- Can pregnant women eat mushrooms?
- What are the benefits of eating mushrooms during pregnancy?
- Nutritional value of mushrooms
- What type of mushrooms can you eat?
- Types of mushrooms to avoid during pregnancy
- What are the risks of taking toxic mushrooms?
- Precautions to take before eating mushrooms during pregnancy
- Frequently asked questions
When cooked well, mushrooms are so tasty that they are irresistible. They can be added to salads, soups, pizzas and spicy preparations. Freshly picked mushrooms are even better with low calories and high protein.
But are mushrooms safe for consumption during pregnancy? MomJunction tells you about the benefits and risks of eating mushrooms when you are pregnant, the types of mushrooms you can eat and the ones you should avoid.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Mushrooms?
Yes, it is safe to consume mushrooms during pregnancy, but avoid raw mushrooms as they are carcinogenic.
Also, not all mushrooms are edible, and it is important to know the difference.
Cooked or dried mushrooms are good as they are highly nutritious and are rich in vitamins, minerals and trace elements (1).
[ Read: Eating Sprouts During Pregnancy ]
What Are The Benefits Of Eating Mushrooms During Pregnancy?
Mushrooms offer excellent nutrition for your growing baby. Including them in your regular diet helps you share the benefits with the baby in the womb.
1. Abundant vitamin B
Mushrooms are natural sources of B complex vitamins including thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3) and pantothenic acid (B5) (2), which are beneficial for the mom-to-be and the baby.
- Thiamine and niacin aid in brain development of the baby, relieve fatigue and boost energy.
- Riboflavin aids in keeping the skin healthy, improving eyesight and developing strong bones, muscles, and nerves.
- Pantothenic acid prevents digestion issues (3).
2. Vitamin D promotes healthy bones
Vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy can cause tiredness, back pain, bone weakness, and depression. Adding mushrooms to your diet can give you abundant vitamin D (4). It helps absorb calcium in the body, to form strong bones and teeth in the baby (5).
3. Protein and fiber
Protein and fiber are present abundantly in mushrooms.
- Protein is necessary for the overall development of your baby, as it contributes to the muscle mass (6).
- Fiber helps prevent irritable conditions such as constipation and fatigue, keeping you active and ready for a smooth delivery (7).
4. Iron promotes hemoglobin levels
Your body requires more hemoglobin as the volume of the blood increases during pregnancy. Mushrooms are an excellent source of iron, which helps produce hemoglobin and red blood cells in both the mother and the fetus (8).
5. Antioxidants boost the immune system
Antioxidants (selenium and ergothioneine) present in mushrooms boost the immune system (9) and keep you disease-free and healthy during pregnancy. Mushrooms also contain zinc, potassium, and selenium, which assist the baby’s growth and development.
Nutritional Value Of Mushrooms
The nutrient value of raw, white mushrooms (per 100gm serving) is as follows (10):
To benefit from the high nutrient value of mushrooms, you should be able to differentiate between edible and poisonous mushrooms. Read next about the type of mushrooms that you can eat.
[ Read: Benefits Of Cauliflower In Pregnancy ]
What Type Of Mushrooms Can You Eat?
Mushrooms that you can eat during pregnancy include:
1. White button mushrooms are a common variety found everywhere (9). You can recognize them by their pale white shoot with a spotted top. The top is flavorful and can be used to make delicious dishes. The shoot contains fiber, which is used in making broths and stews.
2. Shiitake mushrooms are black and possess a leafy texture, and popularly used in Chinese cuisine. Shiitake and maitake are medicinal mushrooms, which have high levels of beta-glucan, a polysaccharide sugar, and fiber. It is an anti-tumor, anti-cancer, antibacterial, anti-fungal and antioxidant substance (11).
- Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)
- Maitake (Hen-of-the-wood or Grifola Frondosa)
3. Porcini mushrooms (Boletus edulis) are golden in color and are highly flavorful. These are the most expensive mushrooms and are used in Italian cuisine.
4. True morel mushrooms (Morchella) are a wild variety but have an edible strain that comes with a hollow stem. Make sure that you clean and cook them properly as these mushrooms are likely to cause allergic reactions and gastrointestinal upset (13).
5. Chestnut mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) look like white button mushrooms but have a brown cap and pink to dark brown gills. They have a strong taste and look like a darker strain of button mushroom.
Other edible mushrooms you can eat during pregnancy include:
- King Oysters/ Eringi (Pleurotus eryngii)
- Enoki (Enokitake)
Giant puffball (Calvatia gigantea), dryad’s saddle, scarlet elf cups, wood ears, beefsteak fungus, cauliflower fungus, penny buns, field blewits and hedgehog fungus are edible mushrooms but are best avoided when you are pregnant.
Not all mushrooms are meant to be eaten. Some are used for medicinal purposes only while others are highly poisonous and must be avoided. Continue reading to know more about the mushrooms you should not eat.
[ Read: Avocados During Pregnancy ]
Types Of Mushrooms To Avoid During Pregnancy
Certain mushrooms can lead to the death of both the mother and the baby and must be avoided.
1. Magic mushrooms contain psilocybin, a chemical that alters the brain activity and affects your growing fetus. They should not be consumed even when you are breastfeeding (10).
2. Parasol mushrooms are umbrella-shaped, with milky gills, white rings, and some spots. They are brightly colored, and caps are cream colored (10).
3. False morels: They are wrinkled with irregularly shaped caps.
Other poisonous mushrooms you need to avoid are Puffballs Amanitas, Crimini, Chanterelle, Portable, Death Cap, Fly Agaric, Angel Wing, Conocybe Filaris, Deadly Webcap, Autumn Skullcap, Destroying Angels and Podostroma Conru-damae.
What Are The Risks Of Taking Toxic Mushrooms?
There are some potential side effects of taking the above mentioned poisonous mushrooms. Remember that these risks will not arise from healthy and edible mushrooms.
- Cause congenital abnormalities: Consumption of poisonous or toxic mushrooms can lead to physical birth defects in babies (11).
- Hallucinogenic: Some poisonous mushrooms possess a hallucinogenic property owing to their psilocybin content, which alters the brain activity (2).
Precautions To Follow When Eating Mushrooms When Pregnant
Here are a few tips on how to eat mushrooms and stay safe.
- Buy fresh mushrooms, which do not have decaying spots and bruises.
- In the case of processed mushrooms, check for the expiration date.
- Wash and cook properly. Never have raw mushrooms.
- If you want to check if the mushroom is causing any side effects, eat it in a small amount and look for a reaction. Avoid if you experience any allergic reactions.
Next, we have the answers to some more questions about mushrooms during pregnancy.
[ Read: Fruits To Eat During Pregnancy ]
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Can I eat mushrooms in early pregnancy?
Yes, you can eat mushrooms in early pregnancy. Since they contain fiber, they help treat indigestion and constipation that are common in early pregnancy. The antioxidants (such as selenium and ergothioneine) in mushrooms fight free radicals and boost the immune system.
2. Does craving mushrooms during pregnancy indicate the gender of the baby?
No. The assumption that craving for mushrooms indicates the baby’s gender is just another old wives’ tale.
Mushrooms are safe for the baby growing within you. Include them in your diet but do not eat the unsafe ones. Cook them well and add to any dish you like, to boost its nutritional value. Check with your doctor if you have any doubts about eating mushrooms during pregnancy.
Have you enjoyed eating mushroom delicacies during your pregnancy? Use our comments section to share your story.
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