There are many varieties of mushrooms on the market now. But the most common one you’ll likely come across is no doubt the white mushroom. It is the most cultivated mushroom type in the world, with the US being one of the top five producers worldwide.
So, anytime you eat something with mushrooms in it, 9 out 10 times it’ll be white mushrooms that you’re consuming. White mushrooms contain loads of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which are great for your health.
Here’s everything you need to know about white mushroom nutrition and why you need to make them a regular part of your diet.
What Are White Mushrooms?
This mushroom variety is also known as Agaricus bisporus, champignon mushroom, table mushroom, button mushroom, and cultivated mushroom. They are usually small to medium-sized with caps that average between two and seven centimeters in diameter. The caps are smooth, white, and rounded, and generally feel firm and spongy to touch.
White mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, and portobello mushrooms are all essentially the same mushroom, at different stages of growth. Agaricus bisporus has two color states when it is immature – white and brown.
White button mushrooms are at the youngest stage. Then, when they become older and turn brown, they are referred to as cremini mushrooms. As they continue to mature, and the caps widen, they become portobello mushrooms.
White button mushroom spawn mycelium is usually cultivated on composted soil. This mushroom variety is favored by chefs all over the world for their delicious yet mild taste, as well as how versatile they are to use in a wide range of culinary cuisines. They are available in powdered, dried, canned, and frozen form.
White Mushroom Nutrition Information
White mushrooms are low in carbs and calories and packed with loads of nutrients. According to the USDA, the nutritional profile of 100g of white mushrooms is as follows:
- Water: 92.4g
- Calories: 22
- Dietary fiber: 1g
- Fat: 0.34g
- Protein: 3.09g which is equivalent to 6% DV
- Carbohydrates: 3.26g
- Sugars: 1.98g
- Calcium: 3mg
- Copper: 0.318mg which is equivalent to 16% DV
- Iron: 0.5mg
- Magnesium: 9mg
- Manganese: 0.047mg
- Phosphorus: 86mg which is equivalent to 9% DV
- Potassium: 318mg which is equivalent to 9% DV
- Selenium: 9.3µg which is equivalent to 13% DV
- Sodium: 5mg
- Zinc: 0.52mg
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin):0.081mg which is equivalent to 5% DV
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 0.402mg which is equivalent to 24% DV
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 3.61mg which is equivalent to 18% DV
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid): 1.5mg which is equivalent to 15% DV
- Vitamin B6: 0.104mg
- Vitamin B9 (Folate): 17µg
- Vitamin C: 2.1mg
- Vitamin D2: 0.2µg
- Vitamin K: 1µg
- Omega-6 fatty acids: 139g
White mushrooms have a higher protein content than most vegetables, which makes them ideal for individuals on a plant-based diet. They are also an excellent non-animal source of vitamin D2, which is necessary for your body to absorb the calcium it needs to keep your bones healthy and strong.
When exposed to natural sunlight or UV rays, white mushrooms synthesize this vitamin in the same way that your skin would. Vitamin D deficiency may lead to muscle weakness, mineralization defects, and osteoporosis, which make individuals with these conditions more susceptible to falls and bone fractures.
Top Benefits and Uses of White Mushrooms
White mushrooms have a wide range of health benefits when consumed regularly. Here are the top 5 benefits and uses.
1. They Help Fight Cancer
Studies indicate that consuming mushrooms regularly can protect against breast cancer. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that individuals who eat mushrooms regularly have a much lower risk of developing various types of cancers.
White mushrooms are rich in multiple antioxidant compounds like vitamin C, selenium, polysaccharides, and polyphenols that are widely touted for their cancer-fighting properties.
Antioxidants scavenge the body for free radicals, which cause oxidative stress. This, in turn, increases the risk of developing certain types of cancers.
2. They Boost Immunity
These mushrooms contain Beta-glucan – a sugar found in the cell walls. According to research, Beta-glucan is quite effective in warding off viruses, bacteria, and other pathogenic microorganisms.
The regular consumption of mushrooms strengthens the body’s immune system, particularly in individuals whose defenses have been weakened by various conditions, including physical and emotional stress, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
3. They Lower Cholesterol
Not only are white mushrooms cholesterol-free, but they are also an excellent source of Beta-glucan and chitin – two compounds that work well to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Beta-glucan, in particular, interferes with the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream.
They also contain a compound known as Eritadenine, which may lower the overall lipid levels in the blood by modifying the way the lipids synthesized in the liver.
Another common cholesterol-lowering ingredient in white mushrooms is Mevinolin, which works to inhibit HMG CoA reductase – an enzyme responsible for making cholesterol in the human body.
Most mushrooms have potent phytonutrients that work to prevent cells from clumping up and sticking to the walls of blood vessels. This keeps plaque from building up, which in turn improves circulation and maintains healthy blood pressure levels.
4. They Have Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Properties
White mushrooms have a powerful antioxidant compound known as Ergothioneine. It is highly effective in lowering inflammation throughout the body and suppressing the effects of the body’s allergic responses.
Other chemical compounds found in mushrooms that also have anti-inflammatory effects in the human body include phenolic compounds, terpenoids, and polysaccharides.
5. They Slow-Down the Aging Process
White mushrooms have high amounts of Ergothioneine and Glutathione – two antioxidants that have powerful anti-aging properties. Mushrooms, in general, are the highest singular dietary source of these two antioxidants.
A 2019 study to investigate the relationship between mushrooms and cognitive impairment among seniors aged 60 and over revealed some interesting results. It found that consuming at least 300 grams of cooked mushrooms every week reduced the likelihood of developing mild cognitive impairment by about 50 percent.
A Side of Mushrooms a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
While there’s nothing wrong with eating mushrooms raw, it is always best to cook them. Cooking mushrooms breaks down their tough cell walls, allowing your body to easily access the nutrients inside so that you reap the full range of white mushroom nutrition benefits. Make mushrooms a part of your daily diet to take advantage of their full range of nutritional and medicinal properties.
Many of the health benefits of the white button mushroom also apply to other types of mushrooms that we write about.
Also, if you don’t love mushrooms, there are extract powders available that will allow you to get the health benefits without the taste. Read our article on mushroom extract powders for more details.
In the meantime, check out our blog to learn about Portobello mushroom nutrition facts that you may find surprising.