Why Mushrooms Turn Toxic: How To Pick the Non-Toxic Ones


Mushrooms taste delicious, and they have been used in various recipes from across the globe. They are juicy, succulent, and often referred to as the ‘meat of the forest.’ Adding to their credibility is their rich nutrient profile, including protein, fibre, antioxidants, and essential nutrients such as calcium, iron, folate, and vitamin C, to name a few. However, despite all the goodness, it’s crucial to exercise caution when selecting mushrooms for consumption, as some can be toxic to health. So, let’s explore how to distinguish between toxic and non-toxic mushrooms before adding them to your pantry. Read on.
Also Read: Cooking Hack: How To Dehydrate Mushrooms To Increase Their Shelf Life And Use Them

Understanding Mushrooms: Even ‘Edible’ Mushrooms Require Careful Handling

Mushrooms can be broadly categorized into two segments: edible mushrooms and inedible ones, or infected fungi. While you can easily avoid the inedible varieties altogether, the problem arises when the edible ones cause adverse reactions. According to a report by Michigan State University, “Even ‘edible’ mushrooms need to be handled properly to prevent illness.” The reason is simple: each person’s body may react differently to mushrooms. For example, you could eat a bowlful of mushrooms ten times and be fine, but on the eleventh time, you might fall severely sick due to toxins.

Why Do Edible Mushrooms Turn Toxic?

A study published in the Sage journal revealed that the main reason for edible mushrooms turning poisonous is associated with incorrect harvesting and processing. After a mycological analysis of the circumstances of mushroom collection, transport, and storage, it was found that the “largest percentage of poisoning was connected with long-term storage of mushroom dishes, collecting, and storing them in plastic bags, and long storage of mushrooms.” Therefore, it is crucial to handle mushrooms properly to ensure healthy consumption.
Also Read: Do You Like Mushrooms? Try Out These 5 Unique Recipes At Home


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What Are The Major Side-Effects Of Mushroom Poisoning?

The symptoms of mushroom poisoning are related to the toxins ingested in the body. It primarily affects the gut, slowing down metabolism and other bodily functions. It can also lead to the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut, causing diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, dizziness, and severe food poisoning in some cases. For certain people, it may even become life-threatening.

How To Identify And Eat Mushrooms Safely:

1. Go For Quality From Trusted Sources:

While mushrooms are readily available in the market, it’s advisable to purchase them only from trusted sources that follow strict safety measures during handling.

2. Know The Source Of The Mushroom:

If you pick mushrooms yourself, make sure to check the tree they grow on. The type and quality of the tree can directly affect the chemical composition of the mushroom, determining whether it’s toxic or non-toxic.

3. Avoid Prolonged Storage:

Once purchased, do not store mushrooms in your pantry for an extended period. Follow the storing guidelines and use them before the expiry date.

4. Thoroughly Clean The Mushrooms:

Properly cleaning mushrooms is essential to make them safe for consumption. Besides washing them in running water, we recommend scrubbing each mushroom with some salt to remove dirt and toxins.

5. Cook Thoroughly:

Never consume mushrooms raw. Cooking them thoroughly helps kill germs and viruses, making them safe for consumption.
Now that you know how to pick the right kind of mushrooms, get some for yourself and prepare a delicious dish for dinner. Here are some mushroom recipe options for you to try out.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.


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