Vegetables are a key part of a bodybuilder’s diet. But what about mushrooms?
Are mushrooms good or bad for bodybuilding? Mushrooms are good for bodybuilding because they have many essential nutrients (niacin, riboflavin, and copper) that help increase performance. It is also a low calorie, high-fiber food that is great for those in a cutting phase since it increases your fullness levels without adding calories.
Another benefit of mushrooms, which I’ll discuss later, is it’s incredibly high protein content, especially when compared with other vegetables.
In this article, you will learn everything related to mushrooms and bodybuilding, including:
- The calories and macro content of mushrooms
- Pros and cons of adding mushrooms if you are a bodybuilder
- When is the best time to add mushrooms (before or after training)
- Whether mushroom helps in muscle growth
- Tips for adding mushrooms to your bodybuilder diet
Mushrooms For Bodybuilding: Overview
Nutritional Content of Mushrooms
There are different types of mushrooms. Even if they might vary a little, ultimately, they have similar nutritional information.
In 100 g of white button mushrooms, you get the following nutritional content.
- Calories: 22
- Carbs: 3.2 g
- Fiber: 1.0 g
- Protein: 3.1 g
- Fats: 0.3 g
Mushrooms are a low-calorie food. All non-starchy veggies (broccoli, zucchini, carrots) are typically not as high in calories as starchy veggies.
For a bodybuilder in a cutting phase, having low calories foods that are filling (like mushrooms) provides a considerable advantage to stay within the daily calories. They allow you to add a lot of food without adding too many calories.
For example, to get the same amount of calories that half a cup of potatoes provides (58 kcal), you would have to eat almost 4 cups of mushrooms. Notwithstanding, mushrooms provide higher fullness during the day than potatoes.
A bodybuilder in a bulking phase cannot really benefit from low-calorie foods. However, this doesn’t mean you should skip out on vegetables like mushrooms. This is because mushrooms are incredibly high in essential nutrients that your body needs, which I’ll discuss later.
If you’re bulking and you want to turn mushrooms into a higher-calorie food, you can simply add fats like olive oil or butter to the cooking process.
Compared to starchy vegetables, mushrooms don’t provide a lot of carbs. In 100 g of mushrooms, you only get 3 g of carbs, which is not significant. One-third of those carbs come from fiber, making it a higher fiber food too. I’ll talk about the benefits of fiber for bodybuilding later in the article.
If you want to increase your plant-based protein, you should increase your mushroom intake.
Mushrooms contain more protein than other non-starchy vegetables. In 100 g of mushrooms, you get 3 g of protein which is the same as having half an egg.
On the other hand, celery only has 0.7 g of protein per 100 g. So yes, if you are looking to increase your protein content, choosing mushrooms over any other non-starchy veggie can help.
However, mushrooms cannot be considered a complete protein source because it doesn’t have all of the essential amino acids your body needs. Takeaway: Mushrooms can help you slightly increase your protein intake but don’t depend on them to reach your total daily protein.
Mushrooms don’t have a significant fat content since they provide less than 1 gram per 100 g. Thus, it can be said that they don’t have fat in them.
Here are the top three nutrients that mushrooms give you and how they can benefit your bodybuilder diet:
- Riboflavin. It helps convert the food you eat (carbs and fats) into usable energy for the body. It is one of the nutrients that allows you to go to the gym and have an intense training session.
- Niacin. Along with riboflavin (and the other vitamins from the B complex), it helps turn food into usable energy. Additionally, it is a powerful antioxidant that helps decrease inflammation in the body.
- Copper. It has an important role in the production of red blood cells. They carry nutrients and oxygen to your organs (like your muscles), making copper a vital mineral. Also, it helps you boost your immune function.
Check out my complete guide on best vegetables for building muscle.
3 Pros Of Eating Mushrooms For Bodybuilding
Here are the three pros of eating mushrooms if you are a bodybuilder.
1. Mushrooms Increase Blood Flow
There is a type of mushroom called Cordyceps that seems to have performance-boosting benefits.
In a study done in 37 healthy adults, there were given either a capsule containing extract from the mushroom or a placebo. Their maximal oxygen uptake was measured before and after. The results showed a 7% increase in oxygen uptake compared to the placebo group. This means that they had better oxygenation, which helped increase their performance.
2. Mushrooms Have Antioxidant Capacity
Antioxidants are molecules that help decrease inflammation in the body. Mushrooms, especially Chaga mushrooms, seem to have a high antioxidant capacity.
Reducing inflammation, especially after working out, can improve muscle recovery.
Additionally, thanks to its high antioxidant capacity, it can also help you boost your immune system.
3. Mushrooms Are High In Fiber
It is said that half the population in the US doesn’t consume an adequate fiber intake. The general recommendation is to consume 25-30 grams of fiber per day.
Also, one of the most important benefits that fiber gives a bodybuilder is its increase in satiety levels (the feeling of fullness). A study has shown a strong correlation between having a high fiber consumption and a weight reduction.
A study investigating the relationship between consuming fiber and the feeling of fullness showed promising results. Those that consumed fiber ate 22% fewer calories than those that did not.
This possesses a tremendous advantage for a bodybuilder in a cutting phase since it allows you to cut back on the calories without feeling hungry during the day. If you are hungry during the day, you are more likely to snack or eat a heavier meal, increasing your calories and affecting your progress.
1 Con of Eating Mushrooms For Bodybuilding
Here is one con of eating mushrooms if you are a bodybuilder.
Mushrooms Can Cause Gastric Problems
Although fiber plays a huge part in having a healthy diet, as we saw before, it can also cause some problems in people with low fiber tolerance or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (BS).
Since mushrooms are one-third fiber, it might cause some people stomach problems like cramps, bloating, or gas, affecting your performance (especially if you eat it before a workout).
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should avoid mushrooms altogether, but if you know that other high fiber foods (like quinoa, lentils, or other non-starchy vegetables) cause you any stomach distress, then you might want to add mushrooms in moderations.
Can You Eat Mushrooms Before Workouts?
Mushrooms are not the best option to have before a workout. Since they are not very high in carbs, they won’t give you the necessary energy for a training session. Also, since they are high in fiber, they can produce some stomach problems like cramps or bloating before your workout.
You can add some mushrooms to your pre-workout meal as long as you don’t make it the center of your dish. For example, you can have one cup of rice (which provides carbs, hence boosting your energy) along with ¼ cup of mushrooms.
Can You Eat Mushrooms After Workouts?
Yes, you can eat mushrooms after a workout. However, since they are not high in calories and macros. You need to add other foods. Carbs (like rice, lentils, beans) are essential to help replenish your glycogen stores, and protein (like chicken, fish, salmon) helps repair and grow your muscles.
Since mushrooms don’t contain a significant amount of any macronutrient, you can add them to increase the nutrient intake, but don’t make it the main part of your meal. Also, thanks to its antioxidant capacity, it helps decrease inflammation after a workout.
Are Mushrooms Good For Muscle Growth?
No, mushrooms are not the best for muscle growth. Mushrooms don’t have a significant amount of calories or macronutrients. For your muscles to grow, you need to have a calorie surplus (eating more calories than your body needs) and have a high carb, fat, and protein intake. Thus, starchy vegetables are more suitable for this.
Mushrooms still provide essential nutrients to help convert the food you eat into energy. Thus, they play an indirect role in muscle growth, but they are not the primary players.
Tips For Incorporating Mushrooms Into A Bodybuilding Diet
Meal Prep Mushrooms
Mushrooms have the advantage that they can be meal prepped in advance.
You can either wash them and chop them up to add to your favorite salad or add them to your favorite dish.
Also, you can make some mushrooms recipes as a side dish to have veggies available for you to consume. Here are my top three mushrooms recipes that could help you out:
Use Them As A Low Carb Bun
If you are in a cutting phase and want to skip the carbs provided by the buns but you are not too keen on having lettuce as a replacement, mushrooms are a great option.
Two portobello mushrooms can serve as the buns in your favorite burger. This will allow you to save the carbs for other things like sweet potato fries (made in the air fryer) or oven-baked chips.
Add Them To Your Dishes
One of my favorite things about mushrooms is that they are very versatile. They can go with almost any dish.
If you are looking to increase the nutrients in your dish, make sure to add some chopped mushrooms. Not only will this increase the nutritional content of the meal, but it will allow you to have more of the food.
Learn More About Other Vegetables For Bodybuilding
- Is Edamame Good Or Bad For Bodybuilding (Pros & Cons)
- Eating Raw Spinach For Bodybuilding: Can It Help Add Muscle?
- Is Asparagus Good Or Bad For Bodybuilding (Pros & Cons)
- Are Carrots Good Or Bad For Bodybuilding (Pros & Cons)
About The Author
Brenda Peralta is a Registered Dietitian and certified sports nutritionist. In addition to being an author for FeastGood.com, she fact checks the hundreds of articles published across the website to ensure accuracy and consistency of information.