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Feed Your Immune System

March 31, 2020

Taking a Closer Look at Nutrients Found in Mushrooms

The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues and organs that work together to protect the body against infection and maintain overall health. Mushrooms, like other fruits and vegetables, can play a positive role in supporting a healthy immune system.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans¹ emphasizes the importance of creating a healthy eating pattern to maintain health and reduce the risk of disease. Suggestions include:

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
    • Focus on whole fruits.
    • Vary your vegetables.
  • Make half your grains whole grains.
  • Move to low-fat and fat-free milk or yogurt.
  • Vary your protein routine.
  • Drink and eat less sodium, saturated fat and added sugars.

Nutrients Important for Overall Wellness

There are a variety of micronutrients, as identified by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University², that are important for supporting a healthy immune system including selenium and vitamins D and B6, which can be found in mushrooms.

Selenium³Recommended Daily Allowance in AdultsSelenium in Mushrooms⁴
Selenium is an essential trace mineral which means your body must get this mineral in the food you eat.

Selenium helps your body make special proteins, called antioxidant enzymes. These play a role in preventing cell damage.⁵
55 mcg/dayEXCELLENT SOURCE
> 4 crimini mushrooms 20.8 mcg 38% RDA
> 1 piece whole portabella 15.6 mcg 28% RDA

GOOD SOURCE
> 5 medium mushrooms 8.35 mcg 15% RDA
Vitamin DRecommended Daily Allowance in AdultsVitamin D in Mushrooms
Vitamin D helps build and maintain strong bones by helping the body absorb calcium. Vitamin D is available via diet, supplements and sunlight, which is why it is also referred to as the “sunshine vitamin.”

Vitamin D has other roles in the body, including modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, and reduction of inflammation.⁵
20 mcg/dayEXCELLENT SOURCE
> 5 medium mushrooms, exposed to UV light 23.6 mcg 118% RDA
> 4 crimini mushrooms, exposed to UV light 25.52 mcg 128% RDA
> 1 piece whole portabella, exposed to UV light 23.9 120% RDA
> 1 cup diced maitake mushrooms 19.7 mcg 99% RDA
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)⁷Recommended Daily Allowance in AdultsVitamin B6 in Mushrooms
Vitamin B6 helps convert food into usable energy and assists in the formation of neurotransmitters, red blood cells, proteins and DNA.⁸ 1.3 mg/dayGOOD SOURCE
> 4 whole shiitake mushrooms 0.224 13% RDA

Download as a PDF: Feed Your Immune System


¹ https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/current-dietary-guidelines/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines

² https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/immunity. Written in March 2016 by: Giana Angelo, Ph.D. Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. Reviewed in February 2017 by: Catherine Field, Ph.D. Professor of Nutrition, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta. This link leads to a website provided by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. The Mushroom Council is not affiliated or endorsed by the Linus Pauling Institute or Oregon State University.

³ https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/

⁴ U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2019. fdc.nal.usda.gov.

⁵ U.S. National Library of Medicine. Selenium in Diet. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002414.htm

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/

https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/immunity#micronutrients. This link leads to a website provided by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. The Mushroom Council is not affiliated or endorsed by the Linus Pauling Institute or Oregon State University.

2 responses to “Feed Your Immune System”

  1. Angela M Hammack says:

    So how do you find mushrooms that have been exposed to UV light?

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