Can mushrooms be eaten raw? is a frequently asked question.This is a particularly interesting subject for folks who are trying to stick to a raw food diet.
A raw food diet has numerous advantages, While there are advantages to a raw food diet, not all vegetables are made equal. Cooking some foods makes them taste better and/or make them healthier.
This is due to the fact that some vegetables include defensive chemicals that are boosted when cooked rather than eaten raw. This is particularly true in the case of carotenoids.
While this may be true for some veggies, you could argue that mushrooms do not fit into this category because they are not plants in the first place. As a result, they are exempt from the same rules. And you’d be correct. However, the solution is a little more nuanced.
This article delves into the pros and cons of cooking mushrooms versus eating them raw.
Is it Safe to Eat Raw Mushrooms?
Cooking mushrooms depletes their vitamin and mineral content, which is a major worry among people who prefer to eat raw mushrooms. To some extent, this is correct.
Cooking mushrooms causes them to lose water and shrink. As a result, they are less nutrient-dense in that sense, as a percentage of the water-soluble nutrients, such as vitamins, are lost during the cooking process.
However, a single cup of cooked mushrooms can house twice as many mushrooms as a cup of raw mushrooms. So, if you sauté mushrooms instead of eating them raw, you’re more likely to eat more mushrooms in one sitting.
For this comparison, we’ll use six large white mushrooms to gain an accurate assessment of the nutritional makeup of raw versus cooked mushrooms.
1. The amount of protein, calories, fibre, sugar, and fat in a meal
Raw mushrooms have a protein content of around 3.3 grammes. They lose a large percentage of their nutritional value when cooked, leaving only 1.5 grammes of protein.
When raw, the same amount of mushrooms has 24 calories, which drops to 20 calories after cooking. In contrast, the fibre content increases from 1.1 grammes in raw form to 1.6 grammes when cooked.
After heating, the sugar content of raw mushrooms drops from 2.1 grammes to 1.7 grammes. In both cases, the fat content remains the same at 0.35 grammes.
2. Mushroom B-Vitamin Content
Cooking depletes their B-vitamins to a large extent. Six big white mushrooms, raw, provide:
#1 09 mg of thiamine, or 10% of the daily value
#2 4 mg of riboflavin, or 40% of the daily value
#3 12 mg of vitamin B6, or 6% of the daily value
#4 18 g of folate, or 8% of the daily value
#5 9 mg of niacin, or 28% of the daily value
When cooked, the amount of riboflavin, vitamin B6, and folate is reduced by more than half, while the amount of thiamine is reduced by a third. Niacin, on the other hand, does not lose as much of its percent DV (daily value) as the other B vitamins. Cooked mushrooms contain 23 percent of the daily value.
3.Vitamins C and D are also important
You might be surprised to learn that the vitamin C content of mushrooms rises when cooked as opposed to raw. When six white mushrooms are eaten raw, they provide 2.3 mg of vitamin C, however when cooked, they contain 2.9 mg.
The amount of Vitamin D in a cup of cooked mushrooms, on the other hand, decreases by half, from 0.2 mg in raw mushrooms to less than 0.1 mg in cooked mushrooms.
4. Mineral Composition
The mineral content of mushrooms varies depending on how they are cooked. On the one hand, cooking them reduces the amount of sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium in them, albeit the differences are minor.
Cooking, on the other hand, has a significantly less impact on the amount of iron, zinc, and calcium in the body. When cooked, such levels are nearly identical to when raw.
Compounds Carcinogenic in Raw Mushrooms
In their raw state, some edible fungi, such as the common white button mushroom, contain traces of some carcinogenic chemicals.
Shiitake mushrooms, for example, contain tiny quantities of formaldehyde, which is harmful to humans when consumed. Hydrazine, a very poisonous and likely carcinogenic chemical, is found in portobello mushrooms.
Agaritine, a kind of phenylhydrazine found in both farmed and wild Agaricus mushrooms, is one of the most prevalent naturally occuring hydrazine in mushrooms. This group includes portobello, white button, and crimini mushrooms.
According to studies, these chemicals have the ability to damage DNA by inducing chromosomal breaks and mutations, which can lead to cancer.
The good news is that heat breaks down these carcinogenic poisons, which is why it’s always best to prepare these mushrooms before eating them.
Agaritine is also broken down by drying or refrigerating mushrooms, according to research. As a result, when compared to freshly selected mushrooms, pre-packaged raw or dried mushrooms at your local grocery shop or salad bar may only have a fraction of the toxicity.
Regardless, according to the findings of a 2009 study published in the International Journal of Cancer, include mushrooms in your regular diet lowers your risk of some types of cancer by a whopping 60%.
It just goes to demonstrate that cooking mushrooms before eating them increases your chances of reaping the antioxidant and cancer-fighting effects.
Mushrooms of Other Kinds
There are various additional species of mushrooms that are safe to consume when cooked, but if eaten raw, they can cause stomach trouble. This includes morel mushrooms in particular.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
What’s the bottom line, then?
Is it safe to eat raw mushrooms? You can, after all, do whatever you want. It’s a free country, after all. However, there are some potential negatives based on the information presented in this article.
Although you can certainly consume some raw mushroom slices in your salad, statistics show that you should eat the majority of your mushrooms cooked.
When mushrooms are cooked, some of the nutritional value of certain nutrients declines, while others increase in concentration. Not to mention that heating kills the toxic and possibly carcinogenic poisons found in some mushroom types.
Cooked mushrooms are also more likely to be consumed in a single sitting than raw mushrooms. So, either way, you get more nutrients. It’s a win-win situation.