Karen Collins, MS, RDN, CDN
American Institute for Cancer Research
Q: Are mushrooms really a good source of vitamin D?
A: Most mushrooms supply an insignificant trace of vitamin D. However, research shows that exposing mushrooms to ultraviolet light from the sun or a sunlamp for a few hours before harvest or five to 15 minutes after harvest can trigger production of vitamin D within the mushroom. Enriched mushrooms treated in this manner can contain close to 400 IU of vitamin D in three ounces of raw mushrooms (about four to five medium white button or brown crimini, or one portabella). That’s two-thirds of the 600 IU that is the current U.S. recommendation for people age one to seventy. If you see these mushrooms in the store, it’s one way to get your vitamin D. With or without the D, however, using a substantial portion in mixed dishes like casseroles and chili allows you to maintain a hearty texture with smaller amounts of meat. Meanwhile you are getting a variety of natural compounds under study for potential benefits to immune function and health.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $96 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.