Mushrooms can be prepared in different ways, but which cooking best preserves their nutrients?
Mushrooms are a source of health-promoting nutrients. They contain fiber, minerals (zinc and selenium), vitamins (B1, B2, B12, C, D and E) and proteins in their own right. They are also an important source of bioactive components such as beta-glucans. However, mushrooms are often heated before being eaten. We can then wonder: does the preparation of the mushroom influence its nutritional profile?
Cooking mushrooms in oil or water
A recent study assessed the effect of different cooking methods (water, microwave, grill and frying) on the nutritional composition, beta-glucan content and antioxidant activity of four kinds of mushrooms (mushroom white, shiitake, oyster mushroom and oyster mushroom). Cooked and raw mushrooms were frozen, then their composition and antioxidant activity were studied.
It appears from the analysis that fried mushrooms contain less protein and carbohydrates, but are higher in fat and energy. Cooking in water increases their beta-glucan content and reduces their protein content. Both methods, frying and water, also reduce the antioxidant power of mushrooms.
The loss of proteins and antioxidants generated by these two cooking methods can be explained by the dissolution of water-soluble and oil-soluble substances.
Cooking on the grill or in the microwave
Mushrooms cooked on the grill or in the microwave had a significantly higher content of polyphenols and antioxidants. Moreover, these cooking methods did not cause any nutritional loss. Adding a small amount of oil did not cause nutrient loss. It even turns out that it boosted the antioxidant power of mushrooms.
In conclusion, the choice of cooking method is an essential factor in preserving the nutritional value of mushrooms.
Irene Roncero-Ramos et al: Effect of different cooking methods on nutritional value and antioxidant activity of cultivated mushrooms. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. DOI: 10.1080/09637486.2016.1244662