I called Husbandpants a mushroom yesterday and he didn’t like it. I don’t know why because I love mushrooms!
I love pretty much all kinds of mushrooms but I usually only keep white button ones or brown button ones on hand. And in the summer, I like to grill portabellas.
But guess what?
These are all actually the same species, with the white ones being the youngest and the portabellas being the most mature. As they age, they get larger, browner, and more flavorful. The brown buttons are sometime called baby-bellas or portabellinis (because they are just pre-mature portabellas) and both the white and brown buttons are also known as crimini.
Okay, now that we got that out of the way…
What food group do mushrooms belong to?
This could be a fun question to consider.
Technically they are a fungus (neither plant nor animal) but probably closer to animals than to plants.
The function they serve is somewhat like that of a fruit because they are used for reproduction.
But the macronutrients they provide (mostly water and fiber) is most like vegetables.
So the conclusion is that nutritionally speaking, they are a vegetable and fall more specifically under the Other Vegetables category.
The amount of vegetables you need to eat depends on age, sex, and level of physical activity but most adults should be eating about 2 to 3 cups per day. Why not include 1/2 cup of mushrooms?
Mushroom nutrition facts
These are the nutrition facts specifically for raw, white button mushrooms, but the other varieties we talked about are similar.
Like most vegetables, mushrooms are naturally low in calories, sodium, sugar, and fat, and are cholesterol-free.
Mushrooms are fantastic sources of several key nutrients and offer an outstanding variety of health-promoting phytonutrients. Mushrooms are an excellent source of selenium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin B2, pantothenic acid, and niacin; a very good source of fvitamin B1, vitamin B6, zinc, and manganese; and a good source of folate and protein.
AND! Mushrooms are the only fruit or vegetable with vitamin D. When exposed to sunlight, mushrooms are able to produce vitamin D.
Plain English Summary: Mushrooms are neither plant nor animal but they sure are packed with nutrition!
Great, but is fungus actually good for your health?
What are the health benefits of mushrooms?
Immune function: Researchers found that mice that eat white button mushrooms may experience an added benefit due to enhancing or boosting immune function when exposed to disease causing irritants.
Heart-health: Research on lab animals with high total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides has shown that daily intake of crimini mushrooms can lower levels of all of these blood fats.
Cancer prevention: Extracts from white and brown button and portabella mushrooms may have properties that are related to attacking breast cancer cells, leading to cancer cell death.
Arthritis: Researchers found that arthritic mice had reduced negative health effects when they consumed white button or portabella mushrooms.