From cremini to shiitake, visit your local grocery store and you will notice multiple types of mushrooms. Some, you may not have seen before. These often colorless fungi are low in calories, but pack a nutritional punch.

The Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services team explains how you can make mushrooms  part of your favorite meals.

Mushroom Fun Facts

  • Though typically grouped into the vegetable food group, mushrooms are actually fungi.
  • Mushroom DNA is more similar to human DNA than plant DNA. In fact, mushrooms produce their own vitamin D from sunlight exposure, just like humans. Try sun-dried mushrooms for a boost of vitamin D.
  • “Chicken of the Woods” or laetiporus sulphureus is a type of mushroom famous for its lemon chicken flavor.
  • Armillaria or “honey fungus” is one of the largest living organisms on earth. In Oregon, this mushroom covers 2.4 miles.

Nutritional Breakdown

  • One cup of raw mushrooms contains:
    • 16 calories
    • 0 g fat
    • 2 g carbohydrates
    • 1 g fiber
    • 2 g protein
  • Mushrooms are a low-sodium food with only 4 mg per serving. This makes the fungi a great addition to anyone’s diet, especially if you have high blood pressure.Mushrooms
  • Mushrooms are high in niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and folate. These B vitamins are important for nervous system functioning, red blood cell production and energy metabolism.
  • Mushrooms are an excellent source of selenium, which protects against skin damage.

Incorporating Mushrooms into Your Meals

  • Switch up your hamburgers by grilling a whole portobello mushroom in place of a traditional beef burger.
  • Use mushrooms to make lasagna, hamburgers, tacos or any other recipe that calls for ground beef. Combine one cup of diced cremini mushrooms with 1/2 pound of 98 percent lean ground meat in recipes that call for one pound of meat.
  • Add cremini or button mushrooms to omelettes along with onions, peppers and tomatoes for a colorful and filling breakfast.
  • Chop up oyster mushrooms and add to your favorite salad.
  • Enhance your risotto or pasta recipes with a variety of mushrooms such as cremini, portobello, button or shiitake.
  • Try sun-dried mushrooms in pasta primavera.

To save time on your next meal, pick up pre-washed and pre-sliced mushrooms. Mushrooms are best stored in a brown paper bag or cloth bag in the refrigerator to help preserve the flavor.

For more recipes, visit our health tips page.

Blog provided by Stephanie Altemus, Texas A&M University Dietetic Intern, and Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.