Nutritional benefits were the focus of a Mushroom and Health Summit in Washington, D.C., for about 200 researchers, academics and government and industry representatives.

Presentations from the Sept. 9-10 event offered by the San Jose-based Mushroom Council are online.

It was the first time the summit has been held.

Some of the research findings discussed include:

  • Mushrooms, when substituted for meat in meals, may aid weight control in obese adults. Data show that results in lower overall energy and fat intake and more success at losing or maintaining weight over time compared to eating meat only, according to a news release.
  • When exposed to ultraviolet light for a few seconds, mushrooms can provide 100% of the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D.
  • Sustainability benefits that include minimum input of water and chemical additives.

The summit also identified new areas of research for mushrooms in health and wellness.

Mushrooms are a $1.1 billion business, according to the council, bought by 41% of U.S. households and offered on 80% of restaurant menus. Council members are fresh market producers or importers who account for more than 500,000 pounds of mushrooms annually on average.