Breaking news: You've probably been cooking your mushrooms all wrong

Have we been cooking mushrooms all wrong? [Photo: Paula via Pexels]
Have we been cooking mushrooms all wrong? [Photo: Paula via Pexels]

Love mushrooms? Turns out some of us could have been cooking them all wrong as according to new research our fungi friends should be grilled or microwaved to maintain their nutritional value – not fried.

Scientists at the Mushroom Technological Research Centre at La Rioja, Spain, revealed that these cooking methods, as opposed to frying or boiling, mean mushrooms maintain high levels of essential amino acids and vitamins.

The findings suggested that when mushrooms were microwaved or grilled, the content of polyphenol and antioxidant activity increased significantly and there are no significant losses in nutritional value of the cooked mushrooms.

Discussing the research, study author Irene Roncero said: “Frying and boiling treatments produced more severe losses in proteins and antioxidants compounds, probably due to the leaching of soluble substances in the water or in the oil, which may significantly influence the nutritional value.”

Adding a little oil portion while grilling mushrooms does not cause nutrient losses and can improve antioxidant capacity, especially if olive oil is used.

“This minimal amount will not cause nutrient loses by leaching; in fact, the antioxidant capacity can be even improved. Moreover, if olive oil is used, the fatty acid profile of the final preparation is enhanced with barely increase in the calorie content.”

“The adequate selection of the culinary method is a key factor to preserve the nutritional profile of this highly consumed food.”

Mushrooms provide a high protein content and are rich in vitamins B1, B2, B12, C, D and E as well as minerals such as zinc and selenium. They are also an important source of biologically active compounds such as betaglucans, which reduces the risk of heart disease.

Frying or boiling mushrooms can cause nutrient content to be lost [Photo: Pixabay via Pexels]
Frying or boiling mushrooms can cause nutrient content to be lost [Photo: Pixabay via Pexels]

The team evaluated the influence of different cooking methods (boiling, microwaving, grilling and frying) on proximate composition, betaglucans content and antioxidant activity of four cultivated mushroom types – Agaricus bisporus (white button mushroom), Lentinula edodes (shiitake), Pleurotus ostreatus (oyster mushroom) and Pleurotus eryngii (king oyster mushroom).

After the cooking process, raw and cooked mushrooms were then freeze-dried, and the proximate composition and the antioxidant activity were analysed.

The results revealed that frying induced more severe losses in protein, ash and carbohydrates content but increased the fat and energy. Boiling improved the total glucans content by enhancing the betaglucans fraction. And antioxidant levels are decreased significantly in both methods

The research is published in International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition.

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