Replacing Red and Processed Meat With Mushrooms Linked to a Lower Risk of Early Death (Food)

Replacing a daily serving of red or processed meat with one serving of mushrooms lowers the risk of dying from any cause, according to a study published in Nutrition Journal.

Researchers compared mushroom intake with all-cause and cause-specific mortality data from participants of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) extant data (1988–1994). Those who consumed more mushrooms had a lower risk for all-cause mortality when compared to those who did not eat mushrooms.

Results also showed replacing 1 daily serving of red or processed meats with mushrooms was associated with a lower risk of death. A possible mechanism for the reduced risk includes the antioxidant properties of ergothioneine and glutathione, compounds associated with high mushroom intake.

These findings support a previous meta-analysis that showed a protective effect of these same antioxidants against breast cancer.


  1. Ba DM, Gao X, Muscat J, et al. Association of mushroom consumption with all-cause and cause-specific mortality among American adults: prospective cohort study findings from NHANES III. Nutr J. 2021;20(1):38-49. doi: 10.1186/s12937-021-00691-8
  2. Ba DM, Ssentongo P, Beelman RB, Muscat J, Gao X, Richie JP. Higher mushroom consumption is associated with lower risk of cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Adv Nutr. 2021;nmab015-nmab029. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmab015

Provided by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

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