Health Benefits of Crimini Mushrooms

Crimini mushrooms (also spelled cremini) are some of the most common mushrooms sold in grocery stores. Crimini mushrooms, common white mushrooms, and portobello mushrooms all come from the same species—Agaricus bisporus. The main difference among the three types is how old they are when harvested.

Portobello mushrooms have matured the longest while crimini and common white mushrooms are harvested when they are younger. Some brands sell crimini mushrooms as “baby bellas," pointing out that they're the same species as portobello mushrooms.

Crimini mushrooms are older than white mushrooms and darker in color. Their age often gives them a more complex flavor than white mushrooms. Their flavor usually isn't as deep or rich as fully grown portobellos.

Health Benefits

Though crimini mushrooms are a source of small amounts of vitamins and minerals, their health benefits tend to come from other factors. For example, the enzymes and bacteria contained in crimini mushrooms provide several health benefits.

Boosted Immune System

Eating crimini mushrooms could potentially boost your immune system. Like many other mushroom types, criminis contain a significant amount of helpful bacteria. Some of this bacteria is beneficial to the microbiome found in the human digestive tract. These helpful bacteria can improve digestion and boost the body's immune response.

Cancer Prevention

Crimini mushrooms could potentially protect against breast cancer and lung cancer. This effect is a result of the aromatase inhibitors in crimini mushrooms. Aromatase inhibitors block an enzyme called aromatase that promotes the creation of estrogen—a hormone that promotes the growth of some types of cancerous tumors.

Control Blood Pressure

One study found that a diet including mushrooms can reduce the likelihood of developing high blood pressure during pregnancy. High blood pressure occurs in 10% of pregnant women. Eating 100 grams of mushrooms per day, including crimini mushrooms, can reduce a pregnant woman's risk of having high blood pressure.

Reduced Salt Intake

Eating less salt promotes a healthy heart. According to the American Heart Association, most Americans should cut their salt intake by at least 1,000 mg per day. Adding crimini mushrooms to dishes enhances the flavor in a way that could reduce salt use. Due to the strong, savory flavor of crimini mushrooms, people don't feel the need to add as much salt to dishes that contain them.

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Nutrition

Crimini mushrooms provide carbohydrates and protein, but don’t have any fat. They’re low in calories and contain small amounts of calcium and iron along with even smaller amounts of vitamins.

Nutrients per Serving

A serving of 10 crimini mushrooms contains:

Things to Watch Out For

Some people have difficulty telling when crimini mushrooms have spoiled and should no longer be eaten. Eating spoiled foods can cause nausea, upset stomach, and diarrhea, so you should make sure to eat crimini mushrooms within two weeks of purchasing them. If crimini mushrooms become slimy, wrinkled, or have a very strong odor, they should not be eaten.

How to Prepare Crimini Mushrooms

When preparing crimini mushrooms, it’s not necessary to wash them first. Due to their sponge-like texture, they tend to absorb water and washing them can dilute their flavor. Wiping crimini mushrooms with a dry cloth before eating them is sufficient.

Crimini mushrooms may be used in a variety of ways. They can be sliced and eaten raw, but most people prefer to cook them. 

Here are a few suggestions on how to prepare crimini mushrooms:

  • Sautée crimini mushrooms with garlic.
  • Toss crimini mushrooms and pasta in a white sauce.
  • Sprinkle crimini mushrooms on top of green beans.
  • Fold crimini mushrooms into a vegetable omelette.
  • Roast crimini mushrooms with veggies and serve on toast.
  • Bake crimini mushrooms into a savory quiche.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 08, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

American Heart Association: "How Much Sodium Should I Eat Per Day?"

Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry: "Natural Products as Aromatase Inhibitors."

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon.

Food & Function: "Bacterial Components Are the Major Contributors to the Macrophage Stimulating Activity Exhibited by Extracts of Common Edible Mushrooms."

Food & Nutrition Research: "A Mushroom Diet Reduced the Risk of Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension and Macrosomia: a Randomized Clinical Trial."

Journal of Food Science: "Flavor-Enhancing Properties of Mushrooms in Meat-Based Dishes in Which Sodium Has Been Reduced and Meat Has Been Partially Substituted with Mushrooms."

ScienceDaily: "Anticancer Effect of Mushrooms Demonstrated."

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