Healthy Friday: Not only are mushrooms delicious, they are a “functional food”

As well as providing basic nutrition, mushrooms help prevent chronic disease due to the presence of antioxidants and dietary fibres such as beta-glucans and chitin which classifies them as a functional food.

Although mushrooms are thought of as vegetables they are not technically plants and belong to the fungi kingdom.


Selenium has antioxidant properties and may help protect cells from damage. It is a mineral that is not present in most fruits and vegetables but can be found in mushrooms. Selenium has also been found to improve immune response to infection by stimulating the production of T-cells.

It may help prevent cardiovascular disease, thyroid problems, cognitive decline, cancer, and more.

Vitamin D

Placing freshly cut mushrooms in the sun significantly increases their vitamin D content. Vitamin D helps build and maintain strong bones by helping the body absorb calcium.


Studies have shown that people with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fibre diets have lower blood glucose levels and people with type 2 diabetes may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels.



Heart health

The fibre, potassium and vitamin C content in mushrooms all contribute to cardiovascular health. Consuming mushrooms, which are high in potassium and low in sodium, helps to lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.

Weight control

Dietary fibre plays an important role in managing weight by acting as a bulking agent in the digestive tract. Mushrooms contain two types of dietary fibre in their cell walls, beta-glucans and chitin. Consuming these fibres results in feeling fuller and reduced appetite.

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