Cooking with cremini mushrooms not only makes your meals more flavorful but can also provide a range of impressive health benefits.
What are Cremini Mushrooms?
Cremini mushrooms are scientifically known as Agaricus bisporus, a moderately mature white button mushroom. These mushrooms are slightly older examples of white button mushrooms and baby bella mushrooms, and slightly younger examples of portobellos. Many people don’t realize that so many of our favorite mushrooms are actually the same species simply aged for different amounts of time.
Cremini mushrooms are brown in color, possessing a slightly firmer and meatier texture than young whiter mushrooms, along with a more earthy and pleasant flavor. They are popular in cooking for their strong flavor, and their flexibility in so many recipes.
Nutritionally speaking, cremini mushrooms are very high in copper, phosphorus, and selenium, as well as B-complex vitamins, potassium, and zinc. This is in addition to good amounts of protein, at roughly 1/2 gram in each medium-sized mushroom. These mushrooms are also very low in calories, providing only 16 calories in a single cup, but offer very high levels of polyphenolic compounds and other antioxidants.
Health Benefits of Cremini Mushrooms
The top health benefits of cremini mushrooms include their ability to prevent certain types of cancer, soothe inflammation, protect cardiovascular health, and boost gut health, among others.
There are actually as many antioxidants in mushrooms as there are in bell peppers, apples, and cauliflower, although people often overlook the cancer-fighting potential of these fungi, their impact on oxidative stress and chronic disease is well researched. It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory food.
With good amounts of dietary fiber, as well as gallic acid, flavonoids, potassium, and selenium, these mushrooms are a comprehensive protector of heart health, with the ability to lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and lower your risk of coronary heart disease at the same time!
Mushrooms are known to be very effective in boosting the immune system, which can ensure that the body’s resources are being used wisely. Additionally, these mushrooms are high in B vitamins, which can stimulate the metabolism and improve energy generation. Chronic diseases that have a connection to poor metabolic health include obesity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, premature aging, dementia, and diabetes.
The combination of selenium and various antioxidants in these mushrooms can help protect against leaky gut syndrome, a very common gastrointestinal condition. By strengthening the integrity of the stomach lining, you can boost nutrient uptake and overall gut health.
Substitutes for Cremini Mushrooms
The best substitutes for these mushrooms include using:
Since cremini mushrooms are the same as the white button and portobello mushrooms (just at a different growth stage), they are the most obvious substitutes. The flavor may be different, but the consistency is largely the same. If you choose eggplant, zucchini, tofu or cauliflower, you are choosing based on consistency and the ability of those vegetables and proteins to pick up other flavors.
Cremini vs Portobello vs Baby Bella
All three of these mushrooms belong to the same species, but at different points in growth, they change in texture, flavor, and color.
- Baby bellas are actually another name for creminis since they do look like smaller versions of those older, meatier mushrooms.
- White button mushrooms are the youngest form of this species before the caps begin to widen and turn brown.