As you may know, keto is a high-fat, low-carb diet that restricts most fruits and vegetables due to their high carb content. This can pose a challenge when it comes to meeting your daily fiber, vitamin, and mineral requirements.
Mushrooms’ fiber and essential nutrient content can play a massive role in helping you stay the keto course.
Mushrooms are an ace in the hole in achieving the keto trifecta—high fat, moderate protein, and low carb.
To stay true to the keto diet, you need your total daily calories — 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men — to come primarily from fats. We break down keto nutrient distribution in the table below (1).
For context, one banana (∼100 grams) may give you anywhere between 23–27 g of carbs.
This begs the question: how low is the carb content of mushrooms compared to the limits of keto?
Low Carbohydrate Content
The carb content of mushrooms ranges between 4 g per 100 grams for white button mushrooms and 8.5 g per 100 grams for king oyster mushrooms.
This is well below the minimum carb threshold you’re aiming for with keto.
For your body to stay in ketosis (burning fat instead of sugar), your daily intake of carbs should be approximately35 g and no more than 50 g.
While you need to be more cautious with shiitake mushrooms, adding a serving of mushrooms (100 g, or about 4 oz) to one or more meals will give you amazing nutritional benefits without spiking your blood sugar or destabilizing ketosis.
Source of Dietary Fiber and Beta-D-Glucan
Despite being low carb, mushrooms have a relatively high fiber content: 1.7–4.4 g of fiber per 100 grams of mushrooms. That’s better than carrots or broccoli!
Fiber is typically found in fruits, veg, and grains, which are all restricted in keto. Therefore, you’ll need all the fiber you can get to aid your digestion while following the keto diet.
Mushrooms contain two types of dietary fiber:
Insoluble fiber: Bulks up your stool and eases the passage of food through the intestines
Soluble fiber: Stabilize blood sugar levels by slowing down nutrient absorption in the gut
Here’s where it gets interesting.
Mushrooms are an excellent source of a specific type of soluble fiber called beta-d-glucan.
Beta-d-glucan, an immunomodulator, binds to immune receptors, up-regulating or down-regulating immune responses according to your body’s needs.
Benefits of beta-d-glucan include:
Decreased levels of bad cholesterol in the blood (LDL), therefore lowering your risk of heart disease (2)
Regulation of the body’s immune response and inflammatory triggers, helping you avoid a prolonged state of inflammation (3)
Lower blood sugar levels due to increased insulin sensitivity in the body’s tissues, which absorb and use glucose more effectively (4)
Functional mushrooms, such as reishi, turkey tail, and cordyceps, are good sources of beta-glucans, giving you about 25% of your recommended daily intake.
To tie it all together, mushrooms’ fiber content may be the answer to challenges common in the keto diet. These include:
Constipation due to low fiber intake
Increased inflammatory markers because of the higher intake of saturated fats
Struggle to maintain ketosis (fat burning) since blood sugar levels may fluctuate based on food, physical activity, medication, hormones, or sleep
A Powerhouse of Vitamins, Minerals, and Antioxidants
Five servings of fruit and vegetables per day give us the vitamins and minerals we need to function healthily.
Unfortunately, keto diet restrictions can severely limit your nutrient options. This is where mushrooms come in, helping you bridge the nutrient gap.
Essential nutrients in mushrooms include:
Potassium: Helps regulate your heartbeat, muscle, and nerve function, as well as fluid balance in the body (5)
Niacin: Aids in converting food into energy and repairing damaged DNA (6)
Pantothenic acid: Helps your metabolism to function properly and aids in the building and breakdown of fats in the body (7)
Selenium: Powerful antioxidant that protects your body from damage caused by excess free radicals and supports proper function of the thyroid gland and production of thyroid hormones (8)
Ergothioneine: Stable antioxidant that protects red and white blood cells from oxidative damage (9)
Glutathione: Antioxidant that’s essential for the proper function of the immune system, building and repair of tissues, and protection of cells from oxidative damage (10)
The ketogenic diet can affect your metabolism, fat breakdown, hormonal balance, kidney function, and energy levels (11).
Boosting the above nutrients with mushrooms will help you remain healthy throughout your keto journey.
Now, let’s look at a few delicious, keto-friendly mushroom recipes.
Why we love this recipe: It’s a simple, mostly hands-off recipe that’s packed with flavor, healthy fats and protein, and the mushroom superfood lion’s mane, which supports heart, brain, and gut health.
Hoffman, O. A., Olson, E. J., & Limper, A. H. (1993). Fungal beta-glucans modulate macrophage release of tumor necrosis factor-alpha in response to bacterial lipopolysaccharide. Immunology letters, 37(1), 19–25. https://doi.org/10.1016/0165-2478(93)90127-n
Chen, J., & Raymond, K. (2008). Beta-glucans in the treatment of diabetes and associated cardiovascular risks. Vascular health and risk management, 4(6), 1265–1272. https://doi.org/10.2147/vhrm.s3803
Batch, J. T., Lamsal, S. P., Adkins, M., Sultan, S., & Ramirez, M. N. (2020). Advantages and Disadvantages of the Ketogenic Diet: A Review Article. Cureus, 12(8), e9639. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.9639
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