World first global review reveals health benefits of humble mushroom

REDUCING INFLAMMATION, improved gut health and a stronger immune system are just some of the benefits that eating mushrooms may provide.

Hort Innovation commissioned Nutrition Research Australia to complete a systematic l literature review to discover the many health benefits that mushrooms provide to humans.

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 their 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 that:

  • 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 (such as 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 contain a unique prebiotic fibre that feeds your gut bacteria.

Nutrition Research Australia CEO, Flavia Fayet-Moore, said, “This world first research program involved screening more than 5000 studies across the globe – a massive task. The sheer volume of information that exists on the humble mushroom is astonishing.”

Hort Innovation Research and Development Manager and Accredited Practising Dietitian Jemma O’Hanlon said, “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.

To read the full report go to https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnutbio.2020.108453

The research project was funded by Hort Innovation, using the Mushroom Fund research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.

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