Mushrooms are rich in B vitamins, such as:
- riboflavin, or B-2
- folate, or B-9
- thiamine, or B-1
- pantothenic acid, or B-5
- niacin, or B-3
B vitamins help the body get energy from food and form red blood cells. A number of B vitamins also appear to be important for a healthy brain.
The choline in mushrooms can help with muscle movement, learning, and memory. Choline assists in maintaining the structure of cellular membranes and plays a role in the transmission of nerve impulses.
Mushrooms are also the only vegan, nonfortified dietary source of vitamin D.
Several other minerals that may be difficult to obtain from a vegan diet — such as selenium, potassium, copper, iron, and phosphorus — are available in mushrooms.
Seasonal varieties available at farmer’s markets and some grocery stores include:
Some people pick wild mushrooms, but it is essential to know which are edible, as some contain deadly toxins.
Tips for buying
When buying fresh mushrooms, chose ones that are firm, dry, and unbruised. Avoid mushrooms that appear slimy or withered.
Store mushrooms in the refrigerator. A person should not wash or trim them until it is time to cook with them.
Tips for serving
The Environmental Working Group, which assesses foods for their pesticide contents, placed mushrooms that grow in the U.S. in its 2019 list of the 15 cleanest foods, referring to relatively low traces of pesticides.
However, people should still wash and clean them carefully before using them to remove any soil and grit. If necessary, trim the ends of the stalks. You can use mushrooms whole, sliced, or diced.
To incorporate more mushrooms into the diet, try:
- sauteing any type of mushroom with onions for a quick, tasty side dish
- adding mushrooms to stir-fries
- topping a salad with raw, sliced cremini or white mushrooms
- stuffing and baking portobello mushrooms
- adding sliced mushrooms to omelets, breakfast scrambles, pizzas, and quiches
- sauteing shiitake mushrooms in olive oil or broth for a healthful side dish
- removing the stems of portobello mushrooms, marinating the caps in a mixture of olive oil, onion, garlic, and vinegar for 1 hour, then grilling them for 10 minutes
- morel mushroom spore for sale
wild mushrooms can make a tasty dish, but the toxins in some mushrooms can trigger fatal health issues. Some wild mushrooms also contain high levels of heavy metals and other harmful chemicals.
To avoid these dangers, only consume mushrooms from a reliable source.