June 29, 2023

Mushrooms and Diabetes: How Can Mushrooms Help with Blood Sugar Levels?

Learn more with US MED’s guide to adding mushrooms to your diabetes diet and discover how this food can help keep your blood sugar in check. 


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Home / Living with Diabetes / Mushrooms and Diabetes: How Can Mushrooms Help with Blood Sugar Levels?

Have you been working with your healthcare team to create a dietary regimen that takes your diabetes diagnosis into account? In that case, there’s a good chance you know how crucial it is to eat nutritious foods – particularly vegetables. But following a diabetes diet healthy meal plan doesn’t mean you can’t have fun(gi)!  

 Mushrooms aren’t vegetables, per se; instead, they’re the fruiting bodies of a fungus. Despite this, they certainly deliver the sort of nutritional kick most commonly associated with veggies. They’re also often included in this category from a culinary point of view.  

 Are you wondering “are mushrooms good for diabetics?” You’ll find US MED’s complete guide to adding mushrooms to your diabetes diet right here. Read on to learn how this unusual food can help keep your blood sugar in check. 

Health benefits of mushrooms 

If you haven’t eaten mushrooms much before now, the variety of mushroom options available can be intimidating. We’ll talk about some of the most popular mushroom varieties in a bit. For now, all you need to know is this: the health benefits associated with edible mushrooms are consistent across the board. 

Are mushrooms nutritious? 

Of course, that doesn’t answer the question of what mushrooms can actually do for your overall well-being. Let’s start with the basics: a cup of raw mushrooms comes with a single gram of sugar, two grams of carbs, and no fat whatsoever. 

That’s not even considering the nutrients and antioxidants in mushrooms. When you consume the same one-cup serving of mushrooms listed above, you’ll get the following: 

  • 22 percent of your daily value of vitamin B2 
  • 16 percent of your vitamin B3 recommended daily intake 
  • 12 percent of your suggested daily selenium intake 
  • Other minerals (including phosphorus, iron, copper, and potassium) 

Different types of mushrooms 

As we alluded to earlier, when you add mushrooms to your diet, you won’t struggle with a lack of variety. Here are just a few popular edible mushroom varieties to pick from: 

Portobello 

If you’ve ever eaten mushrooms before, there’s a decent chance you’ve had portobello mushrooms – these may be the most well-known edible mushrooms in the world. You can serve Portobello mushrooms in countless ways, but they’re famed for having caps that can be cooked like burger patties. 

Shiitake  

Shiitake mushrooms are another ubiquitous mushroom in the food world, often sauteed or included in soups like miso or ramen. No matter how you eat them, you’ll find a lot to like about their famed anti-inflammatory properties. 

King oyster 

While they aren’t nearly as prominent as the last two mushroom varieties, king oysters are incredibly versatile. And just like the other mushroom species discussed here, they’re low in carbs and rich in nutrients. 

Lion’s mane 

Since they’re relatively rare, you’ll likely have to pay a bit extra for lion’s mane mushrooms. But they’re worth the added expense, particularly if you use them to make vegan “fish” tacos. 

How can mushrooms help with blood sugar? 

There’s no question that mushrooms can have health benefits for just about anyone who wants to try them. However, there’s also no shortage of perks associated with eating mushrooms for diabetes specifically. Here are some reasons to add mushrooms to your meal plan.: 

Low glycemic index/load 

It’s easy to confuse the concepts of “glycemic index” and “glycemic load.” Still, both systems are meant to explain how different foods can affect blood sugar. No matter which system you use, mushrooms are an impressive option. A one-cup serving has a glycemic index of less than 1; at the same time, mushrooms have a “low” glycemic index of 10-15. 

Anti-diabetic properties 

Science suggests that the diabetes-related health benefits tied to mushroom consumption go beyond their low amounts of glucose. Mushrooms are also jam-packed with compounds called “polysaccharides.” So far, research on these components in animals with type 2 diabetes suggests they could: 

  • Lower blood sugar 
  • Reduce blood cholesterol 
  • Improve insulin resistance 
  • Help with pancreatic tissue damage 

Manage glucose levels with mushrooms – and supplies 

Maybe you’ve been eating mushrooms for years, or perhaps you’ve just heard about how they can make life with diabetes more manageable. Either way, there’s no denying that these morsels can be a healthy part of any healthy meal plan t. That’s true thanks to their polysaccharide (fiber) content, minimal glycemic load, and general health benefits. 

Of course, even if you have good reasons for asking “are mushrooms good for diabetes?” your diabetes management strategy shouldn’t rely on a single dietary choice. Instead, it’s a good idea to add mushrooms to a broader healthy diet created with input from your diabetes healthcare team. You’ll also need access to supplies like continuous glucose monitors, insulin pumps, and diabetes testing supplies to keep your diabetes under control. Make sure you’re getting these supplies from a reliable company like US MED. 

Frequently asked questions 

Are mushrooms good for people with diabetes? 

Mushrooms are a fantastic culinary choice for almost anyone, people with diabetes included. They have a glycemic index in the 10-15 range and high amounts of polysaccharides (compounds believed to assist in blood sugar management). 

Do mushrooms help diabetes? 

The diabetes-mushrooms connection is still being investigated from a scientific perspective, but early findings are promising. What we know right now is that mushrooms are packed with nutrients and have a glycemic index of less than 1. 

Do mushrooms reduce blood sugar? 

Preliminary research suggests that the polysaccharides found in mushrooms could contribute to lowering blood sugar. Along with that, mushrooms have a low glycemic load and are highly nutritious. 

Shirley DeLeon Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist

Medical Review by Shirley DeLeon, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

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