Are Mushrooms Keto-Friendly? Diversifying Your Keto Menu

Are Mushrooms Keto-Friendly? Diversifying Your Keto Menu

Whether your goal is to lose weight or improve your health, a ketogenic (keto) diet can be highly beneficial. While it comes with many impressive advantages, this type of diet requires creativity to ensure diversity.

Mushrooms are a great way to diversify your keto diet. They are tasty, low-carb, and healthy. Can you eat mushrooms on keto? Let’s take a closer look.

What Is the Keto Diet?

The Keto diet appeared back in 1921 when doctors discovered its benefits for treating epilepsy in children. However, once antiepileptic medication appeared, the diet lost popularity. Recently, dieticians revived keto for weight loss purposes.

This type of diet adjusts the way your body gets energy. Traditionally, your body uses carbohydrates to generate energy. If you remove carbs from your diet, the body starts looking for alternative sources.

Eventually, it ends up breaking down stored fats to generate ketone bodies or ketones. Then, the body starts using ketones for energy. When this happens, you enter a special state called ketosis.

The key benefits of using a keto diet include:

  • Weight loss
  • Clearer skin
  • Fewer cancer risks
  • Heart health improvements
  • Reduced number of seizures (for people who have epilepsy)

Going on a keto diet doesn’t mean eliminating carbohydrates altogether. You simply reduce their consumption to 5% to 10%. The rest of your diet is fats (55%-60%) and proteins (30% — 35%)

Mushrooms and Keto Diet

Are mushrooms low carb? They most definitely are. That’s what makes them a perfect fit for your keto diet. Meanwhile, the nutritional value of mushrooms is impressive. They contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that come with numerous health benefits.

Antioxidants (selenium, vitamin C) in keto-friendly mushrooms can help your body fight free radicals.  

Free radicals are a byproduct of numerous body processes. When too many of them stay in your body, they create oxidative stress that may contribute to diabetes, inflammation, hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, and even cancer.

By making mushrooms a part of your diet, you can reap such benefits as:

  • Lower risk of lung, breast, and prostate cancer thanks to antioxidants.
  • Lower risk of diabetes thanks to the high content of dietary fiber (just one cup of mushrooms gives you almost 1 gram of fiber).
  • Better heart health thanks to fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.
  • Healthier pregnancy thanks to folate (it’s worth noting that the keto diet isn’t always a good choice during pregnancy).
  • Better muscle control and memory thanks to choline

When people go on a keto diet, they often face a lack of nutrients. Mushrooms can help you improve your nutrient balance. Meanwhile, they offer a lot of fiber, which is also hard to get on a ketogenic diet.

Mushroom Carb Count

How many carbs are in mushrooms? One cup of mushrooms (70 grams) contains 2.3 g of carbs. The low carb count coupled with high fiber content makes them similar to avocados and nuts.

The lowest carb mushrooms are morel mushrooms, truffles, portobello, and cloud ear.

Low Carb Mushrooms: Downsides

While low carb mushrooms can be an excellent addition to your keto diet, eating them comes with certain downsides.
  • Skin rashes – some people are allergic to mushrooms. That’s why you need to be careful about adding them to your diet. Don’t eat too many at once.
  • Poisoning – mushroom poisoning is still a common problem around the world. That’s why it’s important to buy mushrooms from trusted sources.
  • Digestive issues – mushrooms are hard to digest. So, they may cause gas and other indigestion symptoms in people who usually suffer from stomach-related problems.

The key side effect of a mushroom-rich diet is a feeling of hunger. If your goal is to lose weight, be careful when eating too many mushrooms. They could stimulate your appetite. However, mushrooms could also help you lose weight.

Studies show that mushrooms in your diet could help you fight obesity. Their high antioxidant content help fight inflammation and protect against obesity-related consequences, such as hypertension.

Tips for Handling Low Carb Mushrooms for Your Keto Menu

While you are on keto, mushrooms can diversify your diet tremendously. They give you an opportunity to cook a great variety of meals. However, before enjoying the benefits, you need to know a few important rules.

  • Avoid plastic bags – when you store mushrooms in a plastic bag, you create a moist environment that stimulates mold growth. If you see mushrooms in a plastic bag at the store, don’t buy them. Look for an open container.  
  • Keep odors away – when it comes to smells, mushrooms are like sponges. If you put them next to something that has a strong odor, they’ll absorb it. So, avoid putting them next to smelly food.
  • Clean mushrooms properly – if mushrooms still have chunks of earth on them, you need to make sure it’s all gone before you eat it. Earth can contain many hazards, including bacteria that could cause serious health problems when ingested.
  • Inspect mushrooms before buying – if you don’t like the odor or see a slimy surface, mushrooms are probably going bad. Don’t buy them.
  • Store them well – the best way to store mushrooms is to keep them in an open container. Mushrooms require abundant air circulation.

When cooking mushrooms for your keto meals, always remember about other ingredients in the recipe. For example, mayonnaise is a great addition to your mushroom dishes. Meanwhile, mixing mushrooms with beans is a bad idea.

How to Eat Mushrooms on a Keto Diet

There are several ways you can eat mushrooms on a keto diet:

Raw Mushrooms

Many mushrooms taste great when raw. You can slice them and add them to any salad that doesn’t contain high-carb ingredients. Mayo or Greek yogurt can make the dish even tastier.

The key to enjoying raw mushrooms in your salad is making sure they are clean. While some cooks advise against washing mushrooms because they absorb water, the absorption isn’t high enough to make a significant difference.

Sauteed Mushrooms

Sauteing mushrooms with olive oil and garlic is an excellent way to cook them quickly and thoroughly. Keep in mind that mushrooms contain a lot of water, so it will take some time for the moisture to evaporate.

Boiled Mushrooms

If you want a tasty and nutrient-filled soup, consider using mushrooms to create a broth. Then you can add other low-carb and protein-packed ingredients. The next step is cooking a creamy mushroom soup.

Mushrooms are a perfect match for many different dishes. You can add them to salads, casseroles, soups, and pizzas. Just make sure you check whether you are allergic to the mushroom by eating a small portion first.

Adding Mushrooms to a Keto Diet

Are mushrooms good for your keto diet? They definitely are. If you aren’t allergic to mushrooms, they can become an excellent addition to your menu. Mushrooms are packed with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. They have various health benefits. They are tasty too!

Take the time to browse mushroom recipes to diversify your keto diet and achieve your weight or health-related goals.

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