Healthy Foods List: Mushrooms

There are many different kinds of mushrooms and we are still learning about their health benefits.

Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Mushrooms, celebrated for their medicinal properties and immune-boosting potential, have a rich history of culinary and health applications. These fascinating organisms, technically classified as fungi, come in many different varieties. The most common mushrooms are button and portobello, but others include porcini, chanterelle, crimini, shiitake and oyster. Despite their distinct tastes and textures, mushrooms all have an earthy flavour and smooth consistency that makes them easy to add to various dishes.

Mushrooms for Immune Health

Mushrooms have garnered recognition for their ability to support the immune system, thanks to their rich mineral content, particularly selenium, zinc, and manganese. These minerals play pivotal roles in immune function. Additionally, mushrooms contain molecules like superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase, which help to protect DNA cells and proteins from oxidative damage. This anti-inflammatory powerhouse helps combat inflammation associated with conditions like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer by blocking pro-inflammatory molecules such as IL-10, IL-12, and IFN.

Mushrooms and Heart Health 

Mushrooms' antioxidant, vitamin, and mineral wealth make them valuable allies in promoting overall cardiovascular health and potentially protecting against the development of cancer cells. Within mushrooms lies CLA (conjugated linolenic acid), a fatty acid known to bind to cancer cells, potentially reducing their estrogen production—a notable advantage in hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate. Please note that eating mushrooms is not a treatment for cancer, but including them in your diet may promote good general health.

Nutrient Breakdown of Mushrooms (per 1 cup raw, 100g)

  • Protein: 3g
  • Vitamin D: 5% of your Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin C: 4% of your DV
  • Vitamin B2: 24% of your DV
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3): 18% of your DV
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 15% of your DV
  • Potassium: 9% of your DV
  • Phosphorus: 9% of your DV
  • Copper: 16% of your DV
  • Selenium: 13% of your DV
  • Antioxidants
  • CLA (Conjugated Linolenic Acid)

Incorporating Mushrooms into Your Meals

Mushrooms lend themselves to various preparations, including raw, roasted, or sautéed dishes, dressings, sauces, salads, and stir-fries. They serve as an excellent way to replicate a meaty texture, making them a valuable addition to vegan or vegetarian diets.

Nutritionist's Tip

Use a damp cloth or paper towel for cleaning mushrooms, rather than rinsing them under water. This method helps maintain their moisture content, preventing them from becoming mushy or spoiling.


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