Vitamin D is essential for good bone health, because it assists in the absorption of calcium, which is the building-block of our bones. Low levels of this vitamin in the blood impairs the absorption of calcium and increases the parathyroid hormone production that causes bone loss. This can lead to osteopenia (thin bones), osteoporosis (thinner bones) and osteomalacia (soft bones) in adults.
But thanks to recent study at the university of Sydney, mushrooms may be a great food to boost our vitamin D levels, which is fascinating since very few foods contain edible sources of this essential vitamin. The researchers found that just three or four button mushrooms (100g) are able to produce enough if this vitamin for the average person’s estimated daily needs. While those who are housebound or unwell could eat more mushrooms to boost their levels.
The catch however is that just like humans, button mushrooms need to be exposed to sunlight for the photochemical manufacturing to kick into action and produce the vitamin D. The researchers found that they need to sun bathe for two hours, unwrapped on a plate in the midday summer sun – a bit longer in winter. This doesn’t affect the taste of the mushroom in any way.
Scientists do not fully understand why mushrooms can make so much vitamin D, but the idea is backed by good solid evidence, and is fantastic news for fungi fans!