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Mushrooms: Types, Uses and Health Benefits

Updated on May 1, 2015
Mushrooms can be used in a variety of dishes.
Mushrooms can be used in a variety of dishes. | Source


Mushrooms are a fungi and are rich in nutrients. Mushrooms provide potassium, B vitamins, selenium and other nutrients. Several types of mushrooms are rich in protein. With the exception of soybeans, porcini mushrooms are the richest in protein when measured against other protein rich vegetables.

Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Mushrooms have been identified as an antioxidant. Antioxidants aid in reducing disease and cancer. In addition, studies have found promising result in consuming mushrooms for improving immunity function in the body.

Nutrients in Mushrooms:

Vitamin D enriched mushrooms have been recommended as a food source for patients with osteoporosis. Mushrooms also contain selenium, which has been recorded to reduce the risk of bladder cancer. The iron in mushrooms improve the blood and the protein supports the muscular system.

Mushrooms come in many varieties, textures and flavors.
Mushrooms come in many varieties, textures and flavors. | Source

Types of Mushrooms

  • Shiitakes
  • Portobellos
  • Creminis
  • Enokis
  • Morels
  • Wood Ears
  • Truffles
  • Porcini
  • Chanterelles


Shiitakes have a rich beefy flavor. Shiitakes can be added to a variety of dishes such as: stir fry, soups, pizza, pastas and more. Shiitakes are usually available at international specialty food stores and Asian markets.


Portobellos are known for their large cap. They are great as burger substitutes or for filling with other ingredients. Portobellos have a rich woody flavor and meaty texture. Portobellos can be grilled or sauteed, need minimal seasoning and can be roasted with a splash of olive oil and minced garlic.


Creminis are small brown mushrooms and have a slightly heavier flavor when compared to the standard white button mushroom sold in most supermarkets. Creminis are best roasted, sauteed, creamed in sauces or in dishes such as pilaf.


These whimsical mushrooms have thin stems. Enokis are usually expensive and appear as if they belong on a movie set or fairy tale book. Mild in flavor, enokis are used minimally and make a nice garnish, served raw over the main entrée or as a soup topper.


Mushrooms: Morels, 20 calories per cup, 44% Iron, 34% Vitamin D, 7% Potassium.
Mushrooms: Morels, 20 calories per cup, 44% Iron, 34% Vitamin D, 7% Potassium. | Source

Morels: This particular mushroom is regional to the Pacific Northwest. They are known for their nutty and meaty flavor. Morels are perfect for vegetable dishes with peas, asparagus or new potatoes.

Wood Ears

Wood ear mushrooms grow on trees and logs. Their name comes from their uncanny and somewhat humorous resemblance to human ears. The texture of wood ears is slightly crunchy and do not have a heavy flavor. They are perfect for soaking up the variety of flavors used in dishes and complement the food. Wood ears are commonly used in soups and pastas.


This particular variety is not necessarily considered an actual mushroom, but is commonly sold and grouped with other mushrooms. Truffles are usually found underground in the farmland regions of Italy and France. Truffles are difficult to find and are usually located with the assitance of dogs and pigs. This make truffles incredibly expensive. A potential substitute is truffle infused olive oil, commonly imported from Italy.

Truffles complement warm salads; alongside cheese and whole grains.

Fact: Truffles begin to immediately rot when touched by human hands.


Mushrooms : Porcini
Mushrooms : Porcini | Source

Porcini mushrooms are usually dried. Porcinis are also known as king boletes or cepes in some regions of the world. Porcinis have an alluring flavor and beautifully compliment wine based sauces. Porcini mushrooms are perfect for sauces and pasta dishes.

Chanterelle Mushrooms

Chanterelles | Source

Chanterelles are golden in color. Their flavor is somewhat fruity and woodsy. They are often compared to apricots. Chanterelles can be lightly sauteed in garlic and butter and topped with parmesan cheese. Serve alongside beef or over pasta.

© 2012 Marisa Hammond Olivares


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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great hub, Marissa on the varieties of mushrooms. I never heard of truffle mushrooms! I miss having mushrooms and would need to buy some this summer. Thanks for sharing. Voted up!

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 4 years ago from Texas

      Giant portabello mushrooms make the BEST burgers! So glad you found my hub, thank you for reading and commenting.

    • twoseven profile image

      twoseven 4 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Very nice summary! I have never met a mushroom I didn't like. As a vegetarian, I also find they work nicely as a meat substitute in many dishes.

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      adrienne2, you are welcome. Wood ears sound kinda cute to me. :) Thank you so much for the vote and comment. Have a great day.

    • adrienne2 profile image

      Adrienne F Manson 5 years ago from Atlanta

      Missolive, thanks for sharing the information on mushrooms. I love mushroom, I had not heard of the wood ears before. Voted useful!

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      DDE, thank you! Glad to share, I sautéed some mushrooms last night... delicious!

      mary rose, not too sure what you meant by 'pwede makain', I do know 'pwede' means 'could be'. Thank you for reading.

    • profile image

      mary rose 5 years ago

      i love mushroom and so beautiful and i see the mushroom pwede makain

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Awesome and voted up!!! Thanks for the informative Hub mushrooms are some of my favorite snacks

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      carol777, i don't have them as often as you do. I do truly enjoy them in my meals though. Thank you so much for your supportive comment and I greatly appreciate the vote.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      We absolutely love any kind of mushrooms. I try to cook them at least two or three times a week. You did a great job on this hub and I learned a few new mushrooms. Voted UP.

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      SkySlave, I think the fact that surprised me the most was the protein content. Glad you enjoy them too.

      healthy meals, I think it is really neat you that you are able to actually go out and pick your own mushrooms.

      molometer, thank you so much Michael. I appreciate that.

      breakfastpop, mushroom soup sounds fantastic. I have not had it in a long time.

      susiebrown48, thank you. I'm glad to have provided some info for you. I've learned one needs to take a few risks when preparing new dishes. I hope you find a recipe and combination that you enjoy.

      teaches12345, I did find some negative articles on mushrooms. Some health gurus do not recommend them simply because we are introducing fungus into our digestive system. They may very well be trouble for some. I'll need to do a bit more research on that.

      sholland10, Hi Susan! One day you and I can share an olive and mushroom pizza. Wouldn't that be awesome?! Yes, they do seem to be more nutritious than expected. Thank you so much for stopping by.

    • sholland10 profile image

      Susan Holland 5 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      I love mushrooms! They are second to olives. :-) I use them in most of my cooked dishes and salads. I did not realize they had so many health benefits. Helping to prevent osteoporosis is a big one.

      Great facts! Votes and shares! :-)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I love mushrooms and use them often in cooking and in salads. I am glad to hear that they have some health benefits. I always thought that they were frowned upon due to the fact that they are fungus. Good to hear they are good to eat.

    • susiebrown48 profile image

      susiebrown48 5 years ago from Clearwater, FL

      I really appreciated your describing the tastes and uses for the mushrooms. I usually steer away from them although they look tasty because I'm at a loss as to what to do with them. Thanks!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 5 years ago

      I love mushrooms in every form.I especially love a mushroom soup. There is nothing better.

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Just love mushrooms, cannot get enough of them. I have tried most of the types of mushrooms. Very useful voted up and tweeting.

    • healthy meals profile image

      healthy meals 5 years ago from Europe

      I like mushrooms a lot, especially going out to pick them up in the woods it makes for an excellent way to prepare for lunch or dinner.

    • SkySlave profile image

      Skyler DeCristoforo 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Some great facts about one of my favorite foods! I'm glad their good for you because i can't eat enough of 'em. Voted up, thanks for the great hub.