Friday, May 27, 2011

The Benefits of the White Button Mushroom

by Kris Pitcher

I have always been a mushroom fan! Stay with me here. I know you either love them, or hate them. The Greeks believed the mushroom provided strength for warriors in battle. And, if that isn't enough to get you to eat at least's a little more information about the great button.

At just 100 calories per ounce the thermodynamic effect of the mushroom is a negative. Meaning, you burn more calories eating and digesting one, than there are in one. You gotta love that! They are 80-90% water, and 8-10% of their dry weight is fiber. The mushroom is very high in potassium, riboflavin, niacin and selenium.

Selenium works with vitamin E to protect our cells from free radicals, it's an antioxidant. Mushrooms will help you stay young. One of the great things about mushrooms is they have a wonderful flavor on their own (they do if you'd just try one), or they take on the flavor of what you are cooking. This makes them very versatile in the kitchen. There's more, the health benefits of mushrooms are real.

The button mushroom has a substance that inhibits the activity of aromatase (an enzyme involved in estrogen production), and 5-alpha-reductase (an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT). Because of this, the latest findings show white button mushrooms can reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer.

The Chinese treasure the mushroom as a health food. The Romans regarded the mushroom as a gift from God. And we...well, we pick them off everything and roll them up on a napkin hoping no one will notice. Really? It's time to get the benefits of the white button mushroom!


  1. I hated mushrooms as a kid--thought they were slimy and tasted like dirt. Then I was introduced to the incredible amazingness of the portabello mushroom (the meat of the vegetarian world). Now I love mushrooms of all kinds, so it's never too late to give them a try even if you think you don't like them.

    Do all mushrooms have pretty much the same nutritional benefits, or are some higher in one element or another?

  2. The big difference in nutrients is going to come from the soil they've been grown in. A commercially grown mushroom will likely have a very similar profile, and wild mushrooms may take on different mineral profiles based on the soil they come from. The links in cancer fighting chemicals have been done with the white button mushroom. I'm not sure if that extends to others.