Nutritional Benefits of Mushrooms
Note: The information provided on this webpage is part of a collection of Medical News Today articles on the health benefits of popular foods. It provides a nutritional breakdown of mushrooms and an in-depth look at their possible health benefits, how to incorporate more mushrooms into your diet and any potential health risks associated with their consumption.
Mushrooms are naturally low in sodium, fat, cholesterol, and calories and have often been referred to as "functional foods."
As well as providing basic nutrition, they help prevent chronic disease due to the presence of antioxidants and beneficial dietary fibers such as chitin and beta-glucans.
One cup of chopped or sliced raw white mushrooms contains:
0 grams of fat
2.2 grams of protein
2.3 grams of carbohydrate, including 0.7 grams of fiber and 1.4 grams of sugar
A large variety of mushrooms are available, but most provide around the same amount of the same nutrients per serving, regardless of their shape or size.
Vitamins and Minerals
Mushrooms are rich in B vitamins such as riboflavin (B2), folate (B9), thiamine (B1), pantothenic acid (B5), and niacin B3). The B vitamins help the body to get energy from food, and they help form red blood cells.
A number of B vitamins also appear to be important for a healthy brain. Pregnant women are advised to take folic acid, or folate, during pregnancy, to boost fetal health.
Mushrooms are also the only vegan, non-fortified dietary source of vitamin D. Dairy products are normally a good food source of vitamin D, but vegans do not consume any animal products, so mushrooms can offer an alternative source of this important vitamin.
Several other minerals that may be difficult to obtain in a vegan diet, such as selenium, potassium, copper, iron, and phosphorus, are available in mushrooms.
Beta-glucans are a type of fiber that is found in the cell walls of many types of mushrooms. Recently, beta-glucans have been the subject of extensive studies that suggest they might improve insulin resistance and blood cholesterol levels, lowering the risk of obesity and providing an immunity boost.
Mushrooms also contain choline, an important nutrient that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory. Choline assists in maintaining the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, supports proper fat absorption and reduces chronic inflammation.