Mushrooms, fungi, nutrient content, health benefits, culinary applications, third food kingdom



  1. Feeney, Mary Jo MS, RDN, FADA, FAND
  2. Miller, Amy Myrdal MS, RDN
  3. Roupas, Peter PhD


Mushrooms are fungi, biologically distinct from plant- and animal-derived foods (fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, protein [meat, fish, poultry, legumes, nuts, and seeds]) that comprise the US Department of Agriculture food patterns operationalized by consumer-focused MyPlate messages. Although mushrooms provide nutrients found in these food groups, they also have a unique nutrient profile. Classified into food grouping systems by their use as a vegetable, mushrooms' increasing use in main entrees in plant-based diets is growing, supporting consumers' efforts to follow dietary guidance recommendations. Mushrooms' nutrient and culinary characteristics suggest it may be time to reevaluate food groupings and health benefits in the context of 3 separate food kingdoms: plants/botany, animals/zoology, and fungi/mycology.