Mushrooms Contain Copper, Potassium, Folate and Niacin

Mushrooms contain several key nutrients, including copper, potassium, folate and niacin, according to recently analyzed nutrient data. Seven varieties of mushrooms, white button mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, portabella mushrooms, crimini mushrooms and maitake mushrooms, were analyzed to create a unique nutrient content profile for each.

The project was coordinated by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) lead nutritionist David Haytowitz, located at the Beltsville (Md.) Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC). Haytowitz is with the BHNRC’s Nutrient Data Laboratory (NDL). The research was funded in part by the Mushroom Council of Dublin, Calif.

Mushrooms contain several key nutrients, including copper, potassium, folate and niacin.

Mushrooms were collected from retail outlets around the country to get a nationally representative sampling. The mushroom varieties were analyzed for fat, fiber, protein, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals, and for ergosterol, a precursor to vitamin D.

While most varieties were analyzed raw, white button mushrooms, which are commonly used in recipes, were also analyzed after stir-frying and microwaving to gauge the levels of nutrients retained after cooking.

Adding to existing data, portabella mushrooms were analyzed after grilling, and shiitake mushrooms were analyzed after stir-frying.

Most nutrients were found to be fully retained when cooked, while others were retained at between 80 and 95 percent of their levels in raw mushrooms.

All of the mushrooms were found to provide a significant amount of copper.

Each cup of stir-fried white button mushrooms provides 0.3 milligram of copper, which is about one-third of the recommended daily intake for adults. Copper helps the body produce red blood cells and drives a variety of chemical reactions that are key to human health.

The mushrooms also provide a significant amount of potassium, a mineral that helps the body maintain normal heart rhythm, fluid balance, and muscle and nerve function.

Two-thirds of a cup of sliced, grilled portabella mushrooms contains the same amount of potassium as a medium-sized banana.

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Rosalie Marion Bliss, Agricultural Research Service. Photo courtesy ARS.

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