Cremini mushrooms are tasty and go by the cute nickname “baby bellas.” But that’s not all there is to love about this forest fungus. We’re coming in clutch with cremini mushroom nutrition, health benefits, and kitchen prep.

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Mushrooms offer up lots of vitamins and antioxidants in a petite plant-based protein package. Here’s why cremini ‘shrooms belong on your shopping list.

Helps fill your fiber quota

Mushrooms (along with lots of other veggies) are a solid source of fiber. And as boring as “getting enough fiber” might seem, fiber matters.

First off, fiber helps you poop. It bulks up the waste in your intestines so that things keep moving along. Streamlined digestion = less bloat, a balanced microbiome, and sweet relief for you.

Second, fiber can help prevent diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Some of the research suggests it could even help with depression.

Might ward off disease

Most mushrooms are swimming with antioxidants, and creminis are no exception. Antioxidants are your body’s first line of defense against oxidative stress. That’s a type of stress that can leave you vulnerable to lots of illnesses, from diabetes to Parkinson’s disease.

So that slice of pizza ai Funghi could fuel your body’s disease-fighting energies in more ways than one. #winning

Keeps your heart healthy

Recent research suggests that edible mushrooms (hello, baby bella!) can help keep your lipid profiles in check. That means it can promote healthy cholesterol and triglycerides levels.

More studies are necessary to confirm a link between mushroom consumption and heart disease prevention, but positive lipid profiles are a great starting point. Snacking on ‘shrooms is certainly a heart-healthy move.

Could prevent common pregnancy probs

Consistently high blood pressure (aka hypertension) has been linked to lots of chronic health issues. It can also be dangerous if it occurs while you’re growing a baby. But noshing on mushrooms can actually help keep pregnancy-induced hypertension at bay.

In a study of more than 1,000 pregnant women, participants ate 100 grams of mushrooms (or a placebo) every day starting before getting pregnant and up until 20 weeks of pregnancy. Researchers found that the mushroom eating group was less likely to develop these pregnancy probs:

  • high blood pressure
  • preeclampsia (a potentially dangerous complication during pregnancy)
  • gestational diabetes
  • unhealthy weight gain

Science says to stock up on baby bellas for the baby, y’all!

The good news about ‘shrooms is that they don’t require white glove treatment.

How to store cremini mushrooms

Most folks suggest keeping cremini mushrooms in a paper bag or wrapped in a paper towel in the fridge. That’s because extra moisture speeds up decay, which can lead to slime and stench.

Try to use your baby bellas within 5 to 7 days.

Some signs that your mushrooms are past their prime:

  • mold
  • slime
  • rotten smell
  • dehydrated and wrinkly surface

Cleaning your creminis

Ready to eat? Here’s how to make sure your ‘shrooms aren’t too earthy from their wild and free days:

  1. Remove your cremini mushrooms from the fridge and inspect for mold or discoloration.
  2. Dump them in a strainer or colander.
  3. Give them a quick rinse with cool water. It’s better to rinse than soak to keep the mushies from getting mushy.
  4. Lay them out on a kitchen towel.
  5. Pat dry.

How to enjoy raw ‘shrooms

Easy peasy. Just clean them and chop off any super tough stems. Then your mushrooms are ready to eat!

Most folks eat raw baby bellas dredged through a dip or sliced into a salad.

Tips for cooking cremini mushrooms

Baby bellas can be sauteed, braised, or baked however they sound best to you. Seriously, it’s tough to mess up these little puppies.

Portobello mushrooms are known for their meaty texture, but cremini ‘shrooms make great plant-based snacks and mains too.

A few fan faves:

There are some potential risks to be aware of when you’re eating cremini mushrooms, but negative effects are pretty unlikely.

You could be allergic

Like all foods, you could be allergic to mushrooms.

If cremini ‘shrooms are *totally* new to you, consider trying a small amount before enjoying an entire platter of cremini ravioli. Feel sick to your stomach? Stop eating! Develop hives, a tingling tongue, or other symptoms of an allergic reaction? Get medical help ASAP, if needed.

Your raw ‘shrooms could be contaminated

Like many fruits and veggies, mushrooms come with a slight risk of contamination from the soil. But the good news is that cooking your creminis can crush this risk. Consider cooking your creminis thoroughly if:

  • you’re pregnant
  • you’re undergoing medical treatments that raise your risk of infection
  • you have a condition that increases your risk of infection

You could eat too much agaratine

Most mushroom varieties contain tiny amounts of a plant toxin called agaratine. Unfortunately, it’s a known carcinogen, which means it’s been linked to cancer.

Older research suggests that there’s not enough agaratine in mushrooms to warrant concern. You’d have to eat heaps of baby bellas to get a concerning dose. But if it worries you, just cook those suckers! Heat destroys this toxin.

  • Cremini mushrooms are also known as baby bellas because they’re essentially younger portobello mushrooms.
  • Creminis are smaller than portobellos, darker, and denser than white button mushrooms.
  • Like all mushrooms, cremini ‘shrooms are low in calories and fat. But they’re rich in antioxidants, fiber, and potassium. They even have some protein!
  • Eating cremini mushrooms on the reg could help you prevent constipation, oxidative stress, heart disease, and pregnancy-related high blood pressure or diabetes.
  • Enjoy baby bellas raw, cooked, or baked. They’re simple, tasty, and healthy!