Are Mushrooms Bad For You? Some Are, But Most Are Beneficial 

Are Mushrooms Bad For You? Some Are, But Most Are Beneficial 

Asking, “Are mushrooms bad for you?” leads to an array of considerations. However, mushrooms are primarily beneficial to humans for a variety of reasons

Are mushrooms bad for you? It’s a hard generalized question to answer easily and simply. For instance, there are some poisonous mushrooms that exist in the world that are deadly to human consumption, and a bunch of other poisonous mushrooms that are not fatal when eaten but they might make you feel like death. The destroying angel (Amanita bisporigera) or the death cap (Amanita phalloides) can be fatal when ingested. However, the vast majority of mushrooms are not poisonous, and there are many among these that are edible and delicious. I will discuss this further down below. 

Are mushrooms bad for you? No, for the most part, and many people are catching on to this realization

I don’t know about you, but I have witnessed a lot of mycophobia in my life. There is a pervasive fear of mushrooms that I have seen throughout my life, especially as a child. My parents would tell me to not touch mushrooms I found growing on the ground, regardless of what they were. There was an inherent fear that simply touching any mushroom could lead to death. It is a bit extreme, but that often comes in life on subjects that are misunderstood. And since there are some mushrooms that can kill people when ingested, it is easier to understand why that fear exists to the common public. Hopefully we can begin to dispel some of this misinformation.  One of the ways this belief can change is by sharing the truth to more people. It seems to help when other media outlets and professionals bring this information out to the masses. Let’s take a look at some of these resources now to further enhance the notion that most mushrooms are not only safe, there are many mushrooms that are beneficial to humans and the planet. 

CNN reports that mushrooms have nutritional benefit

It’s always nice to see the mainstream media getting in on the truth of mushrooms. It helps more people to trust in the information.  According to CNN, “ Laboratory reports and animal studies show that compounds in mushrooms may do everything from bolster immune function to suppress breast and prostate cancers to decrease tumor size. And now, Penn State researchers find that mushrooms, from the humble button to the giant portobello, harbor large amounts of an antioxidant called L-ergothioneine. The scientific buzz is that fungi, for the moment, are the only foods that contain this compound.” The article continues by reporting on the amount of potassium found in mushrooms:
“Clare Hasler, Ph.D., a well-known expert in functional foods and executive director of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at the University of California, Davis, points out that mushrooms offer a healthy helping of the blood pressure-- lowering mineral potassium. "Most people might be surprised to learn that while orange juice is touted as one of the highest potassium foods, one medium portobello mushroom actually has more potassium," she says. "And five white button mushrooms have more potassium than an orange.””
The website Healthy Eating also discusses some of the benefits behind eating mushrooms. “Shiitake mushrooms are particularly high in high-quality protein -- they contain all eight essential amino acids, making them a complete protein. Shiitakes also contain eritadenine, an active compound that reduces high cholesterol levels by as much as 45 percent. Reishi mushrooms are known to boost immune system response and contain significantly more antioxidant compounds than most other mushrooms.” Having all eight essential amino acids is pretty rare, especially for a food source that is not derived from an animal. This is great information that can be of value, especially to those who are vegetarians, vegans, or diet-minded individuals who are interested in consuming less meat. 

Are mushrooms bad for you? Understanding food poisoning

When I talk about eating mushrooms, I’m specifically talking about eating gourmet, edible mushrooms that are properly prepared. This means not eating random mushrooms you find without knowing what they are. It also means that the quality of the mushroom needs to be considered because mushrooms can go bad easily. The shelf life of fresh mushrooms is typically 7-10 days if kept in a refrigerated area. Mushrooms can develop bacteria if they are not stored properly, if they are improperly cleaned, or if they are allowed to go bad before consuming.  As long as you pay attention to the quality of the mushroom, you should be fine. Make sure to keep them in cool, dry places like a refrigerator and the likelihood of contamination is much less. You can also freeze, dry, or pickle mushrooms if desired. Doing so will help extend the usability of these delicious morsels.

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