Raw or cooked mushrooms: which are healthier?

Raw or cooked mushrooms: which are healthier?


A mushroom is not a vegetable but rather a food in itself, with its own family of belonging, the kingdom of mushrooms, which has well over 38,000 varieties all over the world. Mushrooms grow all year round and do not need sunlight to grow and develop. In the kitchen they are particularly appreciated and represent a versatile food choice in every season, both raw and cooked. It is also an easily available food: the mushrooms are available both fresh , collected by expert connoisseurs able to avoid toxic and harmful varieties, and dried, preserved in oil and frozen. Whether you choose to eat them raw or cooked, mushrooms offer many nutritional benefits. The kingdom of mushrooms is essentially divided into: Myxomycota  or mucilaginous mushrooms: molds and similar; Eumycota : actual mushrooms with dimensions ranging from a single cell to those of a very common ” champignon “.

Nutritional properties of mushrooms

Mushrooms are particularly rich in nutrients and are a panacea for bone health and the immune system , above all. They do not contain fat and are low-calorie foods (100 grams of mushrooms contain, depending on the variety, from 20 to 26 kcal ), therefore they are also indicated in a diet for people following a slimming diet or for those who have to follow a low-fat diet. fat. They are an excellent source of minerals , especially: phosphorus , potassium ,  selenium  and magnesium . The mushrooms alsothey are rich in lysine  and  tryptophan , B vitamins and powerful antioxidants.

Mushrooms are considered allied foods of the cardiovascular system (they contain little fat that would be deposited in the arteries ), and are precious for the immune system In this regard, nutrition specialists recommend taking them especially during the change of season between summer and autumn, when they also abound in nature and are also easily available because they grow spontaneously, to support the defenses and the body to better defend itself from pathogen attacks.

Mushrooms are among the foods richest in selenium .


Mushrooms: the most common varieties in the kitchen

As we have explained in the previous paragraphs, there are thousands of species of  different mushrooms in nature, clearly not all of them are edible. On our tables, for the preparation of the most diverse dishes, some varieties in particular arrive: in fact, porcini mushrooms , champignons , cardoncelli, chanterelles and nails abound , each with its own characteristics, flavor and ideal combination. As well as the seasonality and the presence, more or less generous, depending on the area (Regions, Provinces) in which it is located. Among the most used mushrooms we find, for example, the delicious and fragrant porcini mushrooms, which can be harvested between the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, in oak and chestnut woods . They are often added in the preparation of risottos, fresh pasta, lasagna, but also as a side dish to meat or cheese . They are also appreciated fried, stuffed or raw in addition to excellent salads . Cardoncelli mushrooms are also very delicious (particularly widespread in Puglia, Calabria and Basilicata); their large and fleshy cap is excellent grilled . Among the cultivated and inexpensive mushrooms, unlike the two previous varieties, we find the champignons (or champignons)easily available all year round at the supermarket, fresh or frozen , they are ideal for the preparation of many recipes.

Cooked or raw?

How is it better to consume mushrooms in order not to lose the precious nutrients useful for the well-being of the organism? Raw or cooked? While one might easily think that cooking strips most of the vitamins and minerals out of food, that’s not always the case. According to nutrition specialists, boiled mushrooms are able to provide more antioxidants , including carotenoids and ferulic acid, than mushrooms when eaten raw. Additionally, boiling is the ideal method for cooking vegetables and retaining their antioxidants. Boiling mushrooms can help increase their antioxidant propertieshowever, it can also strip away some of their vitamin C content . This is because vitamin C is unstable and rapidly destroyed when exposed to the heat of boiling water. In a study conducted by the “British Journal of Nutrition”, a group of people who followed a raw diet , i.e. a raw food diet , had normal levels of vitamin A and high levels of carotene . However, they showed low levels of lycopene , a powerful antioxidant. Comparing raw and boiled mushrooms is a very complicated. The ways in which plant molecules interact with the body are yet to be validated by modern science.


Regardless of whether you eat mushrooms raw or boiled, it’s important to follow storage guidelines. When shopping for mushrooms, look for mushrooms that are firm and moisture-free . Avoid mushrooms that have dirty caps or visible mold . When you get home, immediately place the mushrooms in a paper bag in the refrigerator. Airtight bags and plastic retain moisture and promote spoilage. When stored properly, the mushrooms will last up to five days.



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