Nutritional value of mushrooms

The greatest difficulty in feeding man is to supply a sufficient quantity of the body-building material -- protein. The other three nutritional categories are: the source of energy food—carbohydrates and fats; accessory food factors-- vitamins; and inorganic compounds which are indispensable to good health. Of course, water, too, is essential. In terms of the amount of crude protein, mushrooms rank below animal meats, but well above most other foods, including milk, which is an animal product (Chang and Miles 1989).  Furthermore, mushroom protein contains all the nine essential amino acids required by man.  The moisture content of fresh mushrooms varies within the range 70 - 95% depending upon the harvest time and environmental conditions, whereas it is about 10 - 13% in dried mushrooms.  In addition to their good proteins, mushrooms are a relatively good source of the following individual nutrients: fat, phosphorus, iron, and vitamins including thiamine, riboflavin, ascorbic acid, ergosterine and niacin. They are low in calories, carbohydrates and calcium.  Mushrooms also contain a high proportion of unsaturated fat. In recent years, there has been a trend toward discovering ways of treating mushrooms so as to give them added value. For example, Wermer and Beelman (2002) have reported on growing mushrooms enriched in selenium. The desirability of a food product does not necessarily bear any correlation to its nutritional value. Instead, its appearance, taste, and aroma, sometimes can stimulate one’s appetite (preference). In addition to nutritional value, mushrooms have some unique colour, taste, aroma, and texture characteristics, which attract their consumption by humans.

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