WebMD BlogsFood and Fitness

6 Reasons to Eat More Mushrooms

mushrooms
Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD - Blogs
By Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RDRegistered dietitianNovember 13, 2020

Mushrooms are a great example of “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Yes, they’re a fungi. And sure, some varieties look like something out of a Dr. Seuss story. But mushrooms deserve to be tossed into your shopping cart and added to meals a lot more often (not just ordered on pizza, though that’s yummy too!). Here are six reasons why:

1. They're provide vitamin D: Mushrooms are the only produce item that delivers vitamin D, a nutrient that’s not easy to come by in many commonly eaten foods. That’s because mushrooms can make vitamin D when exposed to UV light. For instance, one portabella mushroom treated with UV light contains more than 100% of the Daily Value for vitamin D. Check the Nutrition Facts Panel for vitamin D content on portabella, white button, and brown cremini mushrooms (“baby bellas”). These varieties are more likely to be treated.

2. They taste meaty: The flavor of mushrooms has been described as “umami,” a Japanese word meaning “pleasant savory taste,” that’s referred to as the fifth taste sense. Portabella (and cremini) mushrooms have a meatier flavor, though the milder flavor of white button deepens with cooking. Portabella mushrooms also have a meaty texture, which is why you’ll see them grilled whole or served on buns in place of meat burgers.

3. They’re high in selenium: Mushrooms are one of the richest sources of selenium in the produce aisle. That’s a mineral that works like an antioxidant in your body, guarding cells against the kind of damage that can lead to disease. Selenium also plays a role in the immune system.

4. They vanish into ground meat: With their meaty taste and texture and ability to disappear into ground meat, they’re the perfect way to cut back on the amount of ground beef (or ground pork, chicken, or turkey) you use in recipes. With this trick, you’ll also reduce the number of calories and fat in your recipe too. (Here’s my recipe for Freezer-Friendly Beef Burritos that stretches ground beef with white button mushrooms.)

Keep in mind these ratio recommendations while you’re cooking:

  • Burgers and meatloaf: Use 25% mushrooms to 75% ground meat
  • Tacos: Use 50% each mushrooms and ground meat
  • Pasta sauces: Use 70% mushrooms to 30% ground meat

5. They may help with weight loss: Mushrooms are extremely low in calories. There are only about 20 calories in a serving of five white button mushrooms or one whole portabella mushroom! Yet mushrooms are also satisfying. In one study published in the journal Appetite, people who swapped mushrooms for meat at lunch reduced the amount of calories and fat they took in, but they reported feeling just as full and satisfied as those who ate meat.

6. They’re a sustainable crop: Mushrooms are grown in trays indoors and don’t require sunlight, farmland, or very much water. When you eat them in place of meat -- or blend them so you’re eating less meat -- you’re also lowering the overall carbon footprint of your meals.

 

WebMD Blog
© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
Blog Topics:
About the Author
Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD

Sally Kuzemchak is a registered dietitian in Columbus, Ohio. An award-winning reporter and writer, Sally has been published in magazines such as Health, Family Circle, and Eating Well and is a Contributing Editor to Parents magazine. She is the author of the book The 101 Healthiest Foods For Kids. She blogs at Real Mom Nutrition, a "no-judgments" zone all about feeding families.

More from the Food and Fitness Blog

  • oatmeal

    7 Facts About Oats That Might Surprise You

    Oats aren’t only a breakfast food; in fact, there’s a lot more to the humble oat than you might realize.

  • cereal

    Is Cereal Good for You?

    Do you have concerns about cereal? Get answers to common questions as well as a quick shopping guide.

View all posts on Food and Fitness

Latest Blog Posts on WebMD

View all blog posts

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Read More