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Are mushrooms good for you? (The benefits will surprise you!)

Are mushrooms good for you

Are mushrooms good for you? Can they make you gain weight? Are they a superfood? Those are some of the most common questions about mushrooms that I find in my inbox. I am not surprised: nutrition is becoming increasingly important, and there isn’t that much information about mushrooms available. I looked into this for you, and you will find the answers in this article.


Mushrooms are great for you. They are natural sources of vitamins and minerals, low-calorie but contain proteins and fiber, which makes them a choice dietary meal. They are a superfood.

Chemical composition of selected cultivated mushrooms (percentages in dry matter).


Mushrooms contain vitamins D, B2 (Riboflavin), B5 (Pantothenic acid), and PP (Niacin). A cup of dry mushrooms contains about enough of those vitamins to satisfy their recommended daily intake. Mushrooms also contain a rather small amount of vitamin C and a huge amount of provitamin D, which the human body can turn into vitamin D.


Vitamin D allows the human body to absorb calcium and build bones. It is also helpful in the nervous, muscle, and immunity systems. Only a few other foods contain vitamin D, making mushrooms rather exceptional, especially for those on a vegan or vegetarian diet.

However, exposure to sunlight is required for vitamin D to develop in the mushrooms. And cultivated mushrooms are usually grown in the dark. If you purchase mushrooms in the store, put them on your window for a couple of minutes to allow vitamin D to develop in them.


Riboflavin is key to body growth. It also helps blood cell production and the release of energy from proteins.

Because riboflavin is water-soluble and leaves the body easily, our body only has a small amount of this vitamin stored in reserve. Therefore, we need a regular intake of riboflavin.

Mushrooms are a superfood


Pantothenic acid deficiency is rare in humans and therefore not really well researched, but we know it causes nervous problems in animals.

Pantothenic acid probably helps with a long list of conditions. These include acne, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, pink eye, or ADHD.

Just like riboflavin, it is water-soluble, and we need a regular intake of this vitamin.


Niacin is important to produce good cholesterol and to prevent a niacin deficiency disease, pellagra.


On average, minerals make 8% of mushrooms’ dry matter. The content is similar to the values in vegetables. The main minerals contained are potassium, phosphor, sulfur, and magnesium, followed by calcium, copper, iron, and zinc. Except for sulfur, all of those are an essential part of human nutrition.



We need potassium for our muscles to contract properly. This includes the most important muscle of all: potassium helps the heart to contract regularly. It also plays a key role in the nutrition of the cells and the maintenance of osmotic pressure.


Phosphorus plays a key role in the formation of bones and teeth. It is a part of ATP, the body’s energy-storing molecule, and it is needed to make the protein that is used to grow and repair cells and tissues.

Fun fact: Phosphorus makes about 1% of human weight and about 1% of mushroom dry matter weight.


Magnesium participates in numerous biochemical reactions in the human body. Above all, it is important for nerve and muscle function, regular heartbeat, and bone strength.


Mushrooms, in general, contain just a low amount of saccharides. Most of the saccharides they do contain are polysaccharides, which are very beneficial to humans. Our body isn’t able to break up the polysaccharides from mushrooms, and so they pass through undigested as fiber, an important component of the human diet.

One group of these polysaccharides, beta-glucans, has enormous medicinal potential, which humanity has tapped only partially so far.

Walking in fresh air is quite good for you – mushrooms are beneficial even before you eat them.
Walking in fresh air is quite good for you – mushrooms are beneficial even before you eat them.


For centuries, mushrooms have been used in folk medicine to treat diseases. Today, we know that they have a plethora of medicinal effects. Those are being researched more in recent decades, which has led to the development of numerous medicinal drugs and the introduction of many mushroom-based nutritional supplements to the market.

It all started in the 1970s when research in Japan has shown that several polysaccharides contained in some mushroom species can inhibit the growth of or destroy cancer cells. Since then, a lot more research has been done. We now know there is a number of mushrooms with antitumor effects.

Mushrooms are the most hopeful potential source of a future cure for cancer and many more drugs. They are already being used in supportive treatment for cancer successfully. 


Mushrooms have over one hundred medicinal uses, which include, above all, antioxidant, antitumor, immunomodulating, cardiovascular protection, antimicrobial, antifungal, detoxification, and anti-inflammatory effects.

Common name(s)Beneficial effects
Amethyst deceiverantitumor
Aniseed funnelantitumor, antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidative
Beefsteak fungusantitumor, heals gastrointestinal problems
Birch polyporeantibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antiviral, laxative
Bitter boleteanti-inflammatory, heals hepatopathy, helps against food poisoning
Button mushroom & other cultivated champignonsanti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, antioxidant
Cat’s tooth fungus, tooth jelly fungusantitumor
Cauliflower mushroom, hanabiratakeantitumor, boosts immunity, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity
Chagaantitumor, boosts immunity, anti-inflammatory, supports the treatment of cardiovascular sicknesses
Common morel, yellow morel, true morelantitumor, improves bowel function
Common puffballstops bleeding, antibacterial, stops sore throat, detoxication, detumescence
Enoki, velvet-shank, winter mushroomImmunity stimulation, decrease of blood pressure, stimulates the pancreas, helps with nutritional allergies and liver disease
Field mushroomantibacterial, antitumor, heals anemia, dermatophytosis, hypopepsia
Fly agaric mushroomheals insomnia, antitumor
Golden chanterelleimproves vision, supports indigestion, heals infections of the respiratory and digestive system, antitumor
Hairy bracketantifungal, antioxidative, antirheumatic, antitumor
Hedgehog mushroomantitumor
Hen of the Woodsreduces the risk of cancer, decreases blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol
Honey mushroomboost immunity, heals neurasthenia, insomnia, shoulder stiffness
King bolete, king cep, porcinoantitumor, heals wooden limbs, lumbago, and scleralgia
Late oysterantitumor, boosts immunity
Lion’s mane mushroomdecreases blood pressure, antistress, antitumor, stomach aces, burping, nerve problems, increases appetite, boosts immunity
Lumpy bracket, umbrella polyporeantitumor, diuretic, urinary tract inflammation healing
Mica capsantitumor
Oyster mushroomantitumor, decreases blood cholesterol and sugar
Paddy straw mushroomantitumor, heals scurvy
Quilted green russulaimproves vision, decreases fever, antitumor
Reishiantitumor, immunity boost, supports the treatment of neurasthenia, insomnia, inflammation, muscle dystrophia, dizziness
Ringless honey mushroomheals hepatopathy, antitumor
Saffron milk capantitumor
Scaly wood mushroomantitumor, immunity boost, improve liver function
Scotch bonnetantitumor, heals wooden limbs, lumbago, and scleralgia
Shaggymane inkcap, lawyer’s wiganti-hemorrhoid, decreases blood sugar, appetite stimulant, prevention of atherosclerosis
Shiitakeantitumor, immunity boost, antivirus, antibacterial, boost libido, anti-allergic, anti-dizziness, increase energy levels
Split-gill fungusantitumor, immunity boost, antifungal, antimicrobial, chemo-protective
Stinkhorn mushroomanalgetic, heals rheumatism, improves blood circulation
Tawny milk capantitumor
The deceiverantitumor
Tinder mushroom, hoof fungusantitumor, heals blood stagnation
Turkey-tail mushroomimmunity boost, increase energy levels, suppress night sweating, improve breathing
White parasol mushroomImproves indigestion
Winter chanterelleantibacterial
Wood blewitantitumor, antibacterial
Wood earboosts immunity, decreases blood cholesterol, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasm, anti hemorrhoidal bleeding, improves healing, calms an upset stomach
Yellow jelly fungusantitumor, immunity boost, antiallergic, antioxidative, decrease blood sugar and cholesterol, helps against neurasthenia and insomnia


I believe this presentation by Paul Stamets is both very informative and inspiring:


The amount of cultivated mushrooms that is physically possible to eat is safe in every way, even for daily consumers. Some wild mushrooms may absorb poisonous compounds from the ground, and their intake should be limited, as they can cause cumulative poisoning.

In articles about such wild mushroom species on, I always mention the recommended amounts and types of locations where they are safe to forage.

Amethyst deceiver
Amethyst deceiver drains arsenic from the ground and thus shouldn’t be consumed repeatedly in large quantities. Avoid deceivers from polluted areas entirely.


Not only are mushrooms low-calorie, low-fat, and some of them actually reduce blood sugar and blood cholesterol, they are a great addition to the diet of any human who enjoys their delicate texture and umami taste.

But there is more:

Edible mushrooms are a source of protein, fiber, several important vitamins, and several essential minerals. Research proves that adding a mushroom serving to your diet increases the intake of several micronutrients without an increase in calories, sodium, or fat.

I believe that everyone should include mushrooms in their diet.

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Carlos Warren

Growing up in Texas, I was fascinated by the world of science and invention, thanks in large part to my father's work at Dow Chemical Company. However, my true passion lay in the natural world, and I became an expert in organic gardening and composting at a young age. I spent hours studying the microbiological communities in our family garden, using a microscope to define the quality of the soil. My love for farming and gardening led me to explore new techniques and methods, constantly pushing the boundaries of what was possible.