There are many minerals found in mushrooms that are essential for a healthy body. The most abundant minerals in mushrooms are potassium, phosphorus, copper and selenium. There are lesser amounts of magnesium, iron and zinc.
Potassium is a natural mineral in mushrooms and plant foods and it plays a major role in maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance. A serve of mushrooms will give you around 10% of your potassium needs. A diet with plenty of potassium appears to both prevent and help correct high blood pressure. This, in turn, helps to prevent strokes.
About a quarter of your copper requirements are found in a serve of mushroom. Copper is very important in the production of red blood cells and it’s also a component of antioxidant enzymes naturally produced by the body, such as superoxide dismutase. It is also involved in energy production, and the making of tendons and neurotransmitters, such as noradrenalin.
A serve of mushrooms will provide 10% of your daily phosphorus needs. The main role of phosphorus is, in combination with calcium, to form the structure of teeth and bones. The other roles of phosphorus include energy metabolism and being a critical part of ATP, the high-energy molecule needed for muscle contraction.
Selenium is one of the body’s antioxidants nutrients helping to prevent free radical formation, and a serve of mushrooms can provide about a quarter of your daily needs. A lack of selenium has been implicated in the cause of both heart disease and some cancers. The mushroom has more selenium than found in vegetables.
A serve of mushrooms (100g or three button mushrooms) is a simple way to boost your mineral intake for very few kilojoules.
Table 3. Minerals per 100g serve
||20% AI men; 28% AI women
||22% RDI men; 26% RDI women
||11% RDI men & women
||8% RDI men; 11% RDI women
- % RDI = Percentage of the Recommended Dietary Intake each day
- % AI = Percentage of the Adequate Intake each day (as an RDI has not been established)
- mg = milligrams; mcg = micrograms
Sources: Nutrient Reference Values for Australia & New Zealand 2006; NUTTAB 2010
The fibre in mushrooms
A serve of mushrooms provides around 1.5g of fibre, which is about 5-6% of the daily fibre needs of an adult. When mushrooms are cooked and lose some water, the level of fibre rises to 2.7g per 100g.
The fibre in mushrooms is mainly insoluble. Mushrooms have chitin and glucans as part of their cell walls (Beelman 2004; Wu 2004). Cellulose is normally the main polysaccharide in plant cells walls, but chitin plays a similar role in the mushroom.
Dietary fibre has many benefits, but the fibre in mushrooms may have different physiological benefits to those found in plant foods. Chitin in particular has been associated with maintaining healthy blood cholesterol levels. Around 15% of the total dietary fibre in mushrooms is resistant starch type 1 (Dikeman 2005), which can act as a prebiotic by resisting digestion to become food for the healthy bacteria residing in the large intestine. These bacteria produce compounds (eg butyric acid) that protect the bowel lining from cancer.