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Are Mushrooms Bad For You?



Short answer

Mushrooms provide significant vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. Many health benefits come from mushrooms. Cooking the mushroom will help with improved delivery of nutrients to our body. Wild mushrooms should not be ingested (in cooked or raw form) due to certain toxins that can be fatal.



Long answer

Mushrooms offer significant health benefits. They contain B vitamins, fiber, protein, iron, copper, selenium, vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus.  There are also a number of additional healthful compounds found only in mushrooms.

Mushrooms are rich in riboflavin (B2), folate (B9), thiamine (B1),pantothenic acid (B5), and niacin (B3). B Vitamins are essential for turning carbohydrates into glucose which the body burns to produce energy.  B Vitamins help the body metabolize fats and protein.

Having a good amount of fiber in your diet keeps your digestion and bowels healthy, can lower your cholesterol and helps to expel toxins from the body. Over 90% of the iron supplied from mushrooms is absorbable, thanks to the copper it contains, and offers benefits red blood cells formation, digestion, and nerve function. Mushrooms are also one of few food sources for vitamin D, a vitamin necessary for the proper absorption of calcium and phosphorus. The longer the mushrooms are exposed to the sun, the more vitamin D they will contain – you can even dry them in the sun after harvesting to further increase the vitamin D content.

Some mushrooms are a great source of selenium.  An analysis of seven studies-published last year in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention-showed that the higher the level of selenium, as measured in blood serum and toenails, the lower the risk of bladder cancer. Selenium demonstrates a protective effect mainly among women, which researchers believe may result from gender-specific differences in its accumulation and elimination. Several types of mushrooms are rich in this essential trace mineral: 100 grams of raw crimini have 47 percent of your daily needs, cooked shiitakes have 45 percent and raw white button have 17 percent.

Mushrooms are high in antioxidants and help to fight free radicals that are the result of oxidation in our body. When it comes to antioxidant power we are more inclined to think of colorful vegetables than neutral-hued mushrooms. But a study at Penn State university showed that the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC)-a measure of a food’s total antioxidant power-of crimini and portobello mushrooms were about the same as for red peppers. 

Mushrooms are known for their medicinal properties for cancer prevention and boosting the immune system. Breast and prostate cancers have shown the best response to beta-glucans and conjugated linoleic acid found in mushrooms. Beta-glucans have anti-tumor growth proteins and have the ability to kill cancer cells. Linoleic acid suppresses the effects of excess estrogen in the body, the main cause of breast cancer development.

Furthermore, mushrooms contain some natural insulin and enzymes which help to break down starch and sugars in the body that can be beneficial to diabetics. Along with the low level of carbohydrates, no fats, and high fiber content, mushrooms are a great addition to a diabetic diet and those trying to lose weight or lower their cholesterol.

Cooking healthy mushrooms allows for more of the nutrient content to be absorbed into our bodies. One important note is that it is not recommended to go foraging for WILD mushrooms.  The poisonous ‘Death Cap Mushroom” (Amanita Phalloides) grows all around the world and is responsible for 90% of fatal mushroom ingestions globally.  Once ingested, violent vomiting usually happens in hours.  Then the toxins start eating and destroying the liver. IV fluids can help push the toxins out of the body but some people will need a liver transplant.  Cooking these mushrooms will NOT destroy the toxin. 

Mushrooms come in many healthy varieties and are very versatile in a plethora of recipes. 

Ingredients to be aware of

  • toxic compounds in the wild 'death cap mushroom"-should never be ingested in raw or cooked form

Big are mushrooms bad for you 2


  • boosts the immune system
  • strengthen bones
  • prevents cancers (prostate, breast and bladder) suppressed excess estrogen
  • provides vitamins, minerals, protein & fiber
  • breaks down starch and sugars in the body
  • lower bad (ldl) cholesterol
  • promotes weight loss

Healthy mushrooms (what is this?)

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Written by Dr. Becky Maes | 08-27-2016

Written by Dr. Becky Maes
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