Cremini mushrooms have more in common with other known fungi, such as the white button or portobellos, than you might think. Mushrooms have been consumed for centuries as part of the diets promoted in folklore and the practices of oriental medicine, including traditional Chinese medicine. The ancient Egyptians considered mushrooms as cremini mushrooms, were a food that promoted immortality and were worthy of being included in diets fed to royal leaders. All these varieties of fungi actually belong to the same species of fungus, called Agaricus bisporus . What makes these mushrooms look more different from each other is mainly their stage of maturity, which affects their size, color and, often, even their price. In many nations today, white mushrooms are the best selling type and often also the easiest to find. All types of edible mushrooms are consumed by hundreds of millions of pounds every year. In the United States alone, more than 940 million pounds of mushrooms are bought each year at grocery stores, farmers markets and health food stores.
Are all these mushrooms just as good for you? In many ways, yes, they are. When you cook with creminis or other related fungi, you will benefit from obtaining many B vitamins, phosphorus, selenium, copper and even some fiber and protein. Mushrooms are very low in fat and calories, in addition to sugar and carbohydrates. However, fungi of all kinds offer a great impact when it comes to helping prevent free radical damage, problems with bone loss and possible weight gain or various types of cancer.
What are Cremini Mushrooms?
Cremini mushrooms are small to medium sized mushrooms that have an earthy and smooth taste. While the difference in taste between mushrooms and creminis is small, some people find the taste of creminis more rich and attractive. Where can you find cremini mushrooms? As more research discovers the many protective effects of including fungi in the diet, especially with regard to the prevention of chronic diseases, they have become easier and easier to find in most grocery stores. Keep in mind that because cremini mushrooms are of the same species as button and portobello mushrooms, they can sometimes be labeled as “baby bella”, mini bella or portobellini. In recent years, it has increasingly focused on including fungi as part of the dietary approach to prevent cancer. It has been found that fungus consumption is associated with the destruction or slow growth of cancer cells, along with reductions in tumor size. Certain studies have found that when cancer cells are exposed to fungal-derived extracts, they experience a reduced ability to form blood vessels that are necessary to feed cancerous tumors, as well as a reduced production of enzymes that cancer cells need to reproduce.
“While most people think that exotic “medicinal” mushrooms are the types that are capable of preventing disease, button / cremini mushrooms have many similar benefits”.
Cremini mushrooms are a great source of many trace vitamins and minerals, in addition to antioxidants that help protect cells, and potassium, an electrolyte that many people do not have enough.
Benefits of Cremini Mushrooms:
Listed below are some of the most compelling reasons to include cremini mushrooms in your diet, based on the results of recent research on unique compounds and nutrients found in mushrooms and their specific effects.
1. Can Help Protect Against Cancer:
Perhaps the most compelling reason to eat more fungi is due to its anticancer potential. Fungi are a cost-effective and safe way to help reduce your risk of cancer, as they have been found to promote decreased tumor cell proliferation and decreased tumor weight, while virtually no side effects. One of the main active components in cremini mushrooms is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been shown to have protective effects against the growth of cancer cells. A study in mice found that when mice consumed mushroom extract, they experienced a significant reduction in the growth of breast cancer cells. The study found evidence that Agaricus bisporus extract suppresses aromatase activity, resulting in a reduction in estrogen production. Estrogen dominance has been identified as one of the main contributors to postmenopausal breast cancer in women; however, it has been shown that compounds, such as flavones and isoflavones, present in cremini mushrooms, help inhibit some of the negative effects of estrogen.
Other studies have found similar positive effects of fungi with respect to the treatment of prostate cancer and leukemic monocyte lymphoma. According to studies, anti-cancer compounds found in several species of fungi, including Agaricus, play a crucial role in reducing cancer risk by decreasing reactive oxygen species, regulating cell division (mitotic kinase), regulating angiogenesis (development of blood vessels) and lead to apoptosis (destruction / death of harmful cells). There is also evidence that eating mushrooms can complement cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as well as reducing the common side effects of these treatments, such as nausea, bone marrow suppression, anemia and immune function. Suppressed
2. Protect Cardiovascular Health and Reduce the Risk of Metabolic Syndrome:
Ergothioneine (EGT) is a beneficial amino acid that is found mainly in fungi, making it one of the only food sources available to us. One study determined that these types of fungi, specifically, have demonstrated the antioxidant and cytoprotective abilities of EGT against a wide range of cellular stressors. Ergotionein has been linked to cardiovascular benefits, including reduction of inflammation, protection against damaged blood vessels and healthier cholesterol levels, as well as protection against red blood cell disorders, diabetes or liver damage. It can also help reduce swelling (inflammation) in the lungs and damage to the kidneys and brain.
3. Treat and Prevent Fatigue:
Throughout history, a variety of fungi have been used as tonics and herbal remedies to treat fatigue, low immune function and weakness, including shiitakes, cordyceps, reishi mushrooms and, yes, even creminis. Due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, they are useful for increasing immunity against common diseases such as cold or flu, as well as infections. Some research has shown that fungi work by increasing the production of cytokines, parts of the immune system that play a role in the body’s defense against pathogens and many diseases. Mushrooms are unique to a “vegetable” (actually, a fungus) in terms of its high concentration of vitamins B. Vitamins B found in cremini mushrooms include niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), and Riboflavin (vitamin B2) . Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) plays a role in many metabolic processes, such as converting the fats and carbohydrates we get from the food we eat into energy. Vitamin B5, along with other vitamins and B nutrients, is necessary to nourish the brain, contribute to cognitive health and prevent fatigue. Increased consumption of B vitamins has been linked to the reduction of age-related memory loss, migraine headaches, chronic brain syndrome, depression, motion sickness and insomnia. Other benefits of niacin include cholesterol balance and blood pressure levels, while riboflavin helps prevent anemia, treat headaches or migraines, reduce premenstrual syndrome symptoms and prevent eye diseases, including glaucoma.
4. Help Restore Intestinal Health:
Due to their rich supply of antioxidants, in addition to nutrients such as selenium and copper, cremini fungi have shown protection against intestinal permeability (also known as leaky gut syndrome) and reductions in inflammation and oxidative stress. Consumption of cremini mushroom extracts has shown positive effects on conditions that affect the gastrointestinal tract, such as inflammatory bowel disease, fibrosis, ulcerative colitis and colon cancer. Selenium is an essential trace element found in fungi and helps mitigate the effects of cellular oxidative stress due to the way it provides selenium-enzymes, selenium-amino acids and selenium-proteins. These protect the intestinal barrier and seem to play a central role in preventing oxidative lesions that can affect the entire body.
5. Packets of a Potassium Punch:
A serving of cremini mushrooms (approximately one cup) provides approximately 10 percent of your daily potassium, the third most abundant mineral found in the human body. Potassium is necessary for numerous cellular activities and helps balance the levels of other minerals, including sodium, although low potassium is a common problem. The consumption of creminis is a way to help prevent low potassium. A diet rich in potassium has been linked to benefits that include healthier blood pressure, better recovery from exercise, protection against weak bones and reduced fatigue, muscle cramps or spasms, headaches and brain fog.
Nutritional Data of Cremini Mushrooms:
Cremini mushrooms are a type of fungi that have the species name Agaricus bisporus. Fungi are native to grassland areas throughout Europe and North America and are part of the fungal family called basidiomycete. Some of the greatest benefits of cremini mushrooms are due to a little known amino acid called ergotioneína, which also works similarly to antioxidants. Another surprising attribute of fungi is that they provide a range of amino acids (often called “protein building blocks”), especially the type called glutamate. Cremini fungi also contain the phytochemical called conjugated linoleic acid, which according to the research has anticancer properties, in addition to offering protection against atherosclerosis (or “hardening of the arteries”), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and other conditions. Only a very small amount of food actually provides the much needed vitamin D. While mushrooms generally contain very low amounts of vitamin D, they are unique in their ability to produce and provide much more when exposed to sunlight. Many adults (and also children) have vitamin D deficiency because they spend most of their time indoors, which interferes with the body’s ability to produce enough on its own. While they are difficult to find at this time, it is expected that mushrooms that provide higher levels of vitamin D will be easier to obtain in the near future.
When “sun fungi” are exposed to UV light for several hours, they can provide 100 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin D, which offers benefits for bone health, immunity, mental health and more. One cup (72 grams) of raw sliced cremini mushrooms contains approximately:
- 4 calories
- 3 grams of carbohydrates
- 8 grams of protein
- 4 grams of fiber
- 7 micrograms of selenium (27 percent DV)
- 4 milligrams of riboflavin (21 percent DV)
- 4 milligrams of copper (18 percent DV)
- milligrams of niacin (14 percent DV)
- milligram of pantothenic acid (11 percent DV)
- 4 milligrams phosphorus (9 percent DV)
- 323 milligrams of potassium (9 percent DV)
- milligram of thiamine (5 percent DV)
- 8 milligrams of zinc (5 percent DV)
- milligram of manganese (5 percent DV)
- milligram of vitamin B6 (4 percent DV)
- 1 micrograms folate (3 percent DV)
How to Use and Cook Cremini Mushrooms?
Look for cremini mushrooms that appear to be firm, solid, tear-free and have no wrinkled or slippery appearance. To clean the bathrooms, it is better not to rinse them with a lot of water or soak due to the way they absorb a large amount of liquid and can become slippery. Instead, remove any residue from the surface of the fungus with a damp cloth, a rag or a strong paper towel. Gently rub the mushrooms to clean them, being careful not to rub too much, as this can cause them to break. Once you have finished cleaning the mushrooms, pat them with a dry cloth or paper towel to let them dry, so they do not become too soaked when you cook them or prepare them. In situations where you cannot find creminis, try replacing white mushrooms or chopped portobellos. Because portobellos are a bit bigger and firmer, most people prefer to use them when they make vegetarian burgers with grilled mushrooms or stuffed mushrooms. Cremini mushrooms still give you the tasty flavor you are looking for, but they are a better option when you use them sliced in sauces, salads, tortillas, sauteed or casseroles. Cremini mushrooms (and related varieties) combine well with other ingredients such as onion, garlic, feta cheese or goat cheese, basil, parsley, red pepper flakes, garlic, tomatoes, soy sauce, butter, broth, risotto, rice, barley, bulgur and other whole grains.
Possible Side Effects and Precautions:
It is unlikely that Cremini fungi cause allergy, however, if you are allergic to another type of fungus, it is better to avoid creminis and use caution. Mushrooms contain purines that are linked to health problems in some cases due to the way they form uric acid, which can accumulate and cause diseases such as gout or kidney stones. Talk to a doctor about whether fungi could make your symptoms worse if you fight one of these conditions.
Final Thoughts on Cremini Mushrooms:
- Cremini mushrooms are brown, small to medium that are related to portobellos and white mushrooms.
- The benefits of cremini mushrooms include reducing inflammation; help prevent cancer or heart disease; providing high levels of B vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients such as CLA and L-ergothioneine; and providing selenium, copper, potassium, phosphorus and B vitamins.