Can Babies Eat Mushrooms? The Surprising Truth
I was hanging out with my friend Melissa the other day when we came across the question “Can babies eat mushrooms?”
We were talking about food for our babies, that’s why. Her three-year old is starting to be a picky eater, so she wants to know how she can encourage her to eat more healthful foods.
We enumerated all the fruits and vegetables we know and the dishes we can prepare with them as the main ingredients. Since my daughter is big now, I pretty much had more to suggest. But, surprisingly, I had no answer to the question.
So I did what I do best--consult Google!
Here’s the surprising truth about it.
Can babies eat mushrooms?
Yes, they can. But be cautious.
There’s no medical advice that supports or disputes when can babies eat mushrooms. We scoured the web for medical articles but couldn’t find any.
What we found is a medically-reviewed article from Healthline that says there are mushroom species that are generally safe for your babies.
What I’m trying to say here is if you want to know at what age you can introduce mushrooms to your baby the best thing to do is to ask your doctor about it.
When can babies eat mushrooms?
As I said, there’s no official medical advice about the topic, but the web seems to be in unison in saying you have to wait until your baby is at least 10 months old.
But again, be cautious.
There are thousands of mushroom species. The bad news is not all of them are edible. A good number of them are poisonous. But the bad news does not end there.
According to Ohio State University, “There is no test or characteristic to distinguish edible from poisonous mushrooms.” The article lists (and debunked) some of the myths about identifying edible mushrooms such as:
Poisonous mushrooms tarnish a silver spoon.
If it peels, you can eat it.
All mushrooms growing on wood are edible.
Mushrooms that squirrels or other animals eat are safe for humans.
All mushrooms in meadows and pastures are safe to eat.
All white mushrooms are safe.
Poisonous mushrooms can be detoxified by parboiling, drying or pickling.
All of the above are NOT TRUE.
In other words, if you’re a newbie mushroom picker, you have to be on guard, especially that you are going to feed your baby with it.
How do you stay safe?Choose mushrooms that have been proven to be safe. Reference recommends cremini mushrooms for babies because they are the safest and best tasting.
Be Careful of Allergens
Another consideration you should think about is the allergens. If you or your spouse or anyone in your immediate family has a history of allergic reactions to mushrooms, you should be cautious when giving one to your baby.
Chances are, she’ll have an allergic reaction too. To be safe, ask her doctor about it.
The Health Benefits of Mushrooms
If you’re wondering why thousands of people are drawn to mushrooms despite the fact that some of them could be poisonous, it’s because mushrooms have several health benefits.
BBC Good Food enumerates the following:
Mushrooms are one of the few non-animal sources of Vitamin D. As we all know, Vitamin D is good for our bones, teeth, immune system, brain, and the nervous system.
Vitamin D also regulates the insulin level, which can significantly help diabetes patients. It also aids in lung and cardiovascular functions.1
B vitamins can do so much for our body. In fact, it’s needed for our overall body health so that we can function daily. Some of the benefits of Vitamin B are promoting cell health, energy levels, good eyesight, healthy appetite, and proper nerve function among others.2
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant present in many foods. This element is crucial for “reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis, and protection from oxidative damage and infection.”3
Protein and Fiber
Aside from the powerful vitamins and minerals listed above, all mushrooms have proteins and fiber in them as well, although the amount varies depending on the species. Elementary science taught us what proteins and fibers are for; hence, I will no longer explain them.
How to Prepare Mushroom for Babies
There are several ways you can cook mushroom for babies, but one thing you have to remember is:
Do Not Give Raw Mushrooms.
Whether it’s the safest or mildest mushroom you have, your baby (and even you) should not eat it raw.
If you’re in a hurry, you may saute it in olive oil then serve it with a dressing of your choice. If your baby is not a fan of plain-tasting shrooms, you may add them instead to the pasta sauce or any soup. You can grate them to conceal.
If you’re worried that cooking mushrooms could affect their nutritional values, go for the grilling and microwaving route.
A study by Ramos, Lanao, Clavijo, and Andrade states that when mushrooms are grilled or microwaved for a short time, they “reached higher values of antioxidant activity.” On the contrary, boiling and frying significantly reduce the antioxidant properties.
Here are some recipes you can try for your baby.
So Going Back to The Question…
Yes, babies can eat mushrooms, but you have to remember:
- She has to be at least 10 months old
- Choose the species that are proven safe
- If your family has a history of mushroom allergies, don’t give one to you baby
- Choose grilling and microwaving over boiling and frying