Where do you get your protein? This is usually the first question people have for a vegetarian or vegan. The idea that protein can only be obtained from meat is a common misconception, and despite having a high protein content, plant-based proteins are often overshadowed.
Mushrooms are versatile vegetables that are technically fungi. They add more texture and taste to a meal and can also be a perfect addition to a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle. But the most critical question is, do mushrooms have protein?
According to the United States department of agriculture (USDA)(1), mushroom protein content in 100 grams of raw mushroom is 3.09 grams, which meets 6% of the daily required amount.
Not only do mushrooms contain protein, but they are also packed with fibers, minerals, and vitamins essential for health. However, the protein content varies between mushroom types.
A few varieties of mushrooms contain more protein than others. These include oyster mushrooms, white button mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, and morel mushrooms. In addition, medicinal mushrooms like Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake, Lion's mane, and Turkey tail also provide a good amount.
So, if you were asking do mushrooms have protein, you have come to the right place. Look through the list below to discover which mushrooms have the most protein, whether you're looking for one to add flavor to a meal or one to snack on!
Is There Protein In Mushrooms?
Mushrooms are edible fungi that can provide several essential nutrients and have several health advantages. They are a decent protein source, very low in sodium, virtually fat- and cholesterol-free, and low in calories.
Given that most mushrooms contain only 5 and 7% of the daily recommended value for protein, mushrooms are not necessarily thought of as a high-protein food. However, making healthy protein choices is less about the proteins themselves and more about the fats that go with them and the preparation techniques.
Opting for a plant-based protein, like mushrooms, has several benefits. The popularity of diets heavy on plants has been rising, which might be a good thing. A vegetarian diet has been demonstrated to lower a person's risk of developing chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. This population typically has lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol).
The health benefits are also likely due to higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, soy products, antioxidants, and fibers, and lower intakes of cholesterol and saturated fat.
Although not vegetables, mushrooms are frequently categorized as plant-based proteins to distinguish them from other dietary sources. They also contain several amino acids, the essential organic molecules which make up proteins.
Mushrooms perform well in terms of protein concentration when compared to typical vegetables. And similar to meat, mushroom protein is filling and nourishing.
Here is the protein content of some of the common medicinal mushrooms, calculated per 100 grams:
According to a study, the fruiting bodies of Cordyceps(4) contain 59.8% of proteins, whereas the mycelial biomass contains 39.5%. Reishi mushroom(5) proteins contain all the essential amino acids and are particularly rich in leucine and lysine.
Similarly, the protein content per 100 grams of other popular mushrooms is:
- Oyster: 3.31 g
- Morel: 3.18 g
- Cremini:2.5 g
- Enoki:2 g
One hundred grams of white button mushrooms contains 6% of the daily required value of proteins. Likewise, portobello contains 5%, and chanterelle 3% of the daily required amount.
People who ate protein from mushrooms for breakfast reported feeling fuller and less hungry than people who ate chicken in the morning, according to a study(6) comparing protein-equal portions of meat and mushrooms. Due to these factors, anyone following a weight-loss, weight-gain, Keto, or vegan diet will find that substituting mushroom protein is incredibly beneficial.
Let's now look at the nutritional value of some popular edible mushrooms.
Mushroom Nutritional Value
Edible fungi are a powerhouse of nutrients. Some of the major constituents of mushrooms that give them nutritional value are:
Mushrooms are a rich, low-calorie source of fiber. The two kinds of dietary fiber in mushrooms are chitin and beta-glucans. They both reduce hunger pangs and increase satiety.
Additionally, beta-glucans(7) present in many medicinal mushrooms' fungal cell walls effectively elicits a host immune response to protect against parasitic, bacterial, viral, or fungal infections.
Furthermore, it is referred to as a biological response modifier because it primarily affects the host immune system to activate its disease-protective actions. This activation sets off immune cell responses that inhibit tumor growth and spread(8).
In countless clinical trials, mushroom beta-glucans have shown significant antimicrobial, anti-diabetic, and blood sugar-lowering properties.
Vitamins And Minerals
The B vitamins niacin and riboflavin, which are crucial for vegetarians and vegans, are found in mushrooms. Additionally, most mushrooms are a good source of potassium and selenium.
Surprisingly, mushrooms also contain vitamin D, and when exposed to light, they can produce more of it, just like our skin does when it is exposed to sunlight. Other vegetables cannot accomplish that!
Lion's mane is a good source of vitamins like riboflavin, thiamine, and niacin. Additionally, it is an excellent source of essential minerals like zinc, manganese, and potassium.
Reishi mushrooms have more than 400 nutrients, including(9) potassium, zinc, calcium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, copper, and sulfur. In addition, a wide range of other bioactive substances, including terpenoids, steroids, phenols, nucleotides, and their derivatives, glycoproteins, and polysaccharides, are also present in Reishi.
Turkey Tail mushrooms contain vitamins B3 and D, which can help boost the immune system and provide prebiotics that can help increase digestion. In addition, Chaga is packed with B-complex vitamins, vitamin D, copper, potassium, iron, selenium, and zinc.
Maitake mushrooms contain several vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, zinc, potassium, folate, choline, and magnesium like other medicinal mushrooms.
Studies show that mushrooms also have high antioxidant activity. This protects the body from cell damage that can increase the risk of many chronic diseases, like cancer.
Turkey tail mushrooms contain antioxidants such as phenols and flavonoids known to have anti-inflammatory effects. For example, in one study(10), the flavonoid antioxidants quercetin and baicalein were found in a sample of turkey tail mushroom extract along with over 35 different phenolic compounds.
Chaga(11) is one of the most antioxidant-rich foods available in the world. It has an ORAC score (which determines the antioxidant content of particular food) three times higher than the most well-known antioxidant acai berries. Similarly, Reishi is rich in triterpenes which confers its antioxidant effect.
Are Mushrooms A Good Source Of Protein?
Mushrooms are one of the several vegetarian and vegan-friendly sources of protein. Therefore, they can be considered a good source of protein when combined with other protein-rich foods.
Which Mushrooms Are High In Protein?
Oyster mushrooms are the most protein-dense by weight, whereas white mushrooms have the most proteins on a per-calorie basis.
Is Mushroom A Fat Or Protein?
Mushrooms contain some protein, depending on the type. However, they are practically fat-free.
Can You Replace Meat With Mushrooms?
Mushrooms are one of the best meat substitutes for vegetarians as they are chewy in texture, flavorful and crispy. However, nutritionally they are not a good substitute as the protein amount and quality is higher in meat.
Do mushrooms have protein? Yes, they do! And a host of other vitamins, minerals, fibers, and antioxidants too. Oyster mushrooms, white mushrooms, and medicinal fungi like Reishi, Lion’s mane, Shiitake, Maitake, Cordyceps, and Turkey tail are some of the mushrooms with proteins. Combining these mushrooms with other plant-based proteins will help you get the necessary nutrients.
- Mushrooms, raw, (1)https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1103362/nutrients
- Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits of Ganoderma lucidum “Lingzhi, Reishi, or Mannentake” as Functional Foods: Current Scenario and Future Perspectives, (2)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8998036/
- Turkey tail, Nutrition Facts, (3)https://www.nutritionvalue.org/Turkey%2C_tail_24205000_nutritional_value.html?size=100+g
- Cordycepin for Health and Wellbeing: A Potent Bioactive Metabolite of an Entomopathogenic Medicinal Fungus Cordyceps with Its Nutraceutical and Therapeutic Potential, (4)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7356751/
- Chapter 9, Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi), (5)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92757/
- Impact of Agaricus bisporus mushroom consumption on satiety and food intake, (6)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28647383/
- Fungal beta-glucans and mammalian immunity, (7)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14499107/
- The Effect of Mushroom Beta-Glucans from Solid Culture of Ganoderma lucidum on Inhibition of the Primary Tumor Metastasis, (8)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3995106/
- Nutritional profile and mineral composition of two edible mushroom varieties consumed and cultivated in Bangladesh, (9)https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325527935
- The lignicolous fungus Trametes versicolor (L.) Lloyd (1920): a promising natural source of antiradical and AChE inhibitory agents, (10)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6010034/
- Comparison of antioxidant activity and extraction techniques for commercially and laboratory prepared extracts from six mushroom species, (11)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666154321000326