8 Amazing Health Benefits of Truffle

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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A truffle is a rare and delicious culinary treat that is highly sought after throughout the world. Truffles are also some of the most expensive foods in the world, costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars per kilogram.

What is Truffle?

Truffles are an underground mushroom from the Tuber genus, many of which are extremely valuable for their potent flavor and culinary applications. Although not everyone enjoys mushrooms, truffles have a unique and delectable taste and are particularly well represented in French cuisine. Most truffle varieties form a symbiotic relationship with certain types of trees, ranging from oak and hazelnut to pecan and beech trees.

A close-up shot of black truffles kept atop a wooden table

Black truffles boast an impressive nutrient profile & are high in vitamins & minerals. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size :
Total lipid (fat) [g]31.93
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]49.61
Energy [kcal]511
Water [g]10.07
Caffeine [mg]17
Theobromine [mg]170
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]43.09
Fiber, total dietary [g]2.8
Calcium, Ca [mg]167
Iron, Fe [mg]1.96
Magnesium, Mg [mg]53
Phosphorus, P [mg]181
Potassium, K [mg]323
Sodium, Na [mg]86
Zinc, Zn [mg]1.94
Copper, Cu [mg]0.41
Selenium, Se [µg]4.2
Retinol [µg]125
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]126
Carotene, beta [µg]15
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.62
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]0.2
Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]5
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]0.1
Thiamin [mg]0.1
Riboflavin [mg]0.28
Niacin [mg]0.33
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.04
Folate, total [µg]11
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0.65
Choline, total [mg]41.1
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]5.4
Folate, food [µg]10
Folate, DFE [µg]10
Cholesterol [mg]41
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]20.02
4:0 [g]0.49
6:0 [g]0.22
8:0 [g]0.18
10:0 [g]0.4
12:0 [g]0.43
14:0 [g]1.66
16:0 [g]8.82
18:0 [g]7.27
18:1 [g]6.71
18:2 [g]1.27
18:3 [g]0.13
20:4 [g]0.01
16:1 [g]0.46
20:1 [g]0.01
20:5 n-3 (EPA) [g]0
22:5 n-3 (DPA) [g]0
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]7.82
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]1.45
Sources include : USDA

Truffles command such high prices because they don’t keep well for very long after they are dug up, and they are difficult to cultivate. Specially trained dogs or pigs often must be used to sniff out the truffles underground. According to a study conducted in Italy by Antonietta Mello et al., the growing season for these mushrooms is also relatively short – only 3-4 months in length – which may explain the high price tag. Some of the various types of truffles include black truffles, garlic truffles, summer truffles, and white truffles, the last being the most prized and expensive of all.

Truffle Nutrition

In terms of nutrition, these mushrooms offer dietary fiber, as well as protein, phosphorus, iron, and calcium, according to a research report by Amina Hamza et al. There is no fat and it has a low level of carbohydrates. Vitamin D is also found in these mushrooms. However, since such a small amount of these mushrooms are used in most dishes, they are not commonly eaten for their nutritional value or density.

Health Benefits

There are various health benefits associated with eating truffles, including lowering cholesterol and preventing premature aging, among others (Hamza A et al, 2016; Saad Sabbar D et al, 2018).

  • Reduce oxidative stress
  • Slow down the aging process
  • Protect the liver from damage
  • Anticancer potential
  • Lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease
  • Aid the immune system with anti-microbial properties
  • Healthy meat alternative for non-meat eaters
  • Provide relief from trachoma and other eye infections

While the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of truffles have been researched, further studies can help to discover the extent of health benefits that these delicious, exotic mushrooms can offer. Also, while truffles are considered in folklore as an aphrodisiac, there is no scientific evidence for the same.

How to Use?

There are many wonderful ways to use truffles, such as the following:

Due to the exorbitant price, however, it is always recommended to use truffles sparingly. The potent flavor is enough to overpower a dish when used in excess.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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