With countless myths, theories, beliefs, and contradictory facts surrounding these fungi as a whole, many soon-to-be mothers worry about whether or not they can eat mushrooms during pregnancy.
Many people have varying opinions on this subject. The safety level of mushrooms, along with the taste, varies. After all, there are many types of mushrooms.
So, in this article, we shed some light on the pros and cons of eating mushrooms during pregnancy and tell you all you need to know about this subject.
Mushrooms During Pregnancy
Mushrooms are low-calorie fungi that are good sources of protein and fiber. So, eating some mushrooms can be beneficial for your health without disrupting your pregnancy weight plan.
Some types of mushrooms – like shiitake mushrooms, white button mushrooms, etc. – are mostly safe. But other types – such as the famous magic mushrooms – can be very dangerous, and can cause many side effects.
Proper pre-requisite knowledge and necessary precautions are of utmost importance when adding any type of mushroom to your diet. It is best to talk with your doctor or dietician to ensure that you are going about it correctly. Also ensure you have not developed a mushroom allergy during pregnancy.
Make sure you completely avoid raw mushrooms during pregnancy. If you do decide to add mushrooms to your daily menu, make sure you wash them and cook them properly. If you follow these precautions, you can relax and enjoy your tasty mushrooms during pregnancy.
Nutritional Value Of Mushrooms
Some of the various nutrients found in mushrooms are:
- Vitamin B
- Zinc, and more
So, it is clear that there are many advantages to your health if you safely consume mushrooms during pregnancy. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fibers, in particular, are found in abundance in these fungi. And are critical for the healthy development of the baby.
Benefits of Eating Mushrooms during Pregnancy
You might be wondering what exactly the benefits of eating mushrooms during pregnancyare. If so, here is a list of the possible health benefits of including mushrooms in your pregnancy diet.
- Develops muscle strength – The high protein content of mushrooms is very beneficial for the unborn baby in this way. Protein is vital for the healthy development of the fetal support system in the womb, as well as the placenta
- Good for digestion – Along with protein, mushrooms are also a rich source of fiber. Fiber is essential for the proper functioning of the digestive system
- Maintains blood pressure, sugar levels, and cholesterol – These functions are also done by the high amount of soluble fiber present in mushrooms. As every pregnant woman experiences issues connected to these, mushrooms can be very helpful for soon-to-be mothers
- Boosts immunity – Mushrooms are rich in antioxidants. These help you stay illness-free throughout your pregnancy by giving your immune system a boost
- Lots of vitamin B – Since mushrooms have a lot of vitamin B in them, they are very helpful in many different areas. They help with the baby’s brain development and are also beneficial for the heart and circulatory system for both mother and child
- Energy – Some of the nutrients found in mushrooms are Thiamine and Niacin Acid. They can help relieve fatigue and also act as an energy booster
- Fetal development – The riboflavin present in mushrooms play a big role in the development of the fetus and the physical health of the mother. Riboflavin helps in the development of bones, muscles, and nerves and also improves eyesight
- Improves hemoglobin levels – During pregnancy, the volume of the blood increases. This means that it is a time when your body needs more hemoglobin. Mushrooms are rich sources of iron, which help to promote the production of hemoglobin in your body
Risks And Side-Effects Of Eating Mushrooms During Pregnancy
However, as you probably already know, there can be some serious risks and side-effects, especially if you are eating mushrooms during pregnancy. Here are a few of them:
- Birth defects – Some mushrooms are poisonous or toxic in nature. These mushrooms, if consumed by the to-be-mother, can cause serious physical birth defects in the child
- Hallucinations – A few specific mushrooms are known hallucinogens. These alter your brain activity. If you eat them during pregnancy, you could begin hallucinating and it can be damaging for the fetus
- Cancer – This is only a side effect that comes with consuming dirty and raw mushrooms. Some mushrooms contain carcinogens. These carcinogens can cause cancer in the mother or even the fetus
- Digestive issues – Mushrooms are full of fiber. While this can be a good thing, if your body isn’t accustomed to a high-fiber diet, it can also cause a lot of digestive issues such as vomiting and diarrhea
Medicinal Mushrooms During Pregnancy
Other than the mushrooms that provide the benefits described above, some mushrooms have distinct and specific medicinal properties. These properties include liver-protection, anti-hypertension, and more. These mushrooms are referred to as medicinal mushrooms.
Eating medicinal mushrooms during pregnancyis generally seen as safe. Many professionals and pharmaceutical companies have deemed them harmless and even beneficial for pregnant women. However, this is not always the case for everyone.
That being said, if you wish to eat these mushrooms during pregnancy, it is best if you first consult your doctor or a dietician to ensure it is safe for you.
A few medicinal mushrooms are shiitake mushrooms, reishi mushrooms, and turkey tails.
Canned Mushrooms during Pregnancy
There is not much debate for the question “Are canned mushrooms safe during pregnancy”. Most people agree that it is best to avoid canned mushrooms during pregnancy, or even canned foods altogether. This is for many reasons.
Canned mushrooms might contain unsafe and unhealthy preservatives. This can cause a lot of problems for the baby and for the mother.
Most of the cans and tins that contain the food also often contain BPA, which sometimes seeps into the food. BPA or Bisphenol A is an industrial chemical compound. Many studies show that consuming BPA during pregnancy can cause a litany of negative side-effects.
So, you should try to avoid canned mushrooms during pregnancy.
Safe Mushrooms To Eat During Pregnancy
So below is the list of safe mushrooms that you can include in your pregnancy diet-
- Button Mushroom – As long as they are properly cleaned and cooked beforehand, you can safely eat button mushrooms during pregnancy
- Oyster Mushroom – You must make sure they are fresh before you eat oyster mushrooms during pregnancy. It is mostly safe to consume oyster mushrooms during pregnancy, but keep in mind that in large amounts, it can cause stomach discomfort
- Shiitake mushrooms – Both dry and fresh shiitake mushrooms are safe to eat during pregnancy. Usually, only the cap of this mushroom is eaten. Shiitake mushrooms have many health benefits that make them one of the best types of mushrooms to eat during pregnancy
- Porcini mushrooms – Although they are pretty expensive, no one can deny that they are incredibly delicious. This type of mushroom is commonly used in Italian cuisine
- True morel mushrooms – These are generally considered safe for pregnant women. However, make sure they are cleaned properly. It can be difficult to clean Morels due to their spongy nature.
Unsafe Mushrooms During Pregnancy
The below types of mushrooms are considered unsafe during pregnancy and are best avoided-
- Reishi mushrooms – They are usually so good for the health that they are commonly used in Eastern medicine. However, it is best to avoid them during pregnancy. It is not proven that they are unsafe but there have been some hypotheses in the area
- Magic mushrooms – You may have heard of this notorious mushroom. Magic mushrooms contain Psilocybin, which alters brain activity. This makes it a hallucinogen. It is very dangerous to eat magic mushrooms during pregnancy. It is even considered as an illegal drug in many places
- Poisonous mushrooms – This includes Death Cap, Crimini Mushrooms, Deadly Webcap, Destroying Angels, Autumn Skullcap, and more. Steer clear of them.
Safety of Mushroom Dishes for Pregnancy
Let’s now see how safe are some common mushroom dishes during pregnancy-
Can you eat fried mushrooms while pregnant? Absolutely! As long as the mushroom is of the safe variety and not raw, you can safely consume mushrooms during pregnancy. Of course, you must keep in mind that eating too much-fried food of any kind can lead to gestational diabetes when you are pregnant.
It is usually safe to have mushroom soup during pregnancy. However, if it is cream of mushroom soup, make sure that the milk or cream is pasteurized.
If you are eating mushrooms on pizza during pregnancy, make sure that the mushroom used is cooked with the topping. This is usually not a worry as they usually are, but verify just in case.
This dish is NOT safe to eat during pregnancy. Mushroom pâté may contain harmful ingredients like raw eggs. They can also contain listeria which has many harmful effects on pregnant and non-pregnant people alike.
Mushrooms are, for the most part, completely safe to eat during pregnancy. They have a low amount of calories, so they will not disrupt your pregnancy weight loss regimen. They are rich in nutrients that are essential for the growth and development of the baby. They give a lot of energy- which pregnant women are generally short of. And they are very, very tasty.
However, there are a few types of mushrooms that can be very harmful, and even deadly, during pregnancy. Make sure you avoid them like the plague. Listed above.
You should also ensure that the mushrooms you eat have been cooked thoroughly and in the right way. Do not eat raw mushrooms. Do not eat dirty mushrooms. Clean and cook them properly before consumption.
If you follow all these minor rules, then you don’t have to worry about abstaining from your favorite mushroom dishes during pregnancy. You can just kick back and relax with a nice yummy plate of mushroom pie.