Mushrooms provide a range of antioxidants and other nutrients that may contribute to heart health and protect the body from cancer. Nutritional profiles vary between types of mushrooms.

From puffballs to truffles, mushrooms can range from everyday fare to a costly delicacy. People can buy them fresh, canned, or dried.

This article provides information about the nutritional contents and possible health benefits of eating mushrooms. It also gives some tips on preparing and serving mushrooms.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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Mushrooms contain protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These can have various health benefits.


Antioxidants, like many found in mushrooms, may help prevent numerous types of cancer. These can include prostate, colorectal,l and breast cancer. However, more studies are necessary to confirm this

Some sources have suggested that selenium may help prevent cancer, but a 2017 review found no evidence to confirm this.

Mushrooms also contain a small amount of vitamin D. There is some evidence that vitamin D supplementation may help prevent or treat some kinds of cancer. However, according to a 2018 report, the effect may vary from person to person.

Choline is another antioxidant in mushrooms. Some studies have suggested that consuming choline can reduce the risk of some types of cancer, but at least one other study has indicated that it may increase the risk of lethal prostate cancer.

Learn more about cancer-fighting foods.


Dietary fiber may help manage a number of health conditions, including type 2 diabetes.

A 2018 review of meta-analyses concluded that people who eat a lot of fiber may have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. For those who already have it, fiber may help reduce blood glucose levels.

A cup of sliced raw mushrooms, weighing 70 grams (g), provides 0.7 g of fiber.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025 recommend that adults consume around 20–30 g of dietary fiber each day, depending on sex and age.

Learn about foods to eat and avoid with diabetes.

Heart health

The potassium, vitamin C, and fiber in mushrooms may contribute to cardiovascular health.

Learn about the best foods for heart health.


Potassium can help regulate blood pressure, and this may decrease the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends reducing the intake of added salt in the diet and eating more foods that contain potassium. Mushrooms appear on the AHA’s list of foods that provide potassium.

A person should aim to consume around 2,600 milligrams (mg) of potassium per day for females, and 3,400 mg per day for males. One cup of mushrooms contains around 223 mg of potassium. However, people with certain conditions such as kidney disease may need to consume less potassium. A person’s doctor can advise on how much potassium they should consume each day.

Vitamin C

A 2016 study concluded that people with a vitamin C deficiency were more likely to experience cardiovascular disease and suggested that consuming vitamin C may help prevent this illness.

A person should consume around 75–90 mg of vitamin C per day. One cup of mushrooms contains around 1.47 mg of vitamin C.


There is some evidence that consuming a type of fiber called beta-glucans may lower blood cholesterol levels. Beta-glucans occur in the cell walls of many types of mushrooms.

The stem of shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) is a good source of beta-glucans.

In pregnancy

Many people take folic acid, or folate, supplements during pregnancy to boost fetal health, but mushrooms can also provide folate.

A cup of sliced raw mushrooms contains 11.9 micrograms (mcg) of folate. Current guidelines recommend that adults consume 400 mcg of folate each day. Pregnant people should aim for around 600 mcg.

Learn about foods to eat and avoid during pregnancy.

Other benefits

Mushrooms are rich in B vitamins, such as:

  • riboflavin, or B-2
  • folate, or B-9
  • thiamine, or B-1
  • pantothenic acid, or B-5
  • niacin, or B-3

B vitamins help the body get energy from food and form red blood cells. A number of B vitamins also appear to be important for a healthy brain.

The choline in mushrooms can help with muscle movement, learning, and memory. Choline assists in maintaining the structure of cellular membranes and plays a role in the transmission of nerve impulses.

Mushrooms are also the only vegan, nonfortified dietary source of vitamin D.

Several other minerals that may be difficult to obtain from a vegan diet are available in mushrooms. These include:

Many types of mushrooms are edible, and most provide about the same quantities of the same nutrients per serving, regardless of their shape or size.

The table below shows how much of each nutrient a 70 g cup of sliced raw white mushrooms provides. It also shows how much of each nutrient adults should consume every day, depending on their sex and age.

Per servingDaily goals
Energy (calories)15.4 g1,600–2,400 kcal
Protein (g)2.16 g46–56 g
Carbohydrate (g)2.28 g130 g
Calcium (mg)2.1 mg1,000–1,300 mg
Iron (mg)0.35 mg8–18 mg
Magnesium (mg)6.3 mg310–420 mg
Phosphorus (mg)60.2 mg700–1,250 mg
Potassium (mg)223 mg2,300–3,400 mg
Sodium (mg)3.5 mg2,300 mg
Zinc (mg)0.364 mg8–11 mg
Vitamin C (mg)1.47 mg65–90 mg
Vitamin D (international units)4.9 IU600 IU
Folate (mcg of of dietary folate equivalents)11.9 mcg DFE400 mcg DFE
Choline (mg)12.1 mg425–550 mg
Niacin (mg)2.53 mg14–16 mg

It is important to note that daily goals can vary for each individual, particularly for calories, protein, and carbohydrates. It is best to contact a doctor for advice on daily targets based on individual circumstances.

Mushrooms also contain a number of B vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, B6, and B12.

A person’s doctor can tell them more about their nutritional goals based on their individual circumstances.

When buying fresh mushrooms, choose ones that are firm, dry, and unbruised. Avoid mushrooms that appear slimy or withered.

Store mushrooms in the refrigerator. A person should not wash or trim them until it is time to cook with them.

The Environmental Working Group, which assesses foods for their pesticide contents, placed mushrooms that grow in the U.S. in its 2023 list of the 15 cleanest foods, referring to relatively low traces of pesticides.

However, people should still wash and clean them carefully before using them to remove any soil and grit. If necessary, trim the ends of the stalks. You can use mushrooms whole, sliced, or diced.

To incorporate more mushrooms into the diet, try:

  • sauteing any type of mushroom with onions for a quick, tasty side dish
  • adding mushrooms to stir-fries
  • topping a salad with raw, sliced cremini or white mushrooms
  • stuffing and baking portobello mushrooms
  • adding sliced mushrooms to omelets, breakfast scrambles, pizzas, and quiches
  • sauteing shiitake mushrooms in olive oil or broth for a healthful side dish
  • removing the stems of portobello mushrooms, marinating the caps in a mixture of olive oil, onion, garlic, and vinegar for 1 hour, then grilling them for 10 minutes
  • adding grilled portobello mushrooms to sandwiches or wraps

To prepare dried mushrooms, leave them in water for several hours until they are soft.

Some people pick wild mushrooms, but it is essential to know which are edible, as some contain deadly toxins.

Wild mushrooms can make a tasty dish, but the toxins in some mushrooms can trigger fatal health issues. Some wild mushrooms also contain high levels of heavy metals and other harmful chemicals.

To avoid these dangers, only consume mushrooms from a reliable source.

There are more than 2,000 edible varieties of mushrooms. Some common edible mushrooms include.

They include:

  • white, or “button”
  • brown cremini
  • portobello
  • shiitake
  • oyster
  • wood ear
  • enoki

Seasonal varieties available at farmer’s markets and some grocery stores include morel and chanterelle mushrooms.

Below are some commonly asked questions about mushrooms.

What do mushrooms do for a person’s body?

Mushrooms contain various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which may help to prevent several health conditions, such as cancer and diabetes, when consumed as part of a nutritionally balanced diet. They can also help boost cardiovascular health.

Are mushrooms good or bad for a person?

On the whole, mushrooms are extremely nutritious and good for a person’s health. They contain various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

However, some species of mushrooms are toxic to humans. The Amanita mushroom species is responsible for most mushroom toxicity cases in humans. This usually occurs when people are foraging for wild mushrooms and cannot identify safe mushrooms for consumption.

Which mushroom is most edible?

Hen of the woods mushrooms, or maitake mushrooms, are edible, extremely nutritious, and can be enjoyed in many recipes. This is also true for oyster mushrooms and chicken of the woods mushrooms.

Are mushrooms good for a person’s brain?

Lion’s mane mushrooms are a well-established candidate for brain health.

Studies have found that lion’s mane mushrooms contain two compounds that can stimulate the growth of brain cells: hericenones and erinacines. More recently, 2023 research found that lion’s mane mushrooms improved brain cell growth and memory in pre-clinical trials.

Mushrooms can be a healthful addition to a varied diet. They are easy to prepare and provide a range of nutrients.

Mushrooms may help protect against conditions such as diabetes and cancer. They can also benefit heart health, and provide a good source of folate during pregnancy.

People should only eat mushrooms from a reliable source, as some types are toxic.