Make back to school easier with the added might of mushrooms

Mushroom Education Series, Vitamin D

Helping kids understand the health benefits of mushrooms

Whilst we all enjoy having the kids home for the holidays, getting them back into a routine when school resumes is essential. Whether it’s to help keep them active in the playground or switched on in the classroom, you can rest assured knowing mushrooms are always an excellent choice.

Mushrooms are super sources of vitamin D, antioxidants and other biochemical nutrients known to help strengthen immune systems. This is especially important this year as kids are being vaccinated and working up the extra defences needed to help protect them from serious complications that can arise from COVID-19.

As a mother of three myself, I understand that mushrooms may not be the first ingredient that comes to mind when working out what to put in your kid’s lunch boxes or on the plates of fussier eaters, but after reading my ABCD&E’s of mushroom immune health goodness, you’ll see just how powerful the wonderful mushroom can be.

We’ve also included a range of healthy and delicious mushroom-based recipes so you can see just how easy is it to take advantage of this incredible superfood.  
Health benefits of Australian mushrooms

A - Antioxidants to defend the body

Increasing intakes of wholefood antioxidants is something that can help both small and bigger immune systems to defend the body. Mushrooms contain a number of potent antioxidants that include catechin, myricetin, quercetin, kaempferol and many more. They are also high in other nutrients that can act as antioxidants in the body, most notably potassium, selenium, copper, and magnesium.

Health benefits of Australian mushrooms

B- Beta-glucans to influence your immunity

B-glucan is a type of polysaccharide that is found in higher amounts in mushrooms. While B-glucans are also found in oats and barley, and are now claimed to be able to lower cholesterol, research has found that the type of b-glucan in mushrooms is a little bit different. It also seems as though this difference could mean the b-glucans in mushrooms are able to bind more easily to the immune system and able to positively influence its defence type cells against infection and illness.
Health benefits of Australian mushrooms

C- Chitin for a healthy gut and immune system

Chitin is also another polysaccharide type carbohydrate which is a key component of the fibrous wall of mushrooms. Also known as a prebiotic type of fibre, it provides an essential food source to the numerous types of good gut bacteria and the cells of the gut.

Fun fact! Did you know that 70% of the immune system is housed in the gut and that our gut microbiome (bacteria) helps direct many of its essential functions. This is also why including mushrooms in your diet can help with overall gut and immune health.

Health benefits of Australian mushrooms

D- Vitamin D for protection

Vitamin D is a well-known essential nutrient that enables immune systems to function well. Research has also shown that healthy levels of vitamin D are able to help keep immune systems healthy and may protect against respiratory type illnesses such as asthma, viral and bacterial infections. While we are not saying that mushrooms can prevent COVID-19, there are some recent student which found that people hospitalised for COVID-19, and who also had good levels of vitamin D, did better and experienced less serious side effects. 

Health benefits of Australian mushrooms

E- Ergothioneine to stay well

Mushrooms are the most abundant food source of another powerful antioxidant or nutraceutical (nutrient that may be able to exert a therapeutic effect) called ergothioneine. There is a lot of research interest in ergothioneine at the moment as it is being studied for a possible role in being able to help in the overall treatment of respiratory illness, including COVID-19. While it will be interesting to watch this space, it seems that being able to eat a food that contains ergothioneine could help us breathe a little better and stay well.

So there you have the A,B,C,D & E of mushrooms!  Implement more mushrooms into your diet by setting a target of including around three small mushrooms per day as part of a plant-focused, whole-food diet. For dinners, why not try lamb and mushroom ragu, Mexican-style mushroom mince tacos or chicken, mushroom and thyme enchiladas? Or power up that lunch box instead with egg, mushroom and pesto tarts, pizza-stuffed mushrooms, mini spinach, feta and mushroom gozleme or sausage and mushroom pides.

No matter how you decide to include more mushrooms in your kids’ diet, you can be certain they’ll be better off for it!


Note: the information in this article is meant as general information only. For specific, personal advice on any medical condition, please see your doctor.



Gan CH, Nurul Amira B, Asmah R. Antioxidant analysis of different types of edible mushrooms (Agaricus bisporous and Agaricus brasiliensis). Int Food Res J. 2013;20:1095–102.
Ganguli, Ghosh M, Singh N. Antioxidant activities and total phenolics of pickles produced from the edible mushroom, Agaricus bisporous. J Culinary Sci Tech.2006;5:131–42.
Ozen T, Darian C, Aktop O, Turkekul I. Screening of antioxidant, antimicrobial activities and chemical contents of edible mushrooms wildly grown in the black sea region of Turkey. Comb Chem High Throughput Screen. 2010;14:72–84.
Jagadish LK, Venkata Krishnan V, Shenbhagaraman R, Kaviyarasan V. Comparative study on the antioxidant, anticancer and antimicrobial property of Agaricus bisporus(J. E. Lange) In bach before and after boiling. Afr J Biotechnol. 2009;8:654–61.
Dhamodharan G, Mirunalini S. A detailed study of phytochemical screening, antioxidant potential and acute toxicity of Agaricus bisporus extract and its chitosan loaded nanoparticles. J Pharm Res. 2013;6:818–22.



Mirończuk-Chodakowska I, Kujawowicz K, Witkowska AM. Beta-Glucans from Fungi: Biological and Health-Promoting Potential in the COVID-19 Pandemic Era. Nutrients. 2021;13(11):3960. Published 2021 Nov 6. doi:10.3390/nu13113960
Cognigni V., Ranallo N., Tronconi F., Morgese F., Berardi R. Potential benefit of β-glucans as adjuvant therapy in immuno-oncology: A review. Explor. Target. Antitumor Ther. 2021;2:122–138. doi: 10.37349/etat.2021.00036. [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
Rop O, Macek J, Jurikova T. Beta-glucans in higher fungi and their health effects. Nutr Rev. 2009;67:624–31.
Volman JJ, Helsper JPFG, Wei S, et al. Effects of mushroom-derived beta-glucan-rich polysaccharide extracts on nitric oxide production by bone marrow-derived macrophages and nuclear factor-kappa-B transactivation in Caco-2 reporter cells: can effects be explained by structure? Mol Nutr Food Res. 2010;54:268–76.
Lee Y.T., Kim Y.S. Water-solubility of β-glucans in various edible mushrooms-research note. J. Food Sci. Nutr. 2005;10:294–297. doi: 10.3746/jfn.2005.10.3.294. [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
Nitschke J, Modick H, Busch E, et al. A new colorimetric method to quantify beta-1,3-1,6-glucans in comparison with total beta-1,3-glucans in edible mushrooms. Food Chem. 2011;127:791–6.[87]Singh AK, Dutta D.
Kahn AA, Gani A, Masoodi FA, et al. Structural, rheological, antioxidant, and functional properties of β-glucan extracted from edible mushrooms
Agaricusbisporus, Pleurotus ostreatus and Coprinus attrimentarius. Bioact Carbohydr Diet Fibre. 2017;11:67–74.



Extraction of chitin-glucan complex from Agaricus bisporus: characterisation and antibacterial activity. J Polym Mater. 2017;34:1–9.
Jayachandran M, Xiao J, Xu B. A critical review on health-promoting benefits of edible mushrooms through gut microbiota. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18:E1934.
Hess J, Wang Q, Gould T, Slavin J. Impact of Agaricus bisporus mushroom consumption on gut health markers in healthy adults. Nutrients. 2018;10:1402.


Vitamin D

Hejazi ME, Modarresi-Ghazani F, Entezari-Maleki T. A review of Vitamin D effects on common respiratory diseases: Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and tuberculosis. J Res Pharm Pract. 2016;5(1):7-15. doi:10.4103/2279-042X.176542
Maghbooli Z, Sahraian MA, Ebrahimi M, Pazoki M, Kafan S, et al. (2020) Vitamin D sufficiency, a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D at least 30 ng/mL reduced risk for adverse clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19 infection. PLOS ONE 15(9): e0239799.
Cardwell G, Bornman JF, James AP, Black LJ. A review of mushrooms as a potential source of dietary vitamin D. Nutrients. 2018;10:1498.
Keegan RH, Lu Z, Bogusz JM, et al. Photobiology of vitamin D in mushrooms and its bioavailability in humans. Dermato Endocrinol. 2013;5:165–76.
Urbain P, Singler F, Ihorst G, et al. Bioavailability of vitamin D2 from UVB-irradiated button mushrooms in healthy adults deficient in serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D: a randomised controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011;65:965–71.
Simon RR, Phillips KM, Horst RL, Munro IC. Vitamin D mushrooms: comparison of the composition of button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) treated postharvest with UVB light or sunlight. J Agric Food Chem. 2011;59:8724–32.



Slomski A. Trials Test Mushrooms and Herbs as Anti–COVID-19 Agents. JAMA. 2021;326(20):1997–1999. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.19388
Cheah IK, Halliwell B. Could Ergothioneine Aid in the Treatment of Coronavirus Patients?. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020;9(7):595. Published 2020 Jul 7. doi:10.3390/antiox9070595
Benson K.F., Stamets P., Davis R., Nally R., Taylor A., Slater S., Jensen G.S. The mycelium of the Trametes versicolor (Turkey tail) mushroom and its fermented substrate each show potent and complementary immune activating properties in vitro. BMC Complement. Altern. Med. 2019;19:342. doi: 10.1186/s12906-019-2681-7. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
Weigand-Heller AJ, Kris-Etherton PM, Beelman RB. The bioavailability of ergothioneine from mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) and the acute effects on antioxidant capacity and biomarkers of inflammation. Prev Med.
Kalaras MD, Richie JP, Calcagnotto A, Beelman RB. Mushrooms: a rich source of the antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione. Food Chem. 2017;233:429–33.
Choi SJ, Lee YS, Kim JK, et al. Physiological activities of extract from edible mushrooms. Korean J Food & Nutr. 2010;39:1087–96.[85]Dikeman
Yoshida S, Shime H, Funami K, et al. The antioxidant ergothioneine augments the immunomodulatory function of TLR agonists by direct action on macro-phages. PloS One. 2017;12:e0169360.
Halliwell B, Cheah IK, Tang RMY. Ergothioneine - a diet-derived antioxidant with therapeutic potential. FEBS Lett. 2018;592:3357–66.
Yoshida S, Shime H, Matsumoto M, et al. Anti-oxidative amino acid L-ergothioneine modulates the tumour microenvironment to facilitate adjuvant vaccine immunotherapy. Front Immunol. 2019;10:671.

Join our Mushroom Lovers Club!

Receive delicious Mushroom recipies and much more.

2. Aldi On pack stickers

Partnering with key growers who supply Aldi supermarkets nationwide, 675,000 stickers will be applied to white and brown mushroom punnets, promoting the Scan to Win competition. Last year 2,695 Stickers were scanned via specially marked Aldi mushroom packs, and we are hoping for a greater uptake this year.

3. ‘A Better Choice’ Marketing Partnership

Partnering with A Better Choice we will reach independent grower networks and consumers in a partnership package that includes:

  • In-store activations of 50 Retail Stores Total (NSW, VIC and SA)
    • Activation includes installation and reporting of on-shelf POS items including shelf wobblers, recipe cards, A3 posters.
    • Includes Print and distribution of POS items
  • 2 x Mushroom Retail Store Cooking Events (VIC, SA) – with Celebrity chef Callum Hann
    • A better choice! Sampling Staff Member in attendance
    • Boosting of 3 x Social Media Posts
  • Consumer Magazine Advertising
    • 1 x 5-Page Section in Autumn
  • Trade communications
    • 4 x EDM Features to all A better choice! Retailers
    • 2 x EDM Features in Central Market EDM’s
  • Consumer Communications
    • 8 x Banners Ads in Weekly Consumer EDM
    • 7 x Supporting Recipes in Consumer EDM
  • Social Media & Website
    • Social Media Feature Week
    • 14 x Mushroom Social Media Posts
    • All recipes loaded to ABC Website

 4. Dr. Emma Beckett interview on Australia’s #1 Parenting Podcast

Embracing the podcast phenomenon for busy Aussie parents, Dr Emma Becket, Australian mushroom nutrition scientist from FoodIQ Global, will be interviewed on Australia’s #1 Parenting Podcast Beyond the Bump, to talk about mushrooms important role in children’s nutrition, and how adopting The Blend as a ‘stealth health’ way to reduce meat intake and boost the nutritional value of everyday meaty meals, that kids will LOVE to eat.


5. Influencer Marketing –

Targeting foodies, parents and budget conscious consumers, we have locked in some of Australia’s favourite content creators such as @cookingwithalisha @danroberts and @thefoodarrondissemen – who will be creating content across platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. Our aim for this tactic is mass engagement with mass uptake. We want the combined audiences to feel so inspired by the content that they head over to our Blenditarian website, find a recipe and cook it for their family that day!

Other campaign features include:

  • Updated website
  • Competition PR strategy
  • Nutritional PR strategy with AMGA Dietitian Jane Freeman
  • Marketing partnership with ‘A Better Choice’ to reach independent grower networks and consumers
  • A hefty Digital Marketing strategy, including:
    • Social ads
    • Google ads and re-marketing
    • Existing 50,000 Mushroom Lovers and Blenditarian database re-engaged
    • Educational email marketing journey
    • New Blenditarian Recipes

Please keep an eye out for a full campaign update via email and in the Winter edition of the AMGA Journal.