Not everyone enjoys the taste and texture of mushroom, but no-one can deny that this humble fungus is packed full of nutrients and vitamins.
Thanks to their antioxidant properties, mushrooms have been used for thousands of years.
They are also a vegan diet staple, helping non-meat eaters increase their vitamin and mineral intake in order to remain healthy.
So, is mushroom protein powder the next best thing, or just the latest fad?
What is mushroom protein powder?
As you would expect from the name, mushroom protein powder is made from dried and powdered mushrooms.
Most edible mushroom species are used to make the powder, but shiitake, reishi and lion’s mane are the most popular.
Protein powder is used as a nutritional supplement. It helps active people increase their protein intake when they don’t have time to make a full protein-based meal.1
Is mushroom protein powder vegan?
Mushroom protein powder is made with organic plant protein, making it one of the best vegan protein powders available.
Mushroom protein powder has a subtle nutty taste and has been specifically formulated to be palatable. It also has a very fine texture, making it easy to drink.
This means it is suitable for vegans and vegetarians who don’t particularly enjoy the taste of mushrooms but are looking for a way to increase their protein intake.
However, most traditional protein powders are added to milk to further increase protein and fat intake.
While mushrooms are used to create a non-dairy protein powder, vegans will need to use water or a plant-based milk (such as almond or coconut) to ensure it remains free from animal products.
Why are mushrooms so healthy?
Mushrooms are well known as a superfood because of their vast range of health benefits, which include:
Vitamin D for strong bones and teeth
Mushrooms contain excellent levels of vitamin D.2
The body uses vitamin D to regulate calcium and phosphate levels, maintaining the health of teeth and bones.3
Help to maintain normal blood pressure
Mushrooms are high in potassium, which is essential for regulating the body’s fluid balance.4
It also helps the nervous system and muscles function normally.5
Similarly, potassium may help reduce blood pressure by cleansing the body of excess sodium.6
This is because too much salt stops the kidneys from being able to remove fluid efficiently.7
When fluid builds up in the body, it causes the blood vessels to stiffen and narrow, making it hard for the heart to pump blood around the body.
Many people are deficient in potassium. Because we get all the potassium we need through what we eat and drink, mushroom protein powder can help support the body’s natural levels.
Help with weight loss and muscle building
Mushrooms are naturally low in calories and have virtually no fat.8
They are also a vegan-friendly protein source.9
As a result, large quantities – such as that provided in protein powder – can help vegans burn excess fat and build muscle when combined with a healthy, balanced diet.
Help to improve athletic performance
One of the main functions of protein is to rebuild muscle and tissue, especially after a strenuous workout.10
As a result, drinking vegan mushroom protein powder after a workout can speed up the recovery process, helping you perform better when you next train.
Research has found that mushrooms may contain high amounts of two important antioxidants: ergothioneine and glutathione.11
Both compounds help to fight ageing and improve overall health.
How should I use vegan mushroom protein powder?
You do not just have to limit your use of mushroom protein powder to a vegan protein shake – there are so many other ways to serve it, too.
For example, if you love coffee, add a sprinkle to your morning cup of Joe.
You can also add it to your pancake batter to create delicious and healthy protein pancakes.
The possibilities are endless with a little culinary imagination!
If your vegan diet is already rich in protein or you do not work out with heavy weights, you may not need the additional protein that this plant-based protein powder provides.
However, if you know your protein levels are lower than they should be because of your meat-free diet, mushroom powder is an excellent way to keep your body topped up with this all-important nutrient.
Author: Bhupesh Panchal, Regulatory Affairs
Bhupesh started his career as a clinical toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products. After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.
In his spare time, Bhupesh likes to cycle and has been learning to speak Korean for several years.
Last updated: 4 February 2021