Mushrooms: Nutrition, Benefits, Side Effects, More | Everyday Health

2022-10-09 04:46:41 By : Mr. Andy Yang

Here's the dirt on these trendy fungi, including an explainer on what scientists do and don’t know about their health benefits and risks — and how health experts recommend adding them to your health and wellness routine.

Mushrooms are low in calories and fat, contain a surprising amount of protein, are a good source of blood-pressure-regulating potassium, and are high in selenium, a mineral with antioxidant properties. They may also play a role in cancer prevention, and some varieties are excellent sources of vitamin D.

Avoid eating wild mushrooms, as there are many varieties that cause side effects from nausea and vomiting to respiratory or organ failure and death. Stick to mushrooms found at your grocer, which are safe to eat.

Mushroom coffee is a drink that’s made with a blend of ground coffee and medicinal mushrooms. Some varieties you might find in a mushroom coffee product include chaga mushroom, reishi, and cordyceps, because they're thought to improve immune health, relieve stress, and support cognition.

Research suggests the antioxidants in mushrooms may help preserve neuronal health and potentially lower the risk of mild cognitive impairment, a form of early memory loss that can sometimes progress to Alzheimer’s.

Psilocybin is the psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms that people use for its hallucinogenic effects. There is some preliminary research on the use of psilocybin to treat mental health conditions.

Below are the nutrition facts for 3.5 ounces (oz) of three popular varieties of mushrooms.

Selenium: 15.3 mcg (an excellent source)

Selenium: 14.7 mcg (an excellent source)

There are a lot of good things to say about mushrooms. “Mushrooms are low in calories and saturated fat and they add all these micronutrients, flavonols, and phytochemicals to your meal,” says Katherine Brooking, RD, a New York City–based registered dietitian. Here are some health benefits to keep on your radar.

The risk of side effects from mushrooms depends on the type and the source. “Broadly speaking, mushrooms are extremely safe, for the varieties that you find in your grocer,” says Brooking. On the other hand, “it’s recommended that you do not pick wild mushrooms unless you are an expert in the field. There are thousands of varieties of mushrooms, and some are poisonous,” she explains.

Mushroom varieties have different flavor profiles, says Bedwell. The type you choose will depend on your taste preferences. For instance, a “super-mild” mushroom is the white button mushroom, which you often see on pizza and at the salad bar because they really go well with any other veggie, she says. (This is a great gateway mushroom if you’re just starting to eat them.)

Stronger-flavored mushrooms include maitakes and lion’s mane, or pom poms. Maitakes have a rich, earthy flavor and can hold their own as an entrée, while lion’s mane has a crab-like flavor and texture that pairs well with shellfish and fish, Bedwell explains.

After choosing and buying mushrooms, keep those fungi dry in order to prolong their life. Store in the fridge unwashed.

“Once you are ready to use them, you can either brush the dirt off or give them a quick rinse, but try to avoid fully submerging them in water,’ says Bedwell.

When preparing mushrooms, don’t cut off and discard the stems; they're edible, she says. If the bottom of the stem is dry, trim just that part off. Then chop, slice, or dice as the recipe directs.

Not sure what to whip up? The good news about mushrooms is that they're very versatile. They can be eaten raw or disguise themselves as meat.

Bedwell recommends chopping them up really small and mixing them with ground meat in recipes for burgers and meatballs. The umami flavor of mushrooms pumps up the flavor in these recipes and makes smaller amounts of meat go further.

Or you can get back to basics and pop mushrooms in the oven and roast them, suggests Bedwell. Toss them in olive oil, salt, pepper, and thinly sliced garlic and roast for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Bring them in wherever you can. That means slicing them into a salad, stirring them into a soup, or adding them to a frittata, says Brooking.

Or make them the star of the show. Turn mushroom caps over and fill with tomato sauce, sprinkle with mozzarella and dried oregano, and broil into pizza mushrooms. Slice for a mushroom stroganoff. Or grill portobello caps for burgers. Then dig in!

Scallion Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Mushrooms Make this ideal appetizer (it’s spicy, it’s cheesy) by Ambitious Kitchen. Your crowd will love it!

Mighty Mushroom Blended Burger Diced mushrooms blend effortlessly with ground beef for a healthier take on a burger that has a really rich flavor, in this recipe from the Mushroom Council.

Amazing Mushroom Bowls With Kale Pesto Pinch of Yum combines smoky-sweet marinated mushrooms with pineapple and bell peppers, and serves it all over rice and dollops of kale pesto for a lunch- or dinnerworthy meal.

Nondairy Cream of Mushroom Soup The registered dietitian-nutritionist Joy Bauer purees mushrooms, cannellini beans, and broth to create a silky-smooth soup that tastes really rich (but doesn’t contain a lick of cream).

Smoky Shiitake Quesadillas With Avocado Cream Spiced-up shiitakes and grated cheddar are tucked away in tortillas (substitute whole-wheat flats if you’d like) and topped with a Greek yogurt–based avocado cream from How Sweet Eats.

Mushrooms are a healthy and flavorful ingredient to add to a variety of dishes, from appetizers to soups and salads, and as a side or the main dish. “They’re nutritious, and they add that umami sense of richness that enhances the flavor of any dish. This makes mushrooms really important from a nutrition standpoint but also to make healthy food taste great,” says Brooking.

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