Your body is screaming for the nutrients in mushrooms

“Mushrooms are miniature pharmaceutical factories, and of the thousands of mushroom species in nature, our ancestors and modern scientists have identified several dozen that have a unique combination of talents that improve our health.”

~ Paul Stamets

I love mushrooms. To me, mushrooms are the meat of the plant world. They are just so versatile and tasty. You can eat them raw, or cook them in many different ways. And for the calorie counters out there, there are only four calories in one medium white mushroom; but that one mushroom packs a mighty nutritional punch. They are one of the super foods that help our body out in so many wonderful ways – full of nutritional benefits!  

What really makes mushrooms interesting is that there is such a huge variety of these fabulous fungi in the world, with some of the most amazing flavours. Mushrooms can really bring a meal to life like nothing else can. 

“I am… a mushroom; On whom the dew of heaven drops now and then.”

~ John Ford

Mushrooms have a unique look and taste, Here are some of the most common types found in grocery stores:

  • shiitake
  • portobello
  • crimini
  • button or white mushroom
  • oyster
  • enoki
  • beech
  • maitake
  • chestnut

Now for the educational part of this post; All the facts about how mushrooms can change your life for the better:

Selenium Antioxidants

Mushrooms are rich in the antioxidant called selenium, which helps to protect your body from damaging free radicals. Free radicals are known to cause conditions like ageing, heart disease and cancer. But mushrooms have the power to protect you against harms from free radicals – and they boost your immune system. In fact, they are the best source of this magical mineral in the produce aisle. Selenium works by neutralising unstable molecules that can damage cells. It also helps to regulate thyroid hormone activity.

Portobello mushrooms have over 30x the required selenium per calorie. Researchers are investigating whether selenium may help reduce the risk of developing cancer.


Beta-glucan is a form of soluble dietary fibre that comes from the cell walls of mushrooms and is strongly linked to improving cholesterol and boosting heart health. It can also help your body regulate blood sugar, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Oyster and shiitake mushrooms are believed to have the most effective beta-glucans and are really, really tasty.

B vitamins

Mushrooms are rich in the B vitamins: 

  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is good for red blood cells and helps convert food into energy. It is needed for healthy skin, hair, blood, and your brain. 
  • Niacin (vitamin B3, nicotinic acid) is good for the digestive system and also for maintaining healthy skin. It helps convert food into energy. Niacin is essential for healthy skin, blood cells, brain, and your nervous system.
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) is good for the nervous system; it makes the hormones your body needs to convert food into energy. Pantothenic acid helps make lipids (fats), neurotransmitters, steroid hormones, and haemoglobin.

The combination of these B vitamins helps to protect your heart health. Crimini, portobello, and white mushrooms even contain trace levels of vitamin B12, common only in animal-derived products.

Vitamin D

Mushrooms contain Vitamin D, which helps maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus, which strengthen your bones. It actually helps in the formation of teeth and bones. Maitake mushrooms have over 100x the required vitamin D per calorie. 

Researchers found exposing mushrooms to sunlight for as little as 15 minutes, even on cloudy days, significantly increased their vitamin D levels. The largest increases of vitamin D were in oyster and enoki mushrooms, followed by portobello and shiitake varieties; and you know, there are some amazing recipes for cooking those mushrooms. So the next time you buy mushrooms, just before cooking them or eating them raw, put them in the sunlight for 15 to 20 minutes, let them absorb that life-giving vitamin D.  Your body will thank you for it – and so will your taste buds!


Just 1 cup of mushrooms can provide about one-third of the daily recommended amount of copper. What’s more, copper plays an important role in iron metabolism and your immune system. It helps your body make red blood cells, which are then used to deliver oxygen all over your body. Copper is also important to other processes in the body, like maintaining healthy bones and nerves. Crimini mushrooms have over 50x the required copper.

Just something to think about the next time you are out grocery shopping – don’t forget the mushrooms!


Mushrooms have a wonderful amount of potassium. Just 2/3 cup of cooked Portobello mushroom is the same as having a medium-sized banana. A diet rich in potassium has been shown to lower blood pressure. Getting enough potassium from your diet may benefit bones. It is also extremely important for your heart, helping to maintain a steady heartbeat. It is needed to help your muscles achieve contractions and it helps with your nerve function. It balances the fluids in your body. So potassium is a vital mineral for your body to function, and mushrooms are a fantastic way to provide your body with exactly what it needs.


Crimini mushrooms are a particularly excellent source of zinc, an essential trace element 12x the required zinc per calorie with adequate levels of calcium. Zinc is a vital nutrient for the immune system and is also needed for ensuring optimal growth in infants and children. Crimini mushrooms are one of the most widely used mushroom varieties, popular in kitchens around the world.


Several mushrooms are a surprisingly good source of protein on a calorie-by-calorie basis. White mushrooms are the most protein-dense mushrooms on a per calorie basis, while oyster mushrooms have the most protein on a per weight basis.

Mushrooms are incredibly versatile. You can prepare them in so many ways and pair them with tons of different ingredients. Slice them up raw and toss them in a salad, grill them, sauté them, or roast them. Mushrooms help our planet stay healthy. So why not include them in your diet to help your body stay healthy. 

Mushrooms – who would have thought… the givers of life!

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