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Mushrooms: Health Benefits, Nutritional Value And Uses

By Riddhi Parmar +2 more

”No, mushrooms, please!! ” ”Please remove mushroom from my plate”; haven’t we heard these statements from many of us! But there are many benefits of this tiny umbrella-like fungi after which you might think of considering it as a part of your daily meal.


Fun Fact: Portabello, button, and white mushrooms are all the identical mushrooms at different levels of maturity.

Mushrooms are nothing but edible fungus that is now being extensively studied and used for their health benefits. There are many types of mushrooms available, some of them are edible and some are not edible, and maybe poisonous too. Some edible mushrooms commonly available in the market are button, oyster, porcini etc. 

In this article, we will cover the health benefits and nutritional value of mushrooms. We will also learn how to use mushrooms in your dishes.

Did you know?

  • Mushrooms contain bioactive compounds such as polysaccharides, proteins, lipids, and phenolic compounds, which have various health benefits. source: PMC
  • Mushrooms are a natural source of vitamin D, which is important for bone health. source: PMC
  • Mushrooms contain ergothioneine, a unique nutrient important for human health. source: National Center for Biotechnology Information

Nutritional Value of Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a rich source of a group of various antioxidants including Vitamin C, selenium, glutathione, and choline. It is also an excellent source of protein, fiber, and vitamin D.

The nutritional value of all types of mushrooms remains more or less the same. 

1 cup of raw button mushrooms (approximately 70 grams) provides:

  • Energy: 19 kcal
  • Protein: 3 gm
  • Carbohydrates: 1.4 gm
  • Fat: 0.3 gm
  • Fiber: 2.2 gm

Mushrooms are highly nutritious and packed with nutrients like carbohydrates and probiotics like xylans, chitin, hemicellulose, etc. Therefore, mushrooms might be beneficial for maintaining digestive health by stimulating the growth of good microorganisms in the digestive tract.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Health Benefits of Mushrooms

1: Rich in Immune-Boosting Nutrients:

Mushrooms are rich in antioxidants like selenium, vitamin C and choline. Along with antioxidants, mushrooms also contain protein, B-complex vitamins, and fiber. All these nutrients together help prevent cell and tissue damage and thus support our immune system.

2: Vegetarian Source of Vitamin D:

Corona pandemic has made us well aware of the importance of this one nutrient – Vitamin D. Vitamin D was always known for its bones and joint role, but new research shows that vitamin d can play a very important role in avoiding COVID related deaths by not allowing coronavirus to enter our respiratory tract and protecting like a true warrior. White button mushrooms are commonly consumed mushrooms all over the world. Mushrooms contain a ”provitamin” called ergosterol that after exposure to sunlight gets converted to Vitamin D. They are grown right under the sunlight and hence this helps in increasing their Vitamin D concentration while growing. 

3: May Help Prevent Cancers:

Mushrooms have a rich profile of antioxidants and B-complex vitamins. These nutrients are being studied to protect our cells from damage and also may inhibit tumor formation. Due to this mechanism, it may help prevent lung, breast, prostate, and other types of cancer development, as per the National Cancer Institute. 

4: Could Improve Heart Health:

Beta-Glucan is a soluble fiber that is commonly found in mushrooms. This soluble fiber is strongly linked with lowering cholesterol levels and improving heart health. Also practically, mushrooms can be easily replaced with salt because of the presence of glutamate ribonucleotides. These compounds are responsible for the salty, umami taste of mushrooms. Thus, this function can also have a positive impact on your blood pressure and may reduce the risk of heart disease. Antioxidants, low in calories, and Vitamin D are some of the added benefits to improve your heart’s overall health.

5: Might Help Lose Weight

We now know that mushrooms are low in calories, providing merely 19 kcal per 1 cup. But, did you know, it got a job in helping to lose weight. Being a source of protein and fiber, mushrooms can be a part of your diet food. Studies have also shown that mushrooms can help regulate blood sugar levels and thus helps to burn fat tremendously. B-complex vitamins will also provide you energy to perform longer workouts.

6: Can Help to Prevent Wrinkles:

Mushrooms are high in antioxidants like glutathione, Vitamin C, and selenium. These antioxidants are studied to help work against the signs of aging, especially wrinkles.

There are many types of edible mushrooms. Among them, a mushroom known as Fomitopsis officinalis might act as an insulin sensitizer when patients undergo glucose tolerance tests and might regulate increased blood sugar levels.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Uses of Mushrooms

Wide varieties of mushrooms are used extensively used throughout the world. It is known as the ”meat” of the vegetarian world, after paneer. Small varieties of mushrooms are usually used in soups or curries, it gives an umami taste to it and also helps thicken the curry or soup. It provides perfect creaminess to the low-calorie dishes like veg. au gratin, soups, curries, or salad dressing. 

Mushrooms taste beautiful when combined with eggs and few spices. Try making egg mushroom scramble on mushroom egg on toast. The grilling or sautéing of mushroom holds its nutritional properties intact as compared to frying them. 

Before preparing the mushrooms, make sure you wash them thoroughly with cold water and wipe them out. Cleaning the mushrooms with a little bit of Maida and cold water can help remove all the dirt in no time.

Always store them in a refrigerator to retain their freshness and for longer shelf life.

Recipes using mushrooms

Mushrooms are high in protein and delicious to eat, having a meaty texture. Here are some popular recipes you can create with mushrooms:

Garlic mushrooms:

Can be served as a side to chicken roast or beef steak.

Ingredients:

  • Button Mushrooms
  • Unsalted butter – to control the amount of salt added.
  • Olive oil – just a little oil added to the butter gets them nice and crispy on the outer edges and prevents the butter from burning.
  • Fresh cloves of garlic.
  • Herbs – parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary and basil.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • White wine (optional)

Preparation:

  • Wipe each mushroom over with a damp paper towel for a soft pastry brush if needed to remove loose dirt and debris. Work one at a time.
  • Lightly rinse under cold water and thoroughly pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Heat the butter and oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Saute the onions for 3 mins or until softened.
  • Add the mushroom, cook for 4-5 minutes until golden brown and crispy on the edges.
  • Pour the wine and cook for 2 mins (skip this step if wine is not used)
  • Add thyme, 1 tbsp of parsley and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds more until fragrant.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and serve warm.

Stuffed mushrooms:

Can be eaten alone or as a side to main courses of chicken, rice or pasta.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baby mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for topping
  • 100 gms cream cheese softened
  • 2 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tbsp. freshly chopped thyme

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 400 °. Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray. Remove stems from mushrooms and roughly chop stems. Place mushroom caps on the baking sheet. 
  • In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add chopped mushrooms stems and cook until most of the moisture is out 5 minutes. 
  • Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute then add breadcrumbs and let toast slightly, 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  
  • In a large bowl mix together mushroom stem mixture, Parmesan, cream cheese, parsley, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.  Fill mushroom caps with filling and sprinkle with more Parmesan. 
  • Bake until mushrooms are soft and the tops are golden, 20 minutes. 
  • Garnish with parsley and serve.

Also Read: Are Oysters Good For You? A Research-Based Nutrition Guide

Take Away Message:

Mushrooms are quite versatile and they can be enjoyed either raw or cooked depending on their variety. Every variety of mushrooms has a rich antioxidant profile, excellent vegetarian source of Vitamin D, and also contains protein and fibre. Regular consumption of mushrooms can help lower cholesterol, aids weight loss, might protect against cancers, and helps with healthy skin ageing. Avoid ”wild – mushrooms” as they might be toxic, but go for firm, dry and white-coloured mushrooms instead. Try replacing high in calories ingredients like maida, or butter with mushrooms and enjoy the same creaminess but with lesser calories.

Read more about 12 Wonderful Health Benefits of Bhringraj Oil

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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