Mushrooms and Their Health Benefits: What is More – Harm or Good

Brown raw mushrooms, cooking healthy food, top view. Dark backgrouns.

Poisonous mushrooms are difficult to identify in the wild. Mushrooms come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Those that are not toxic are quite useful and tasty.

For many years, they have been used for their unique ability to add flavor to the cuisines of many cultures. Although they are actually mushrooms, mushrooms are classified as vegetables for cooking purposes. Mushrooms allow you to add extra flavor without sodium and fat.

Poisonous mushrooms are difficult to identify in the wild, so you should always buy them from a reliable grocery store or market. The most common types that can be found in grocery stores:

  • shiitake
  • portobello
  • crimini
  • porcini mushroom
  • oyster
  • enokibuk

Each of them has a unique appearance and flavor.

When choosing mushrooms, make sure they are dense, not wet to the touch, and free of mold. They can be stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator for about five days. Remove any dirt with a brush and rinse them lightly when you are ready to use them.

The nutritional value of mushrooms

You can’t go wrong with mushrooms. They are low-fat, low in sodium, low in calories, and cholesterol-free. They are also rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The nutritional value depends on the type of mushroom. But in general, they are a good source of the following nutrients.


Antioxidants help protect the body from free radical damage that can cause diseases such as heart disease and cancer. They also protect you from damage caused by aging and strengthen your immune system. Mushrooms are rich in antioxidant selenium. In fact, they are the best source of minerals in the product range.


Beta-glucan is a form of soluble dietary fiber that is closely linked to lowering cholesterol and promoting heart health. It can also help your body regulate blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Oyster mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms are believed to contain the most effective beta-glucans.

B vitamins are rich in vitamin B: riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. The combination helps protect heart health. Riboflavin is good for red blood cells. Niacin is useful for the digestive system and for maintaining skin health. Pantothenic acid is beneficial for the nervous system and helps the body produce essential hormones.


Copper helps the body produce red blood cells, which are used to deliver oxygen throughout the body. The mineral is also important for other processes in the body, such as maintaining healthy bones and nerves. Even after cooking, 1 cup of mushrooms can provide about one-third of the recommended daily amount of copper.


Potassium is extremely important for heart, muscle, and nerve function. A 2/3 cup of cooked portobello mushrooms have about as much potassium as a medium-sized banana.

How to eat mushrooms

Mushrooms are incredibly versatile. You can cook them in many different ways and combine them with many different ingredients. Chop them raw and toss them in a salad, grill them, stew them, or bake them. Add them to soups, sandwiches, rolls, casseroles, and Italian dishes. Mushrooms are suitable as a side dish or as a main dish for vegetarians. Portobello mushrooms are often served as “hamburgers” or “steaks” because of their meaty texture.

Try different ways to cook mushrooms with these healthy recipes. If you don’t eat a lot of mushrooms now, they are definitely worth exploring. Experiment with different recipes and add extra nutrients to your meals.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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