The Nutritional Value of Mushrooms


Mushrooms do not belong to the family of plants and animals and instead are a type of fungi that come in all sorts of colors, shapes, and sizes. There is a tremendous variety to the types of mushrooms present in the world and some of the species are edible while others can be toxic or downright poisonous. The edible mushrooms contain a huge variety of vitamins and minerals that make them ideal superfoods for human consumption.

Additionally, they have a high amount of fiber with low-calorie content making it highly beneficial for your health. The different cultures around the world are making cuisines using mushrooms and consuming it from ancient times. Mushrooms are especially favorable in cooking as you can add flavor to the dish without adding fat or sodium.

You need to ensure that mushrooms are mold-free and firm to touch and not moist while purchasing it. You can also conveniently store it in a paper bag in your refrigerator for up to 5 days. Mushrooms also find extensive use in traditional medicine in several cultures around the world. This article will provide you with extensive details regarding the nutritional value of mushrooms.

The Nutritional Value Of Mushrooms

1. Fighting Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, mushrooms can aid in preventing a host of cancers including breast, prostate, and lung cancers. Mushrooms contain antioxidants such as choline that can fight against free radicals and prevent various types of cancer. Mushrooms also contain vitamin D and it is the only fruit or vegetable source containing this essential vitamin.

Mushrooms produce vitamin D on exposure to sunlight just as the human body produces it. In the U.S, some producers are fortifying mushrooms to contain more vitamin D amounting to 400 UI in 3 ounces of mushrooms. The phenolic compounds in mushrooms can work as both antioxidants and pro-oxidants, preventing the growth and destroying existing tumors.

Ergothioneine and glutathione in mushrooms are antioxidants and can aid in detoxification to eliminate the harmful substance from your body. Ergothioneine also protects your DNA from oxidative damage. Selenium and vitamin C in mushrooms also exhibit cancer-fighting properties and inhibit the spread of cancer. A polysaccharide is a beta-glucan and one of the main bioactive compounds in mushrooms that helps to kill cancer cells and harmful organisms.

2. Boosting Your Immune System

According to the American Society of Nutrition, white mushrooms can actively promote the health of your immune system by enhancing the production of useful proteins and antivirals. These help in fighting diseases and also aid in restoring body tissues. The beta-glucan is sugar on the walls of the mushroom that helps to improve your immunity, and the lentinan also heightens the performance of your immune system.

You can use lentinan primarily in shiitake mushrooms while beta-glucan is present in most varieties of mushrooms. According to a clinical study by the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Florida, regularly eating shiitake mushrooms can boost human immunity in a way that pharmaceuticals are incapable of achieving.

Mushrooms can also avert respiratory infections and change the composition of gut bacteria to be more beneficial to health. Mushrooms also aid in the maturation of the dendritic cells in the bone marrow, which are the cells of the immune system in the body. The vast amount of antioxidants in mushrooms also aid in the protection of the cells of your body.

3. Protecting Heart Health

Mushrooms contain potassium, fiber, and vitamin C that can improve the health of your cardiovascular system. Potassium can decrease the risk of hypertension and regulate blood pressure. According to the guidelines of the American Heart Association, an individual must consume 4700 mg of potassium every day. Vitamin C also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease while beta-glucans aid in lowering cholesterol in the blood.

Mushrooms contain riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and niacin which are forms of vitamin B that aids in preserving heart health. Riboflavin is essential for the production of red blood cells in the human body. Mushrooms provide flavor to your dish without the use of salt as it contains glutamate ribonucleotides that provide a flavorsome umami taste.

4. Reduce Diabetes

Mushrooms contain a high amount of dietary fiber, which aids in controlling type 2 diabetes. Raw mushrooms of 70 grams contain approximately 1 gram of fiber. If you are already suffering from type 2 diabetes, consumption of fiber can lower your blood glucose levels. The daily intake recommendations of fiber as per the dietary guidelines for Americans is from 22.4 gram to 33.6 grams.

5. Promoting Brain Health

According to Penn State Researchers, the glutathione and ergothioneine antioxidant sin mushrooms can boost brain health by preventing the onset of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Eating a minimum of 5 mushrooms per day can give beneficial effects. Mushrooms containing psilocybin content such as golden teacher mushrooms can help in reducing anxiety and stress, according to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. This mushroom can also inhibit the fear of death and generate a feeling of optimism.

6. Boosting Bladder Health

According to several studies in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, the selenium in mushrooms can lower the chance of bladder cancer. The presence of selenium is especially beneficial to the health of women. The types of mushrooms rich in selenium content are shiitake mushrooms containing 45 percent, raw crimini mushrooms containing 47 percent, and raw white button containing 17 percent of daily needs per 100 grams.

7. Anti-inflammation and Anti-aging Properties

The several types of antioxidants present in mushrooms aid in reducing inflammation and countering aging effects in the human body. The quantity of antioxidants varies with the species of mushrooms and the raw porcini mushrooms have the maximum content. According to the Journal of Bioscience and Engineering, Chaga mushrooms are also an excellent source of antioxidants.


In present times, mushrooms are a billion-dollar industry with the U.S.A, the major producer in the world, and China following closely behind. According to the University of Idaho, the edible varieties of mushrooms range from 300 to 2000, although only around ten varieties are grown commercially. Since mushrooms offer a range of vital nutrients that you do not commonly find in plants, they can provide the foundations of good health.

According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, the average American consumes around 3 pounds of mushrooms every year. You can easily add mushrooms to a variety of different cuisines, and they are also easy to cook. Mushrooms provide a variety of health benefits such as better gut health, cholesterol-lowering effects, and cancer-fighting properties due to the presence of a large number of bioactive compounds.