7 Reasons why mushrooms are good for you, plus two delicious and easy recipes

  • 2 Minutes Read
Sue Heikkinen
Sue Heikkinen, MS, RDN, CDCES, BC-ADM, ACE-PT - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist Educator

Learn why mushrooms are good for you and the impressive health benefits they provide. Bonus-two fabulous recipes using these mighty gems of good eating!

Why mushrooms are good for you

If you don't yet know why mushrooms are so good for you, here are 7 reasons to eat them more often

1. Culinary uses

Mushrooms offer a meaty texture and a rich umami flavor, making them an obvious choice for satisfying meatless dishes. The flavor enhancement they offer also allows you to cook with less salt without sacrificing taste. Grill them, stir-fry them, or simmer in your favorite soup or stew. For an appetizer or light meal, bake these Mini Mushroom Margarita Pizzas featuring hearty portobello mushrooms.

2. Versatility

You can include mushrooms in almost any eating plan you follow, whether you prefer vegetarian, paleo, low-carb, or Mediterranean. Marinated Mushrooms and Roasted Garlic Cloves fit well in any of these diets!

3. Nutrient value

White mushrooms are the most commonly consumed mushrooms in the United States, though other varieties have similar nutrient value. These nutrition powerhouses are rich in many B-vitamins, as well as the minerals copper and selenium. Mushrooms exposed to UV light can be a surprisingly rich source of vitamin D, yet another reason why mushrooms are good for you.

4. Weight loss

Mushrooms provide high-volume with minimal calories, making them an excellent addition to any weight-loss plan. One cup of white mushrooms has a mere 15 calories and one gram of net carbs.

Incorporating mushrooms into your breakfast (such as with eggs or on toast) may help you stick with your plan. A study found that people who ate a serving of mushrooms instead of meat at breakfast (matching the same amount of protein and calories as the meat) reported less hunger and more fullness.

5. Immune function and cancer protection

Though colorful fruits and vegetables get all the attention for cancer protection, the humble mushroom is gaining attention as a potential cancer fighter filled with cell-protecting antioxidants. According to one new study, people who eat more mushrooms have lower risk of cancer. Mushrooms are rich in beta-glucan, a fiber studied for immune function and protection from cancer-causing substances.

6. Brain health

If you need another reason why mushrooms are good for you, early research points towards mushrooms' brain benefits. Researchers in Singapore reported that people who consumed two or more portions of mushrooms weekly had a lower risk of cognitive impairment than those who consumed less than one serving a week. Scientists suspect ergothioneine, a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound abundant in mushrooms, could be a reason for these cognitive benefits.

7. Gut health

Mushrooms are a rich source of prebiotics, which help fuel a healthy gut by encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria. By promoting these helpful bacteria, mushrooms may help reduce inflammation and promote immune function.

Are there downsides to eating mushrooms?

With so many health benefits to offer, it's no wonder mushrooms are good for you. However, there are a few cautions for eating mushrooms. Most importantly, do not forage for your mushrooms unless you are an expert in identifying safe, edible mushrooms.

If you have digestive concerns, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you may find that eating large amounts of mushrooms can trigger digestive woes. However, oyster mushrooms are less likely to cause symptoms compared to other varieties.

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Foods & Recipes->Fruit & Vegetables Meal Planning & Diets->Healthy Eating
Dec 1, 2021

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