Mushrooms can be eaten raw or incorporated into a variety of different cuisines. However, it’s important to note that this ingredient loses up to half of its nutrient value when cooked in certain ways. One study, published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition looked at how different cooking methods (e.g. grilling, frying, boiling and microwaving – impacted the nutritional profile of a variety of mushrooms. The researchers established that grilling and microwaving were the best techniques as both increased antioxidant levels in the mushrooms and caused little loss of nutrition.
Inspired to cook with mushrooms? Give these recipes a go:
- Wild mushroom soup
- Leek, mushroom and goats cheese strudel
- Mushroom stroganoff
- Mushroom gnocchi
- Beef and mushroom stir fry