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Current dietary guidelines for people living in the United States recommend following a health dietary pattern that is rich in nutrient-dense foods to promote health and prevent chronic disease. Findings from a recent study demonstrate that including mushrooms as part of a healthy dietary pattern provides many essential nutrients.

Mushrooms are edible fungi, generally categorized as vegetables in the human diet. They are rich sources of many vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, potassium, and selenium. When grown in the presence of ultraviolet light, mushrooms are good sources of vitamin D2. Mushrooms also contain a variety of bioactive compounds, including the antioxidant molecules ergothioneine and glutathione.

The authors of the study conducted a dietary modeling analysis to investigate the effects of adding a serving (84 grams, about ½ cup) of a combination of white, crimini, and portabella mushrooms or oyster mushrooms only to three healthy eating patterns: US style, Mediterranean style, and vegetarian style. They obtained nutrient data for the mushrooms from the USDA nutrient database, and nutritional profiles for the three dietary patterns from USDA dietary analyses.

The assessment revealed that a single serving of mushrooms added approximately 2 to 3 percent more fiber, 8 to 12 percent more potassium, 12 to 18 percent more riboflavin (a B vitamin), 11 to 26 percent more niacin (a B vitamin), 11 to 23 percent more selenium, and 16 to 26 percent more copper, depending upon the dietary pattern under comparison. Eating mushrooms that had been exposed to sufficient ultraviolet light to increase vitamin D levels to 200 IU per serving increased vitamin D intake by 67 to 90 percent. A single serving of oyster mushrooms added 8 to 11 percent more vitamin D and 10 to 16 percent more choline to the dietary patterns. Data from other studies suggest that a single serving of mushrooms would add 2.2 milligrams of ergothioneine and 3.5 milligrams of glutathione to the three dietary patterns.

These findings suggest that mushrooms provide many key nutrients and can be part of a healthy dietary pattern. This study was supported by the Mushroom Council.

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