Mushroom study finds superfood benefits without weight gain risk

Adding a serving of mushrooms to your daily meals may offer a variety of key nutrients — including ones you may be lacking — without contributing calories to your diet. The research was recently published in the journal Food Science & Nutrition, detailing the health benefits of eating certain commonly available edible mushrooms.

Many people struggle to get adequate nutrients from their daily diets, particularly when it comes to certain 'shortfall nutrients,' which refers to things like fiber and vitamin D that many people under-consume, making them a public health concern. Dealing with this problem may be as simple as eating certain common mushrooms every day with your meals, according to the new study.

The study involved a model that added mushrooms to dietary data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which was collected from 2011 to 2016. The researchers focused specifically on three common edible mushrooms — portabella, white mushrooms, and crimini — combined with a 1:1:1 ratio.

The model used different scenarios, such as mushrooms that were exposed to UV lights, as well as two models that added oyster mushrooms to the mix. A serving, in this case, was 84 grams — or around half a cup — of the mushroom mix. The results were favorable, finding that adding mushrooms to one's daily meals can increase a variety of nutrients without impacting sodium, fat, carbohydrates, and calories.

The study found that adding these mushrooms to a diet would have provided a notable increase in phosphorus, potassium, copper, dietary fiber, riboflavin, niacin, choline, zinc, and selenium. The benefits were found with both the 1:1:1 mushroom mix and the model that included oyster mushrooms.

As well, the researchers note that in the case of mushrooms exposed to UV light, consuming them would also provide a daily 5mcg dose of vitamin D, potentially helping populations who are at risk of deficiency. This isn't the first study to link mushrooms with health benefits, including research published in October that linked mushroom consumption with lower prostate cancer risk.