The Humble Mushroom

Written by The Nutrition Academy

Time To Read: 3 minutes

September 14, 2022

Love them or hate them, the humble mushroom is an explosion of goodness and a tasty versatile ingredient!

According to the Australian Mushroom Growers’ Association and Harvard’s School of Public Health, mushrooms are not a plant or an animal food, they are type of fungus containing substance called ergosterol.

Ergosterol is comparable in structure to cholesterol in animals and can be converted into Vitamin D when exposed to UV light. Interestingly though, mushrooms aren’t always bursting with huge amounts of Vitamin D, as most are grown in dark rooms and therefore have very little Vitamin D inside them. There are some mushroom farmers who will expose their mushroom crops to UV light (sun or UV lamps) to boost their Vitamin D content.

But don’t sweat, you can be sure the mighty mushrooms you bought on the weekend ARE full of extra Vitamin D buy putting them out in the sun for just 15 minutes!!!


Mushroom Nutrition

Mushrooms have been classified as a “superfood” and are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants your entire family can enjoy! Some of these include;

  • Selenium

Selenium is a mineral that support cognition, the immune system and fertility. As it is a trace mineral, our body only needs small amounts.

  • B Vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, B-6, and B-12)

There are many types of B Vitamins and they each support various enzymes in our body including releasing energy from carbs and fats and moving oxygen and energy-containing nutrients around our body.

  • Vitamin C

We often associate citrus fruits with Vitamin C, but our fungus friend also packs a punch when it comes to Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps with wound healing and is an antioxidant that can help neutralise free radicals.

  • Choline

Naturally present in mushrooms, Choline helps our muscles to contract, triggers pain responses, and plays a part memory and thinking.

  • Potassium

A natural mineral in the mushroom, potassium is essential in maintaining electrolyte and fluid balance in our body

Here at The Nutritional Academy, we could talk all day about the various nutrients inside mushrooms.  We recommend running your eyes over the Nutrition – Australian Mushroom Growers page to learn more about the mushroom!

Nutritionists/Dieticians generally say that eating around 3-4 Mushrooms will give you 25% of your daily needs of the essential vitamins, riboflavin, biotin, niacin and pantothenic acid and folate.


Cooking with Mushrooms

Now that you are thinking about everything mushrooms, you may be wondering how to integrate more mushrooms into your diet (and potentially disguise them if you’re not a fan!).

Mushrooms are so easy to cook with.  Simply wipe off any excess dirt with a damp cloth (don’t keep them under water too long as their skin can absorb it), trim the stem (optional!) and throw in a salad and eat it raw, stir-fry, roast, grill, slow cook or BBQ!

Here are some yummy ideas to increase your mushroom intake and reap the health benefits:

Okonomiyaki | Changing Habits

Cream of Mushroom Soup | Changing Habits

Mini Potato Base Pizzas | Changing Habits

Gluten-Free Spinach and Ricotta lasagna | Changing Habits


Buying Mushrooms

Are you thinking, where is the best place to buy mushrooms? We always recommend your local fruit and veg grocer or local farmers market for the freshest mushrooms, but supermarket bought mushrooms are absolutely fine just consider organic, as in Australia we have plenty of mushroom farmers supplying our supermarkets! There are over 70 growers in Australia!

If you are lucky enough, you may even have a mushroom farm near by that you can order direct from…or if your brave enough, why not grow some at home? They are simple to grow and take up little room! Find out more with Gardening Australia



Now your kitchen is overflowing with mushrooms where on earth should your store them? Australian Mushrooms recommend putting those mushrooms in a paper bag on the bottom shelf of your fridge. They will generally last around 1 week.


What Next?

At The Nutrition Academy, we are passionate about educating others about the importance of nutrition. Why not Discover how to feel your best through the power of nutrition?

Now get those mushrooms out and whip up some of that tasty soup or stuff that mushroom with fancy things!

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