5 Unexpected Ways Vitamin D Mushrooms Can Elevate Wellness
The mighty mushroom is all the rage these days. With this nutrient-powerhouse popping up in everything from coffee to elixirs, it's important to know if it's just hype, or if this fabulous fungus should be an essential addition to your wellness routine.
Updated March 5, 2019 - 6 Min Read
Are Mushrooms Considered a Fruit or Vegetable?
Mushrooms belong to the fungi kingdom. Though in the food world, mushrooms are classified as vegetables. They are not technically plants. However, vitamin d and mushroom foods are good sources of beneficial nutrients just the same as other vegetables. Mushrooms provide essential micronutrients like vitamin D and B vitamins, but they also offer additional benefits that you may not have realized.
Here are some fun facts about the nutritional value of mushrooms:
- Mushroom color is not a measurement of nutrients. Unlike fruits and vegetables that get their vibrant color from the nutrients within, mushrooms are different. Generally, foods that lack color also lack nutrients, but this isn't the case with mushrooms. Fungi typically don't possess a variety of colors. But don't let the dull white and brown colors fool you, mushrooms are incredibly nutrient-dense.
- Mushrooms have been used in ancient medicine for thousands of years but only recently gaining momentum here in the US as nutrient-powerhouses and adaptogens. Researchers learned to extract vitamin D2 from wild mushrooms along with B vitamins and other health-promoting nutrients.
- Mushroom types vary, but most can be good sources of vitamin D. White Button mushrooms – biologists labeled them with a scientific name Agaricus bisporus. These types of mushrooms grow in the dark; thus, they have a minimal amount of vitamin D when ready for harvest. However, because they are exposed to large amounts of sunlight after harvest, they still can use this ultraviolet light for vitamin D conversion.
Mushrooms as a Source of Vitamin D
While the best form of vitamin D intake is through the sun, it isn't always a viable option. Another way to get vitamin D is through food and dietary supplements. Dietary forms of vitamin D include both animal-based sources (D3) and plant sources (D2). Vitamin D3 can also be produced from plants in the form of lichens but is less common. Vitamin D3 is the form of vitamin D that our body is able to produce itself and that's needed for additional metabolism. However, the plant form vitamin D2 is converted to vitamin D3 for the same impact.
One of the best plant-based sources of vitamin D is mushrooms. For anyone looking to increase their vitamin D levels through diet or supplementation, mushrooms are a great place to start. Vitamin D mushrooms boost human energy and health naturally compared to synthetic vitamin D supplements. Natural forms of mushroom-derived vitamin D are easily accessible in the market when you know what to look for.
During the winter months, sunlight is not a good option to get vitamin D. Hence, more people look for food that has vitamin D nutrients. These foods include oysters, salmon, shrimp and most types of seafood. However, for those seeking plant-based sources, mushrooms have amazing benefits and functions compared to animal sources.
Here are some of the benefits of vitamin D from mushrooms:
- Mushrooms are capable of transforming ultraviolet light into vitamin D.
- Mushrooms are a good alternative to sun exposure.
- The Vitamin D content of mushrooms increases as they are exposed to sunlight.
- Mushrooms do not decrease in vitamin D when cooked.
- Mushrooms continue to synthesize ultraviolet light to vitamin D even after harvest.
Before you go foraging for mushrooms in the forest or scoop some up at the local market, it's important to know the benefits of different types of mushrooms and a few tips for preparation.
Vitamin D Mushroom Types, Benefits, and Recipes
With the so many types of mushrooms and even preparations like vitamin d mushroom powder, people might be confused on what type to buy and what recipe to prepare.
Here are a few of mushroom types you will actually enjoy.
1. White Button Mushrooms
- Easily accessible since they are very common
- Mild taste
- Can be eaten either raw or cooked
- Mushroom soups
- Pizza toppings
2. Portabello Mushrooms
- A great meat substitute
- Very flavorful
- Pasta sauce
- Mushroom flat cap
- Best eaten when grilled or stuffed
3. Porcino Mushrooms
- Smooth texture
- Woodsy flavor
- Wild mushroom noodles
- Best eaten raw or dried
No matter what mushroom you picked as part of your menu, you are always secured that these are vitamin d enhanced mushrooms. In fact, there are 14 types of edible mushrooms you can choose for your dishes.
However, some of them are hard to find and can be quite expensive.
Aside from being a healthy food for our body, mushrooms are also environmental-friendly plants. Why? Here are some of their helpful functions in nature.
Earth-friendly facts about Mushrooms
Paul Stamets, a famous mycologist, discovered and discussed the potential functions of mushrooms in the environment aside from Vitamin D mushrooms benefits. These discoveries are solutions to some serious problems that exist today.
In Paul Stamets popular TED talk, he informatively discusses and explains the functions of mushrooms to the environment.
According to Paul, mushrooms are…
- Capable of fighting insects like mosquitoes
- Capable of absorbing pollution in farms
- Capable of cleaning up and purifying oil spills in any part of the world
- Capable of fighting back against the danger of smallpox and flu viruses
- Capable of making rich environments which includes farms and new forests
- Capable of becoming a sustainable source of fuel
There you have it. Mushrooms are good for you and good for the planet! Even more reason up your intake of fungi.
Including mushrooms into your diet is a good way to increase your vitamin D intake, but supplementation is ideal if you want to achieve optimal levels beyond what you're likely to get from food. The benefits of getting mushrooms through nutritional products have additional health benefits that you won't find in the standard white button mushrooms at your local supermarket.
Five Unexpected Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms
Mushrooms are Powerful Immunity Boosters:
Mushrooms contain natural antibiotics (like penicillin), which inhibit microbial growth and other fungal diseases. These very same polysaccharides, beta-glucans, help regulate the body's immune system
Mushrooms have Anti-Inflammatory Properties:
Reishi mushrooms are high in ergothioneine, which can help to reduce inflammation.
Mushrooms can Increase Athletic Performance:
Although much of the research is still preliminary, Cordyceps has been studied for its benefits in athletic performance. There is promising research to support cordyceps' ability to increase VO2 max, accelerate workout recovery, increase resistance to muscle fatigue, and improve cardiovascular response. But, there's a catch. The key to getting these benefits is consistent, chronic supplementation.
Mushrooms may Improve Longevity and Health-Span:
Porcini mushrooms are particularly high ergothioneine and glutathione, two powerful antioxidants with known anti-aging properties.
Mushrooms can Balance Mood:
Well known for their adaptogenic properties, mushrooms can help regulate hormones and aid the body in adapting to varying levels of stress. This includes stress-induced exercise and everyday stress from work, family, and societal pressures.
There you have it! Now you can see why mushrooms should be considered as an essential part of your health routine and not just a yummy pizza topping.
Fuel Up with Premium Plant-Based Nutrition
Getting started on a whole food plant-based diet is now easier than ever with LYFE FUEL's free nutrition course. The LYFE TRANSFORMATION program was created to help you make healthy and sustainable changes to amplify your health and empower you to live your fullest everyday. The 21-day program distills years of nutritional research and personal experimentation into an easy-to-follow program that will guide you along your journey toward better health & happiness.
Read Next: How to choose the right plant-based diet for your health.
Written by Chris Manderino
Co-Founder of LYFE FUEL in Newport Beach, CA. Chris was an NFL fullback for the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs before embarking on a journey to pursue his passion for health & nutrition. Chris is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and earned a completion certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Course in Plant-Based Nutrition.