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Nutrient-Loaded Mushrooms

Who'd have thought that the often-overlooked culinary mushroom offered consumers key nutrients like copper, potassium, folate, and niacin? That's what nutrient analysis of seven varieties of mushrooms-crimini, enoki, maitake, oyster, portabella, shiitake, and white button - has shown. Samples gathered from markets countrywide have been analyzed for their carbohydrate, fat, fiber, protein, vitamin, and mineral contents, along with ergosterol, a precursor to vitamin D.

Four varieties were analyzed raw, but portabella, shiitake, and white button mushrooms were analyzed after cooking-to determine the effect of cooking on their nutrient content. Most nutrients were fully retained, while a few dropped to 80-95 percent.

All mushrooms were found to provide a significant amount of copper, a trace element that helps the body produce red blood cells and drives a variety of chemical reactions that are key to human health. They also provide significant amounts of potassium, which helps maintain normal heart rhythm, fluid balance, and muscle and nerve function.

Sources: USDA-ARS Nutrient Data Laboratory; David B. Haytowitz, USDA-ARS Nutrient Data Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland; phone (301) 504-0714. "Science Update" was published in the March 2007 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

Adapted by Editorial Staff, May 2007
Last update, August 2008


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