Nutrition Research Australia has completed a systematic literature review, commissioned by Hort Innovation, aimed at discovering health benefits associated with mushroom consumption.
Funded through Hort Innovation’s mushroom fund research and development levy, as well as contributions from the Australian government, the world first review on the ‘Agaricus bisporus’ mushroom - which is the most commonly consumed mushroom and includes button, portobello, cup, flat and swiss brown varieties - investigated key bioactive components and health effects on humans.
The review showed health benefits to include increased Vitamin D levels, reduced inflammation, increased fullness and reduced hunger, improved gut health, lowered risk of ovarian cancer and may help to manage prostate cancer, improved cardiometabolic markers, and beneficial effects on immune function.
It also found swapping the same volume of beef for mushrooms in a meal can help to lower calorie intake, with no difference to appetite.
UV-exposed mushrooms (mushrooms put in sunlight) can be as effective for increasing Vitamin D levels as a Vitamin D supplement.
Mushrooms cooked in extra virgin olive oil may help to improve markers of heart health. Mushrooms also contain a unique prebiotic fibre that feeds your gut bacteria.
Nutrition Research Australia chief executive, Flavia Fayet-Moore, said the world first research programme involved screening more than 5,000 studies across the globe.
“[It was] a massive task. The sheer volume of information that exists on the humble mushroom is astonishing,” said Fayet-Moore.
“This research really helped highlight the uniqueness of the mushroom. We think of them as vegetables, but they are actually their own kingdom. It was amazing to discover how they have bioactives that are generally found in whole grains, animal foods, and even nuts.”
Hort Innovation research and development manager and accredited practising dietitian, Jemma O’Hanlon, added; “This is the first time a global systematic review on the health benefits of the world’s most popular mushroom has occurred. We know that mushrooms are good for us, and this strong research qualifies exactly what benefits they bring to humans.”