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Dietitians Wish You Ate More Of These 11 Mushrooms

This is for you!

By Shashini ThennakoonPublished 2 years ago 5 min read

It's time to start eating more mushrooms, if you haven't already."Mushrooms are an edible fungus that offer fiber and various nutrients for maintaining excellent health," explains Mary Wirtz, R.D., a Mom Loves Best consultant.

Mushrooms are also high in B vitamins, phosphate, vitamin D, selenium, and potassium, among other minerals. Furthermore, according to Wirtz, "mushrooms have been well-researched in helping to battle free radicals that cause cellular damage."

"From a nutrition standpoint, mushrooms are very low in calories and a great source of dietary fiber; hence, a fantastic strategy for reducing caloric intake and aiding in weight and obesity control," she continues.

Mushrooms may also be beneficial to your mental health if consumed on a regular basis. "While there is no universally accepted standard for the number of mushroom servings per week," Wirtz explains, "eating more than two servings per week is connected to a lower risk of cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer's."

Then there's the fact that mushrooms are very delicious, even with all of their nutritional benefits. Shiitake, crimini, oyster, trumpet, and morel mushrooms are among the most meaty and umami-packed foods found outside of animal protein. You're starving your health—and your gustatory wealth—by avoiding mushrooms altogether because of an unpleasant experience with a raw white mushroom at a chain restaurant salad bar.

Variety is the spice of life, and eating a variety of mushrooms could provide a wide range of health benefits. "Add mushrooms to your morning egg scramble, lunchtime chicken salad, or dinnertime homemade vegetarian burgers," Wirtz suggests.

Here are 11 great mushrooms to eat for good health.

1 .Maitake

According to Pam Smith, R.D.N., author of Eat Well, Live Well, mushrooms are the only food item that contains immune-boosting vitamin D, and maitakes are particularly high in the substance.

"One serving of maitake mushrooms—1 cup diced—provides nearly a full day's recommended amount of vitamin D (99 percent)," Smith explains. "Vitamin D helps to strengthen bones and regulates the creation of proteins your body needs to kill bacterial and viral illnesses."

With their wild, rippling, feathery look and fan-like heads, they're also lovely and deliciously named 'hen of the woods.' They have a deep, woodsy flavor that goes well on the grill or under the broiler.2


"They're one of the greatest because they contain many of the same amino acids (protein-building blocks) as meat and hence make a great meat substitute," explains Melissa Mitri, R.D., of FinvsFin.com.

They're high in sterols, which are plant chemicals that have been linked to lower cholesterol levels in several studies. Polysaccharides, a type of carbohydrate that may help the immune system, are also present, according to Mitri.

Shiitake mushrooms are also high in fiber, B vitamins, and vital minerals. Riffing on Mitri, Wirtz stated that regular ingestion of shiitake mushrooms boosts immunity and reduces whole body inflammation, according to study.

3 .Lion's Mane

The texture of these puffball-shaped mushrooms is spongy, and they taste fantastic when grilled. They're also available in powdered form in supplements. But here's what you should know about mushroom supplements in general: While some intriguing research is being published, there isn't enough evidence to suggest that consuming mushroom supplements would enhance your brain or body in any manner. Real mushrooms, on the other hand, have a solid scientific foundation.


"Another medicinal fungus commonly utilized in supplement powder form is reishi," explains Mitri. "Studies show that reishi mushrooms can assist with sleep, anxiety, mood, and focus," she says, adding that this could be due to a chemical called triterpene found in reishi mushrooms. Just keep in mind that many of these studies were done on rats, so the results will need to be confirmed in humans.


These long-stemmed mushrooms come in a variety of shapes and sizes (the golden chanterelle is pictured here). They're all high in vitamin D, which helps your immune system, and they're all excellent sautéed in butter and seasoned with salt and pepper.


Morel mushrooms, according to Wirtz, provide distinct health benefits, including phytochemical-rich nutrients such tocopherols, ascorbic acid, and vitamin D. "Phytochemicals are thought to protect cells from free radical damage and lower the risk of cancer," she explains. These mushrooms are difficult to come by in fresh form, but they can be purchased dehydrated. Simply soak them in boiling water for 15 minutes before draining, chopping, and sizzling them into an omelet or in oil and scattering across a steak when ready to cook.

7 .White Button

This supermarket staple is a great way to keep your health in check. "White button mushrooms, a nutrient powerhouse, have been well-researched in helping to improve the immune system by protecting and repairing body tissue," explains Wirtz.

8 .Portobello

Portobello mushrooms, also known as portabellas, are one of the most popular mushrooms, according to Alyssa Wilson, R.D., metabolic success coach at Signos.

"They're high in the B vitamin riboflavin, as well as the antioxidant selenium. They're also high in phytochemicals including L-ergothioneine and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), as well as phosphorus, copper, and niacin.

"Their contribution of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) has a protective effect for the body's cells," Smith adds.

They can also be used as a meat substitute, as Wilson advises. Replace hamburgers with whole, de-stemmed, de-gilled portobello mushrooms, or slice them up and mix them in with ground beef in your favorite bolognese dish.

9 .Oyster

"Preliminary research suggests that frequent consumption of oyster mushrooms may improve cardiometabolic indices such as blood pressure and cholesterol metabolism," Wirtz explains. Sautéed oyster mushrooms and spinach with garlic make an easy midweek supper.

10 .Chaga

If you've never had this sort of mushroom before, it's well worth it to incorporate these nutrient-dense fungi into your diet. "Chaga is a type of mushroom that includes high quantities of B vitamins, flavonoids, phenols, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc, and iron, all of which are beneficial to the body." "Conventional notably, chaga includes superoxide dismutase (SOD) in concentrations over 10 times that of most SOD tablets," Wilson writes, citing this study. "The best method to incorporate this superfood into your diet is to make a tea out of it or take it as a tincture or extract."

11 .Crimini

"Selenium, copper, phosphorus, and the B vitamins riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid are all abundant in Crimini. Wilson claims that one mushroom contains 4.9 mg of the antioxidant ergothioneine.

This mushroom has a complex flavor that we particularly enjoy when grilled with olive oil and fresh herbs.

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    STWritten by Shashini Thennakoon

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