Top Mushroom Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 10/03/22 •  12 min read

What are mushroom benefits and side effects every ethical consumer must know? Here are mushroom pros and cons and how buying them will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers. 

mushroom benefits and side effects

Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on mushroom benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about mushroom benefits and side effects such as mushroom health benefits and/or risks, mushroom water footprint and/or mushroom carbon footprint, mushroom sustainability, if mushrooms are vegan, and more. 

After learning if mushroom are good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be prepared to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about mushroom benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Must-Know Mushroom Benefits And Side Effects

Health

Mushroom health benefits may include:

Mushroom health side effects:

Additionally, mushrooms are…

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Environment

Water footprint: low, it takes 322 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of mushrooms / 39 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of mushrooms

Carbon footprint: low, 0.00 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of mushrooms, a car driving equivalent of 0 miles or 0 kilometers

Destruction: low, mushroom production is relatively sustainable, there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc.

Mushrooms are…

Animals

Kills: none, mushroom production does not require any animals to be killed

Harms: none, mushroom production does not require any animals to be used

Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from mushroom production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Mushrooms are…

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Laborers

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Mushrooms…

Where do mushrooms come from?

China is the world’s leading producer of mushrooms followed by Italy, the United States and the Netherlands.

Are mushrooms good for you? Healthy? Nutritious?

Yes! Mushrooms are a good source of B-vitamins (riboflavin (B2), folate (B9), pantothenic acid (B5), and niacin (B3)), iron, fiber, protein, copper, selenium, potassium, phosphorus, Vitamin D and Vitamin B-12.

Mushrooms and vitamin D

Did you know it’s possible to get a full day’s worth of Vitamin D from mushrooms? Simply expose mushrooms to sunlight for 15 minutes before eating them!

How to prepare mushrooms?

If mushrooms are heavily covered in dirt, brush off or lightly wash. Some remaining soil on the mushrooms contains nutrients and is beneficial to health and tasteless when cooked.
Chop or dice mushrooms. Heat cooking oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally until soft and dark. Cover pan with a lid to cook faster and more thoroughly. Remove lid to release moisture. Season with salt, pepper, garlic and other desired spices and herbs.

mushrooms are alkaline when fresh. mushroom benefits include fitting into an alkaline diet.

acidic foods and alkaline diet benefits that improve ph levels

Are mushrooms alkaline or acidic?

Mushrooms are alkaline.

What is the pH level of mushrooms?

Mushrooms have a 8.0 pH level, when fresh, once digested.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

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mushrooms are gluten free. mushroom benefits include fitting into a gluten free diet.

glutinous foods have side effects but a gluten free diet can help

Are mushrooms gluten free?

Yes, mushrooms are gluten free. Mushrooms do not contain gluten. Mushrooms are a type of fungi, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food. 

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

mushrooms are not a common food allergen.

side effects of common food allergens like milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Are mushrooms a common food allergen?

No, mushrooms are not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to mushrooms but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

mushrooms are a high-fodmap food.

fodmap friendly food

Are mushrooms FODMAP friendly?

No. Mushrooms are a high-FODMAP food so you should limit or eliminate them while on a low-FODMAP diet. 

A low FODMAP diet may help those with bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

It’s all about knowing your body. Observe what works and what doesn’t. You body might even react negatively to a low-FODMAP food simply due to intolerance. Everyone is different! Be mindful and patient. Take time to get to know what’s best for your physical health and overall wellbeing.

See this High-FODMAP and Low-FODMAP List of Foods

mushrooms have a low water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Do mushrooms have a high or low water footprint?

Mushrooms have a relatively low water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of mushrooms?

It takes 322 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of mushrooms / 39 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of mushrooms.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource? Once it’s gone, it’s gone!

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

mushrooms have a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Do mushrooms have a high or low carbon footprint?

Mushrooms have a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

mushrooms are sustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, are mushrooms eco friendly? Are mushrooms sustainable?

Mushroom production is relatively sustainable since there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used. Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

mushrooms are vegan. mushroom benefits include not killing, harming or using animals.

benefits of vegan food to eat on a vegan diet which helps save animals

Are mushrooms vegan?

Yes, mushrooms are vegan. Mushrooms are a fungi and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non Vegan Foods List

mushrooms may have labor issues and human rights concerns.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Are mushrooms a product with labor concerns?

At this time there are no major concerns with mushroom production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!

It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even be subjected to harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment has been likened to modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

This post was all about mushroom benefits and side effects.

Sources:

Harvard, The Nutrition Source, Mushrooms

Mushrooms, white, raw – FoodData Central – USDA

SNAP-Ed Connection – USDA

Mushrooms | Alternative Farming Systems Information Center

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.

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