Autumn has started with this mushrooming, but is it worth eating mushrooms this article will certainly help you. 

There are different opinions about the value of mushrooms as food. Some do not appreciate mushrooms, others underestimate their nutritional values. It is worth getting acquainted with the results of scientific research, which give the chemical composition of fungi and the content of nutrients of various species. 


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Fungus dishes are treated as hard to digest. However, it should be emphasized that people react to mushroom dishes in a diverse way. Some eat them with a taste in large quantities, without harmful consequences, others have gastric disorders and sometimes people are allergic to fungi that can never eat them. Fungus dishes should be treated as a delicacy rather than food. An exaggeration in the consumption of foods of this type can even result in a total rejection of fungi. I know the case of such a reaction personally. A girl from a poor, large family, was fed more than mushrooms (this was still happening in the period of the CK Monarchy …). She reacted with complete rejection of the fungi. I met her already as an elderly person. She did not tolerate mushroom dishes to such an extent that in her presence we were not even allowed to mention soups, sauces or marinades from wild mushrooms, wild mushrooms, wild mushrooms, etc. 

Some mushrooms are really hard to digest for everyone. Favorites by many cocks usually pass through the digestive system without major changes (friends tell maliciously that cocks are reusable mushrooms). Some species of fungi, such as, for example, roasted shrubs or tinned mollusk, are in principle suitable for drying and pulverizing. In powdered form, they can be used as a seasoning for meat dishes or sauces. Based on chemical tests, it can be concluded that fresh mushrooms contain mainly water. After drying one kilo of pampas, about 0.1 kg of dried mushroom remains. The content of water in mushrooms is indeed similar to that in vegetables. During cooking (frying, etc.) most of the water evaporates, which makes the food substances in the dish more concentrated than in fresh mushrooms. Different species of fungi contain different proportions of water and nutrients. Behind Pilate (Atlas hub, 1970) one can present the content of nutrients in some mushrooms and for comparison in vegetables (carrots) and beef. 

If you compare fresh boletus, beef and carrot, you can say that the water content of the mushroom representative is similar to that in carrot; the least water has beef. The level of protein substances in meat is more than three times higher than in the boletes, but carrots have more than four times less than mushrooms. Real ones have 5 times more sugars than beef but much less than carrots. The cellulose content in mushrooms is lower than in carrots (meat, of course, has no cellulose). The content of mineral salts is similar in all compared substances (fresh) and amounts to about 1%, while the calorific value of fresh boletus is the same as carrots and only four times smaller than beef. Mushrooms therefore have a lot of mineral salts, a significant amount of sugars and relatively little fat. 

In the column marked “protein”, the content of proteins and other substances containing nitrogen (in this group also includes chitin). Due to the fact that chitin is practically indigestible to humans, the nutritional value of mushrooms is not fully explained. Many researchers are skeptical about the nutritional value of mushrooms. Some experiments (eg Reutera) indicate that trypsin (a component of pancreatic juice) breaks down about 1/3 of the protein mass of dried mushrooms. According to Saltet, the mushroom contains 2/3 digestible and 1/3 indigestible proteins. According to Lintzel, the highest protein content is true, mushrooms and puffballs (over 5% of fresh weight) of which digestible proteins account for over 70% and in the case of mushrooms up to 88.5% . A surprisingly high protein content is recorded in puffballs. However, they can only be eaten when they are very young (as far as I know, all puffballs growing with us are edible). As the fruiting body matures, the amount of available protein decreases because at a later stage of development valuable nutrients are transferred to spores, which have extremely strong cell membranes based effectively on digestive enzymes. 

The place of mushrooms in the menu does not only depend on the nutritional value but above all on the taste values. Our taste buds react to fungi just like meat (meat illusion is related to the texture of mushroom mass). Mushrooms also have a number of fragrances that, like all kinds of spices, add flavor to foods. 

Among the vitamins in mushrooms, vitamin A is found in the form of carotene as well as significant amounts of vitamins B1 and B2. Vitamin C and others are found only in trace amounts. Not all mushrooms have similar ‘vitamin profiles’. Chanterelles, for example, have a large amount of vitamin A slightly less vitamin D (anti-acne) and small amounts of vitamin B1. 

Easily digestible fungi should be combined with easily digestible additives (potatoes, head lettuce). Avoid combining fungi with heavy foods such as beans, celery, and cucumbers. Pilat does not recommend connecting mushrooms with alcohol. Alcohol according to him facilitates the decomposition of fats but cuts in the stomach proteins, which become even more resistant to the action of digestive juices. This postulate seems difficult to implement in the conditions of Polish tradition, where marinated mushroom is often associated with alcoholic beverages. 

Finally, one more remark regarding mushroom foods. Information is often found that mushrooms “reheated pose a great threat to health. Both Pilat’s remarks and my own experience show that mushrooms should not be treated exceptionally. Excess food stored at the right temperature in the fridge can be reheated and eaten without harm to your health. It is clear that in summer the mushrooms spoil faster and then special care should be taken, but this also applies to other dishes. 


You can read also: Cordyceps Mushrooms


Mushrooms stimulate immunity

Mushrooms in an athlete’s diet usually do not have a significant nutritional value, and their location is only to emphasize the taste of the food. Research carried out with the participation of fungi, however, indicates that their potential action supporting the immune system may be a turning point in the interest in this type of mushrooms and looking at them at a slightly different angle, and not just as a flavoring. 


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Researchers from the Tufts University who deal with the immune system have published a study in mice in the Journal of Nutrition, in which mushrooms have been shown to activate NK cells. 

They collected cells from the bone marrow of mice, which they treated with mushroom extract and ovalbumin extract. Ovalbumin induces the immune system response. 



The higher the concentration of the mushroom extract, the more immune cells reacted faster. Mushrooms activated NK cells faster, producing more interferon as well as TNF-alpha. In the case of danger, the cells reacted faster to destroy the threat from microorganisms, viruses or to target cancer cells faster. 



Initial research suggests that the use of mushroom extracts effectively triggers the reaction time of our immune system. Cells respond more quickly to the risks associated with cancer cells, microbes and viruses. 


You can read also: Positive influence of shiitake mushrooms on health


REISHI MUSHROOM – properties and effects. Where to buy reishi mushrooms?

Reishi muschrooms, also known as lingzhi, are fungi, the properties of which have been known in Asia for more than 2 thousand years. In Far East medicine, reishi mushrooms are considered a drug for practically all diseases, including cancer. Some of these properties are confirmed by scientific studies. They prove that reishi mushrooms i.a. boost immunity and may support the fight with cancer. Check out the effects that reishi mushrooms can bring.


Reishi mushrooms (lat. Ganoderma lucidum) is a Japanese name of a kind of fungi, belonging to the family of  Ganodermataceae. In the Land of the Rising Sun reishi are also known as mannentake. In China, in turn, they are called lingzhi, which means “Herb of Spiritual Potency”. In Asian countries, for more than 2 thousand years, health properties of reishi mushrooms have been used in natural medicine, but not only. Contemporary China have been considered reishi mushroom as a medicine for a long time. According to the Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China (i.e. the official formal list of drugs authorized for sale in China), lingzhi mushrooms enable to complement Qi (life energy), alleviate cough and asthma symptoms. Moreover, they are recommended for dizziness, insomnia, palpitations and dyspnea. Some people convince that reishi mushrooms also help in hypertension, high cholesterol level, cardiovascular diseases, liver and kidney diseases, respiratory system ailments (apart from asthma also pneumonia), chronic fatigue syndrome, stomach ulcers, viral infections (such as the flu), HIV/AIDS. Moreover, they alleviate pain which appears in shingles. However, most importantly – reishi mushrooms support cancer treatment.

There is some scientific evidence confirming the effectiveness of these fungi, however, they are mainly laboratory studies. Researchers are still studying their composition in order to better understand their health properties.

Reishi mushrooms boost immunity

As it results from the studies, beta-glucan, which appears in reishi mushrooms boosts the immune system by increasing the amount of macrophages and lymphocytes T. Therefore, we may take them in the state of lower immunity of the organism – as the Japanese professor Takashi Mizuno from the Shizuoka University convinces. Dr. Andrew Weil from the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, in turn, adds that they may be an agent for chronic fatigue syndrome.

Specialists from the University of Maryland Medical Center claim that reishi mushrooms strengthen the response of the immune system, which is weakened during chemotherapy. These properties were confirmed by studies on people.

Reishi mushrooms available in pharmacies, herbal shops or health food shops are not drugs, but only dietary supplements. Therefore, their composition and activity are uncertain and they cannot be treated as medicines for various diseases. This type of preparations may only constitute complementation of a daily diet in the ingredients contained in reishi.

Reishi mushrooms may decrease sugar level in blood

In 2009, researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in the magazine „Phytomedicine” convinced that reishi mushrooms may decrease the level of sugar in blood. For a month, the researchers administered to the mice with diabetes 0.03 and 0.3 g/kg body mass of reishi extracts. The extracts decreased the level of glucose in blood of mice during one week, which allows to believe that they inhibit the enzyme used by the liver for the production of glucose.

Other studies on diabetic nephropathy, carried out by the researchers from the Faculty of Pharmacology of the Peking University prove that reishi mushrooms may prevent or stop the progression of diabetic liver complications. After eight weeks of probation in people with diabetes, considerable decrease of markers of oxidative stress in kidneys was noticed as well as the decrease of the level of triglycerides and sugar in blood. The results of the studies were published in 2006 in the magazine “Journal of Asian Natural Products Research”.

Reishi mushrooms – contraindications

Pregnant and breastfeeding women, children.

Reishi mushrooms cannot be administered to children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, as no tests were carried out on the safety of use of these mushrooms in this group of people.

Problems with blood coagulation

Before starting the supplementation, people who have problems with blood coagulation and who take anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs (e.g. aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, warfarin, heparin) should consult a healthcare professional.

Hypertension and hypotension

Reishi mushrooms may interact with drugs for hypertension. They decrease blood pressure, therefore in combination with these drugs, they may excessively lower blood pressure. For this reason, also people with hypotension should not use them.

Before and after surgery

Reishi mushrooms cannot be used for at least 2 weeks before and after surgical procedures due to their properties decreasing blood coagulation.