For flavor, perhaps. For nutritional or health benefits, NO !
Should you consume raw edible mushrooms and/or mushroom mycelium? Is it always safe to do so ?
- No, absolutely not! Raw mushrooms are largely indigestible because of their tough cell walls, mainly composed of chitin. Eating raw mushrooms can provide flavor, but not nutritional or health benefits. In some cases, eating raw mushrooms could be dangerous.
- Dr. Andrew Weil advises, in agreement with other experts, that mushrooms must be cooked! “Mushrooms have very tough cell walls and are essentially indigestible if you don't cook them. Thoroughly heating them releases the nutrients they contain, including protein, B vitamins, and minerals, as well as a wide range of novel compounds not found in other foods,” (Prevention, Feb 1, 2013).
- Raw mushrooms and raw mycelium may pose health hazards from harmful pathogens and heat-sensitive toxins—potentially causing red blood cell damage, gastrointestinal irritation and allergic reactions, such as skin rashes.
How can one safely use mushrooms?
- By consuming mushrooms or mushroom products that have been cooked, or heat-treated.
- Proper heat treatment denatures toxins, softens fungal tissues, and allows our natural digestive enzymes to access and utilize the inherent benefits of both culinary mushrooms and mushroom supplements: Edible mushrooms should be tenderized by heating to at least 140 ˚F — more preferably over 180˚F — most preferably above 200 ˚F to release their nutrients and render them digestible and safe.
*Two exceptions: Truffles are eaten for flavor, not for nutritional value, and are typically consumed raw or lightly cooked. Mycelium must be neutralized by heat—or, alternatively by solvents such as alcohol—but in any case, mycelium should not be consumed raw. Physicians and medical experts do not recommend ingesting raw, living mycelium.
Thank you for your continued support on the path to help people and planet.
To our health,
PS: Mushrooms are not only the foods that should be cooked. Most people know that raw green potatoes and rhubarb are dangerous if consumed raw. So cooking helps detoxify them. Of course, many vegetables are perfectly safe to consume raw, provided that they are grown free of pathogens and toxins. Mushrooms have unique chemistries that have to be carefully considered. Overall, cooking them makes them safer.
1 Shibata, T., M. Kudou, Y. Hoshi, A. Kudo, N. Nanashima, K. Miyairi, 2010. “Isolation and characterization of a novel two-component hemolysin, erylysin A and B, from an edible mushroom, Pleurotus eryngii.” Toxicon 56: 1436–1442.
2 Kopp, T., P. Mastan, N. Mothes, S. Tzaneva, G. Stingl, A. Tanew, 2009. “Systemic allergic contact dermatitis due to consumption of raw shiitake mushroom.” Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 34: e910–e913.
3 Choi Y., S.M. Lee, J. Chun, H.B. Lee, J. Lee, 2006. “Influence of heat treatment on the antioxidant activities and polyphenolic compounds of Shiitake (Lentinus edodes) mushroom.” Food Chemistry 99(2): 381–387. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2005.08.004.