Mushrooms (fungi) have a unique chemical, structural and nutrition composition and are classified as having their own “kingdom” rather than being a part of the plant kingdom. In fact, they have a closer relationship to animals than plants!

There are an impressive 2000 varieties of edible mushrooms currently found worldwide. Australia specifically has many of its own native fungi with amazing names; true truffles, white punk, horse dung puffballs and beefsteak fungus. Now are you interested?

Key Mushroom Nutrition Facts & Health Benefits (A. bisporus, 95% of the edible mushrooms eaten in Australia)

·      High in flavonoids (potent antioxidants) which protect the body’s cells from damage

o   Note: There are more antioxidants in the cap of a mushroom, rather than the stem

·      Contain B Vitamins essential for human metabolism and nerve function

·      Contain Vitamin D which helps with calcium absorption in the small intestine

·      Contain Chitin, a unique prebiotic fibre which helps to maintains a healthy microbiome

·      Rich in bioactive compounds (Vitamin D, selenium, ergosterol, ergothioneine and beta-glucan) all linked to protective immunity

Mushrooms and Vitamin D

According to Dr Flavia Fayet-Moore, “Exposing one portobello mushroom to fifteen minutes of sunlight can provide the same amount of vitamin D as a low dose vitamin D supplement (1000IU).”

With most Vitamin D RDI’s sitting at 1000IU or less daily for the general population (except <70 years) this is GREAT news.

Mushrooms and Cancer

A Chinese case control study showed eating >2g white button mushrooms daily reduced the chance of contracting ovarian cancer by 32% (Lee et al. 2013)

A phase 1 clinical trial showed that a mushroom extract at increased doses (4-14g extract/day), equivalent to 40-140g fresh white button mushroom was associated with decreased prostate specific antigen (PSA) in 36% of patients (Twardowski et al. 2015)

Is important to remember these are small studies and that larger random control trials would be helpful to establish a stronger association of reduced risk. Additionally, that many factors play a role in the occurrence, prevention, management and survivorship of cancer.

You can read more about how we support oncology clients at Body Fusion here.

Top tips on incorporating mushrooms weekly into your diet:

·      Include in veggie omelettes for breakfast

·      Stuff and bake portobello mushrooms with a mix of low fat ricotta, grated zucchini, parmesan, dried oregano and sliced sundried tomatoes. Other variations of this recipe here

·      Add to homemade healthy frittatas

·      Add slices to healthy burgers or replace your meat patty with a cooked juicy portobello mushroom

·      Sauté with olive oil, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and mix through your salad at dinner

·      Like Italian? Enjoy on top of your pizzas or layer in a tasty lasagne

·      Make it the main theme of your risotto

Fun fact: The vitamin D in mushrooms has been shown to be largely stable during cooking and preserved for up to 8 days of refrigeration.

Hopefully this blog kept you very con-shroomed. Cheers to the mushroom 🙂

Thank you to the wonderful group who published a resource via their project with Hort Innovation of which much of this information was sourced.