7 Potential Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Even if you’re eating them raw in salads, mushrooms are on fire right now. In 2019, sales of mushrooms and mushroom-based products grew by 33% compared to the previous year, the trade magazine Nutritional perspectives reported in 2021.

Nutrition experts are thrilled with mushrooms. “Mushrooms are low in calories. They also provide a wide range of macro and micronutrients, most notably B vitamins, selenium, zinc and copper, ”says Katherine Brooking, RD, registered dietitian in New York City and co-creator of the weekly syndicated news series Appetite for Health. B vitamins are important in the production of energy in cells, he explains. And selenium is a powerful antioxidant, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), while zinc and copper are essential for a strong immune system.

It is clear that whole mushrooms that are eaten raw or cooked for use in recipes are beneficial to health, and these, rather than processed mushrooms, are what we are focusing on in this story. Other forms, such as supplements, nutraceuticals, and mouth sprays, may provide other benefits, but more research is needed.

The most popular mushroom produced in the United States is the white mushroom, says Kim Bedwell of the Mushroom Council. “Other varieties, such as cremini, also known as baby bella, and portobello are becoming increasingly popular,” she says. You’re also more likely to find specialty mushrooms (like shiitake, oysters, and maitakes) at traditional grocery stores, she says. You have many choices, depending on your taste preferences, and that means many ways to enjoy the following seven health benefits of mushrooms.

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