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The Many Benefits of Mushrooms on Keto

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  Published on November 9th, 2020
  Reading time: 3 minutes
  Last modified March 27th, 2023
Mushrooms have many benefits on keto

Mushrooms are a unique food, everything from the flavor to the texture. For all the mushroom lovers out there, let’s dive into the many benefits of mushrooms and why you should eat them on your keto diet.

What are Medicinal Mushrooms?

Medicinal mushrooms refer to mushrooms that have medicinal properties. Certain species of mushrooms have been used as medicine for thousands of years, particularly in Japan and China. The anti-cancer and immune-enhancing effects of traditional species of mushrooms like Trametes versicolor and Ganoderma lucidum have been demonstrated scientifically [1]. 

What are the Health Benefits of Mushrooms on Keto?

Mushrooms are low in calories, but rich in nutrients. Mushrooms actually belong to the fungi kingdom. White mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) constitute around 90% of all mushrooms eaten in the United States.

White mushrooms grow on composted soil with a range of other bacteria and fungi. The other bacteria and fungi play important roles in the process and break down raw materials before the mushrooms can grow [2] [3] [4].

1.   Nutrients and Vitamin D

To give you an idea of the impressive nutritional profile of mushrooms, one cup (96 grams) of whole white mushrooms provides selenium, phosphorous, folate, and 33% of the daily value for vitamin D!

mushrooms on keto

Mushrooms are a non-animal, natural source of vitamin D2. Your body turns vitamin D2 into the active form of vitamin D, which is needed to absorb calcium and preserve bone health. Vitamin D deficiency might lead to muscle weakness, osteoporosis, and more [5] [6] [7] [8].

Mushrooms also provide a higher protein content compared to most vegetables, which can be beneficial for those following a plant-based diet [9]

2.   Cancer-Fighting Properties

The cancer-fighting properties of mushrooms are believed to be associated with multiple antioxidant compounds, such as glutathione, selenium, vitamin C, polyphenols, and polysaccharides. These antioxidants counteract the harmful effects of oxidative stress, which leads to cellular damage and can increase the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

For example, one specific type of polysaccharide is called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan prompts your immune system to activate macrophages and natural killer cells that help protect your body from infection and disease, including cancer. Most studies are focused on the effects of the compounds in white mushrooms [10] [11] [12].

3.   Improves Heart Health

The beta-glucan and ergothioneine in white mushrooms might help reduce your risk of inflammation, oxidative stress, and high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Beta-glucan is a type of soluble fiber that forms a gel-like substance when digested. This gel-like substance traps cholesterol and triglycerides and prevents their absorption, which might help lower blood cholesterol [13] [14].

The ergothioneine might help inhibit the development of arterial plaque – a risk factor for heart disease that might lead to stroke and high blood pressure [15].

Do You Eat Mushrooms on Keto?

Do you use medicinal mushrooms? Do you prefer a medicinal mushroom powder or cooking with whole mushrooms? Does your favorite keto mushrooms recipe include salt and pepper, or maybe garlic butter, olive oil, and parmesan cheese? Comment below and share your favorite keto recipes! 

Steph Green is a content writer specializing in and passionate about healthcare, wellness, and nutrition. Steph has worked with marketing agencies, written medical books for doctors like ‘Untangling the Web of Dysfunction,’ and her poetry book ‘Words that Might Mean Something.’ In 2016, after four years of struggling with her own health problems and painful autoimmune disease, Steph developed a life-changing and extensive knowledge of keto, nutrition, and natural medicine. She continues on her healing journey and enjoys helping others along the way.



National Museum of National History EOL, Nathan Wilson, Marine Biological Laboratory. Mushrooms. https://eol.org/docs/discover/mushrooms


Ren, Z., Guo, Z., Meydani, S. N., & Wu, D. (2008). White button mushroom enhances maturation of bone marrow-derived dendritic cells and their antigen presenting function in mice. Journal of Nutrition, 138(3), 544-550. DOI: 10.1093/jn/138.3.544


Colmenares-Cruz, S., Sanchez, J. E., & Valle-Mora, J. (2017). Agaricus bisporus production on substrates pasteurized by self-heating. AMB Express, 7, 135. DOI: 10.1186/s13568-017-0438-6


McGee, C. F. (2018). Microbial ecology of the Agaricus bisporus mushroom cropping process. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 102(3), 1075-1083. DOI: 10.1007/s00253-017-8683-9


United States Department of Agriculture. Mushrooms, White, Raw. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169251/nutrients


Cardwell, G., Bornman, J. F., James, A. P., & Black, L. J. (2018). A review of mushrooms as a potential source of dietary vitamin D. Nutrients, 10(10), 1498. DOI: 10.3390/nu10101498


Keegan, R-J, H., Lu, Z., Bogusz, J. M., Williams, J. E., & Holick, M. F. (2013). Photobiology of vitamin D in mushrooms and its bioavailability in humans. Dermatoendocrinology, 5(1), 165-176. DOI: 10.4161/derm.23321


Lips, P., & Van Schoor, N. M. (2011). The effect of vitamin D on bone and osteoporosis. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab, 25(4), 585-591. DOI: 10.1016/j.beem.2011.05.002


Valverde, M. E., Hernandez-Perez, T., & Paredes-Lopez, O. (2015). Edible mushrooms: Improving human health and promoting quality life. International Journal of Microbiology, DOI: 10.1155/2015/376387


Kozarski, M., Klaus, A., Jakovljevic, D., Todorovic, N., Vunduk, J., Petrovic, P., Niksic, M., Vrvic, M. M., & Van Griensven, L. (2015). Antioxidants of edible mushrooms. Molecules, 20(10), 19489-19525. DOI: 10.3390/molecules201019489


Pizzino, G., Irrera, N., Cucinotta, M., Pallio, G., Mannino, F., Arcoraci, V., Squadrito, F., Altavilla, D., & Bitto, A. (2017). Oxidative stress: Harms and benefits for human health. Oxid Med Cell Longev, DOI: 10.1155/2017/8416763


Akramiene, D., Kondrotas, A., Didziapetriene, J., & Kevelaitis, E. (2007). Effects of beta-glucans on the immune system. Medicina, 43(8), 597-606.


Sima, P., Vannucci, L., & Vetvicka, V. (2018). B-glucans and cholesterol (review). Int J Mol Med, 41(4), 1799-1808. DOI: 10.3892/ijmm.2018.3411


Rop, O., Mlcek, J., & Jurikova, T. (2009). Beta-glucans in higher fungi and their health effects. Nutr Rev, 67(11), 624-631. DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00230.x

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