Can Mushrooms Be Eaten Raw? A Scientific Look

I think the following question about mushrooms is worth looking into, can mushrooms be eaten raw?

Most button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms and white mushrooms are all relatively safe to eat raw. In fact, you can discover them being served raw in many salads and in some of the most formal restaurants.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the most important factors you should actually consider when eating raw mushrooms.

Are Mushrooms Healthier Raw Or Cooked?

raw mushrooms on a cutting board.
Raw mushrooms

As a Certified Health Coach many clients ask me about healthy food including mushrooms. Also, I purchase and consume it every week. Therefore, I have researched this topic in the past and present. Let’s examine the topic closely.

We’ve established some mushrooms can be eaten raw or cooked1. It’s important to take a look at which of these two options is healthier for you.

That’s exactly what we’re going to take a look at in the section.

Cooked mushrooms are healthier. Mushrooms have anti-cancer properties. When you cook the mushrooms, these nutrients become more absorbable for the body. However, because they lose a large amount of water mass when cooked, they also lose some of those nutrients so you need to consume more.

Why Is This A Conflicting Answer?

It’s a conflicting answer because when the mushrooms are cooked or raw they should contain a similar amount of nutrients right? Well, many nutrients are lost when you cook the mushroom.

There’s one very important fact as to why raw mushrooms are not as good for you compared to when they are cooked.

Almost everything that lives or grows contains cells. It is within these cells that most of the nutrients are stored.

A raw mushroom has very tough walls that protect the cell and these walls make the nutrients within a mushroom very hard to digest. Basically, the nutrients within a raw mushroom are harder to absorb2

Benefits Of Eating Mushrooms: Raw Or Cooked

Let’s take a brief look at some of the benefits3 of eating mushrooms whether they are raw or cooked. So, let’s jump into it.

  • Mushrooms contain a wealth of antioxidants. 
  • Related to the antioxidants, mushrooms have properties that help fight cancer.
  • Mushrooms contain vitamins and potassium. These are essential and they are all aimed at keeping your body healthy4.

How about mushrooms turned slimy? You may want to read my blog post on the topic by clicking here, Are Slimy Mushrooms Bad?

Side Effects Of Eating Raw Mushrooms

In this article, we have taken a look at the benefits of cooking mushrooms vs eating them raw. In this section, we’re going to take a look at some of the negative side effects of eating raw mushrooms.

  • Toxins: These toxins are more prevalent when a mushroom is uncooked. They can affect your immune system amongst other serious negative side effects.
  • Bacteria and Pathogens: The bacteria can affect your digestive system and/or lead to food poisoning.  

Not all mushrooms will have these negative effects, but you should always weigh up these effects if you are considering eating a raw mushroom.

Never Eat Wild Mushrooms Raw Or Cooked

It’s important to note you should never eat mushrooms found in the wild unless you’re an expert in the field. Many mushrooms look similar to each other. Therefore, you might mistake a mushroom perceived to be safe to eat for a poisonous one.

Unfortunately, this can lead to some serious negative side effects.

The side effects can be subtle and in some cases, they can be fatal. So, please be careful.

If you’re not a professional, there’s no reason anyone should try eating a wild mushroom. With that being said, in the unlikely instance you’re stranded and come across them, still don’t pick them.

Does Cooking Raw Mushrooms Kill Bacteria?

It has been thousands of years since human beings discovered cooking food is the best way to eat. This means our bodies have adapted to eat cooked food rather than raw food. This isn’t very true when it comes to vegetables, or at least, most vegetables.

Cooking food has a multitude of benefits, let’s take a look.

Mushrooms and most other vegetables do have bacteria on them. This includes potential pathogens that find their way onto the product. When you cook food, it removes much of the bacteria and pathogens.

It’s important to cook your food when you can. It’s what our bodies have adapted to.

Does Cooking A Mushroom Get Rid Of Toxins?

In the section, we’re going to take a look at whether or not cooking mushrooms gets rid of the toxins. In addition, we’re going to discuss what the main toxins are mushrooms carry. This section is very important, so, let’s jump straight into it.

The toxins that are contained within mushrooms don’t agree with heat. So the minute the mushroom is warmed up, the toxins die off.

Mushrooms contain Formaldehyde and Hydrazine. Both of these toxic compounds are killed as soon as they are exposed to some form of fire or heat.

This is probably the most important reason as to why mushrooms should be cooked. 

If you have any questions to ask me about this article don’t hesitate to comment below or email us. You can find an email on our contact page.

Read Next – More Anti-Aging Articles

Is It Better To Eat Broccoli Raw Or Cooked?

Is Spinach Anti-Aging?

These Are The Mushrooms With The Most Protein

  1. The Mushroom Council: Fresh Mushrooms: Recipes []
  2. Alliance for natural health: Are Supermarket Mushrooms Dangerous to Eat Raw? []
  3. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Edible Mushrooms: Improving Human Health and Promoting Quality Life []
  4. USDA: Mushrooms []

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