Which Mushrooms Increase Bone Density? - Save Our Bones

Mushrooms are one of my favorite alkaline foods. I often add them raw to a salad or cook up a delicious mushroom stir-fry for me and my family.

The ancient Romans even referred to mushrooms as “gifts of the gods” and saved them for holy festivals because of their remarkable nutritional qualities.

But with an almost infinite variety of edible mushrooms, which have been shown to increase bone density?

The good news is that all edible mushrooms are good for your bones.

I include mushrooms as a Foundation Food in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program as they're an excellent source of a number of bone-healthy nutrients, particularly copper.

The Copper and Zinc Connection

Although copper is an often-ignored trace mineral, it's found in every tissue of the body and performs many important functions relating to the immune system, the brain, and the nervous and cardiovascular system as an active component of many enzymes.

Most relevant to bone health, and the reason it's one of the Foundation Supplements in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, copper is active in an enzyme that produces connective tissue proteins, collagen and elastin, so it plays an important role in the development and maintenance of blood vessels, skin, bone, and joints.

The Recommended Daily Allowance for copper is 900 mcg, and just one cup of cooked shiitake mushrooms (which have the highest level of copper of any edible mushroom) provides about 65 percent of the adult RDA. But don't limit yourself to shiitake mushrooms. All mushrooms are a good source of copper, and by enjoying a variety of these delicacies, you'll also reap the benefit of the varying nutrient combinations possessed by each type of mushroom.

Mushrooms also have a healthy amount of zinc, another Foundation Supplement. Along with zinc, copper is part of an important antioxidant known as superoxide dismutase, preventing free radical damage to cells.

In bones, zinc is found in the hydroxyapatite mineral crystals and it regulates bone turnover. In addition to this, zinc is necessary for the proper functioning of bone alkaline phosphatase (isoenzyme ALP-2), an enzyme involved in bone mineralization.

Other Important Nutrients in Mushrooms

Mushrooms are also rich in the following nutrients:


Selenium and its relationship to bone health have sparked interest in the scientific and medical community lately. In a study titled “Selenium deficiency as a putative risk factor for osteoporosis”, by Regina Ebert and Franz Jakob at the Orthopedic Department of the University of Wuerzburg, (Orthopedic Center for Musculoskeletal Research, Wuerzburg, Germany, March 2007) selenium deficiency is associated with osteopenia in animal models and with osteoarthropathy in humans.

Pantothenic acid

Pantothenic acid or vitamin B5, is an essential nutrient because it is a component of coenzyme A (CoA), which is involved in many biological processes. It's also involved in the synthesis of cholesterol and hormones.


Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, is an integral component of coenzymes involved in cellular energy production, macronutrient, drug, and toxin metabolism. These coenzymes are also necessary for the body to synthesize important antioxidants, such as glutathione, among others.


Potassium is an important mineral and electrolyte necessary for the proper function of the body, including heart function and and smooth muscle contraction.

Listen Up, Vegetarians

If you thought you could only get Vitamin D from animal sources… well, you were almost right. The mighty mushroom is the lone exception. Mushrooms are the only vegetarian source of ergosterol, a Vitamin D precursor.

An Immune System Boost

Last but not least, mushrooms also have immune boosting properties… perfect for winter to stave off colds and flu. I wrote about mushroom extract in an earlier blog post, “The Flu Shot: Everything You Need to Know”. Check it out if you'd like to learn more about how mushrooms can help your immune system.

Tips for Selecting and Cleaning Mushrooms

  • Select firm, plump looking mushrooms. Avoid wrinkly-looking mushrooms or those with slimy spots.
  • For freshness, store mushrooms in the refrigerator in a loosely closed paper bag. They'll keep for about a week that way.
  • If your mushrooms have dried out a bit, you can restore them to a moist condition by soaking them in water for about half an hour.
  • Wash mushrooms by wetting a clean washcloth and gently wiping away the dirt. Do not soak or run under water since mushrooms tend to absorb liquids.

A “Taste” of What's To Come

Many of you have asked for more bone-building recipes. Well, I've listened, and I'm happy to tell you that I'm in the final stages of preparation for my upcoming cookbook. Keep an eye on your emails where I'll be revealing more about this exciting book.

Here's a delicious recipe from the soon-to-be-released recipe book. It's quick and easy, and it's perfect as either a light dinner or a side dish for a more substantial meal. As with all my recipes, feel free to experiment. You might try adding some sliced tomatoes, or inventing your own vegetable combinations – preferably with other Foundation Foods – along with the mushrooms.

Shitake Mushrooms Stir-Fry

4 Servings


1 medium onion, sliced medium thick
1 tablespoon vegetarian broth
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1-2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
2 cups green cabbage, sliced
5 ounces firm organic tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 tablespoon tomato sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro (coriander), chopped
Sea salt and white pepper to taste


1. Heat 1 tablespoon broth in a wok or skillet.
2. Stir-fry onion for about 2 minutes in broth over medium high heat, stirring constantly.
3. Add red pepper and mushrooms. Continue to stir-fry for another 2 minutes.
4. Add garlic and ginger, then continue to cook and stir for another 2-3 minutes.
5. Add cabbage and rest of ingredients and cook for another 2 minutes.


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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Carol

    Vivian thanks for the recipe, I can’t wait to try it. Also excited to hear about your new cookbook. Please let us know when it is available.

  2. Van

    Mushrooms are not to be eaten raw. They pose a major problem in digestion and are hard for our body to break down the cellular composition of Rae mushrooms.

  3. Donna

    Are Jerusalem artichokes alkalizing or acidifying?

  4. Ita

    thank you very much,Ita.

  5. felicity

    Hunting for our own wild mushrooms (only the ones we know are safe, of course) gives us good reasons for lots of walks in the countryside. Thanks for all your hard work in “saveourbones”.
    Recently been diagnosed with osteoporosis and your programme looks to be the one I will follow rather than go down the drug route.

  6. Irena Uher

    Wonderful articles and ton of useful informations. Many thanks.

  7. Irena Uher

    Thank you very much for answering my question on mushrooms. Your article is very interesting and contains lot of informations, one can not find anywhere else. Your generosity to share your knowledge with us is endless.
    And thanks for the recipe.

  8. Joyce E Hall

    I just bought a bag of Sesame Seeds. I like to sprinkle on everything but would like a good recipe too for a sesame seed dish. Thanks, Joyce

    • zohra

      can share with a good recipe of a very tasty sesame chicken

  9. Sie

    Thanks so much for helping all of us. I am interested in the correct way to use garlic to get the benefits of accillin. I understand that to get the medicinal properties one should slice the garlic and let it stand for 15 minutes in order for the accullin to form. Otherwise one does not get the medicinal benefits.
    I am 81,do not take over the counter drugs, no meds, practice self-hypnosis and for 41 years I have been drinking distilled water.

  10. muiel adamson

    If you make soup out of mushrooms does this take away some of the benefits. I alwaays make the soup in the microwave.

    • Irena Uher

      Thank you very much for answering my questions on mushrooms. Your article is very interesting and full of things, one can not find anywhere else. Many, many thanks for your generosity to share this with us.

  11. Georgina Renaux

    Thank ou very much vivian for all that information you share with us.

  12. Faye

    Hi Vivien,

    I’m a little concerned about mushrooms, have stopped eating them, as I believe they were causing my bloating!!! can you help me with this??

    Many thanks

  13. olga holt

    Der Vivian,

    I am quite concerned about the difference in price of your Increase Your Bone Density books. Why? It worries me that if I can only afford the cheaper version, I won’t get the whole package of information needed to achieve success. The other question is: How can I pay in dollars if we deal in pounds here in England? Is it possible to make that transaction?

    Thanks. Olga

  14. Isabella

    Vivian, I just finished making your mushroom recipe and it’s delicious. I can’t wait to get your recipe book.
    Thank you.

  15. Carole

    Thanks so much! This sounds great and I think I’ll make it tonight. You are great Vivian.

  16. melinda gotts

    please could you give weights for your recipes we dont do cups in england cups come in all sizes here. imperial or metric please
    thankyou melinda


      From your foreign corespondant???
      A cup is a cup is a cup is a cup.
      Just do it.
      In Australia we grow cups of all sizes also.We even have metric conversion pyrex jugs.


    • Customer Support

      Hi Melinda,

      Vivian might chime in here, but in the meantime, here’s a link to a site that’ll do metric conversions for you. For recipes, use the Volume Conversion Calculator (it’s the last one):


      Hope this helps!

  17. Nancy

    I made this recipe last night and it was delicious! But I have a question. My cooking skills leave a lot to be desired and I struggled to mince the fresh ginger. Could I have used dried, ground ginger instead and how much? Thank you.

    • Isabella

      Hi Nancy
      I just finished cooking Vivian’s recipe and what I did was keep chopping at the ginger until it was very fine and it turned out very good. Try it, fresh ginger makes a difference.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Nancy,

      A teaspoon of ground ginger should work well. 🙂

      • Nancy

        Thank you!

  18. Nu Ly

    I like any kind of mushrooms, but I don’t know
    it also good for our bones, thank you for your recipe.

  19. Garlyn

    Are Goji berries and Acai berries acidfying like blueberries and cranberries?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Garlyn,

      Acai is alkalizing. So far, I haven’t found a reliable source for the pH of goji berries.

  20. Mary Anderson

    Vivian: You are a terrific person to share so many important things with all of us to better our health. I have wondered about the food value of mushrooms for some time and you came to the rescue. Thank you very much.

  21. Ramona Johnson

    Hi Vivian,
    Thanks so much for this great information!
    I love mushrooms but didn’t know they were also healthy for my bones.
    Just moved from Canada to Australia and I’ve revamped my whole diet. Drinking only DISTILLED WATER and eating green lettuce every day has made a HUGE difference in how I feel. I used to have heartburn every single day and especially at night.
    Now I am totally heartburn free!
    Thank you so much for your great program – I love it.

    • Ramona Johnson

      I forgot to say that I’ve started drinking WHITE TEA only and it’s great. You are some amazing font of precious, health-enhancing knowledge!
      Before I had read that in your list of alkaline/acidifying foods, I had never even heard of White Tea.
      Thanks again!

  22. Celestial Violet

    Thanks Vivian for your wonderful website! I love it! I am a ballet teacher who has borderline osteoporosis, and I can’t emphasize enough how much I appreciate your work. I would like to share my simple recipe for any kind of mushroom, which can be eaten alone, or added to any dish. This is from a collection I am compiling for my ballet students:

    Mushrooms, sliced (Shitake or brown are great.)
    Extra virgin olive oil
    Coarse cracked sea salt
    Coarse cracked black or mixed peppercorns
    A small amount of butter (optional)
    Juice from a lemon
    Cayenne pepper (a dash, optional–I love spice!)

    Saute mushrooms in olive oil on gentle heat, adding cracked pepper & sea salt in a skillet or saute pan. As the mushrooms soften and brown, stick a fork into half a lemon and squeeze (“fork-a-lemon” as Emeril Lagasse would say!) Add a little pat of butter if you want (but not essential). Add a little cayenne to kick it up! Add everything to your taste–I like a lot of lemon. Let them get nice and brown. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary if serving to guests! Delicious, especially the pan juice! And bone-smart, with alkalizing sea salt and lemon!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Sounds yummy! Lemon and mushroom make a delicious combination. 🙂

  23. Jeanne Wright

    Are canned rooms acceptable as a substitute in your recepies?

  24. joyce lesley

    I did not know that mushrooms are rampant with copper. I will use them more often.

  25. Louise Stewart

    Hi Vivian;

    Thanks for another helpful email. I love mushrooms too. Glad you use apple cidar vinegar; I have used it for years in relish,
    pickles, etc. and believe it is very healthful.
    Will talk more about this later.

  26. LESLIE

    Hi! Vivian,

    I LOVE MUSHROOMS! I Love Them In Salads, Soups,
    Mixed With Other Vegetables, And Just About ALL WAYS. Thank You VERY MUCH For Sharing This Article With Us. And The DELICIOUS SHITAKE MUSHROOMS STIR-FRY RECIPE!

    LOVE, MS. L.

  27. Erlinda Siatron

    Thanks Vivian for the information regarding mushrooms. I have bee eating mushrooms as long as I remember. We gather it on the fields in springtime and it grows also at the roots of banana treein tropical countries. I grilled it wrapped with banana leaves with a little pepper and salt.

  28. Dan Dionne

    Hi Vivian,

    You forgot the garlic in the ingredients list. Would that be one clove?


    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Sorry for the omission, Dan! Use a clove or two of garlic, depending on how much you like it. 🙂

    • onedrummer

      It would be the number of garlic cloves that makes it taste good to you! I used 3 when I made it. Plus garlic is one of the healthiest foods on the planet, so the more the merrier!

      • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

        Absolutely right! I suggested one or two, but if you’re a garlic lover, three would be perfect! 🙂

  29. Sandy

    I travel a lot, so maybe I missed something, but I’m in the dark about your Foundation Foods.
    Could you send me your list of your Foundation Foods?
    Thank you.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Sandy,

      If you have the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, check the digital downloads you received. You’ll find the Foundation Foods list, as well as one for Foundation Supplements. 🙂

  30. Shula

    Great information on these mushrooms.


  31. Avis Mawson

    I do eat lots of vegies and I love mushrooms so I was so happy to hear they are so good for you Thank you for the recipe for the Mushroom Sti fry. I shall certainly try that very soon.
    Thank you for your very helpful and informative letters. They are very appreciated.
    Sincerely Avis Mawson

  32. Nicole Bedard

    Thank you for the info. on mushrooms. I always wondered how benefical they were. Thank you also for the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. I started on it a couple of month ago. Now I have guideline and now where I am going. I have always tried to eat well and exercise regularly but with you book it is so much easier. My goal is to reverse my osteo and start increasing my bone density. Thank you for everything.

  33. Daphna

    I’ve had no idea how nutritious mushrooms are.

    I love them and add them to almost any meal –

    cooked meal or fresh salads. They are

    delicious! There are different kinds of

    mushrooms and with this great variety, you

    can do so much! Bon Apetit and good health!

  34. Mary E. Davis

    I appreciate all information, and am happy to pass it on! Thank you!

    Mary E. Davis

  35. Patti

    I have always read that you should not eat ‘raw’ mushrooms.

  36. sarah henderson

    Did you know that the stone age man they found frozen in the Alps had mushrooms in his pack?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Interesting! Apparently they knew about the benefits of mushrooms even back then. 🙂

  37. mary t ball

    Hi Vivien,

    Does it make any difference to nutritional value if you skin the mushrooms before cooking? I’ve always done so.

    Thanks again for excellent info’.


  38. linda

    Thank you so much,Vivian,for this article on mushrooms. I love the recipe which I’ll try out very soon!

  39. Alice Gibson

    Was on Fosamax and then Alendronic Acid for over five years with ache down left side but doctor never found a problem, then inflammation of the bowel. Came off and put on yearly infusion of Zolendronic Acid for two years. Last infusion rushed through in 4.1/2 minutes resulting in exhaustion same evening and next evening stiff painful neck lasting ten days and then went privately to osteopath for two visits. Consultant not happy at me not wishing to have third infusion and giving me 6 months to think it over after bone scan (which he did not send to my GP but kept until I see him). Anxious about what I should do now.
    Careful with diet and exercise but believe this is not enough.

    Alice Gibson

    • onedrummer

      What you should do is fire this doctor immediately. How dare he insist you take all that poison and hold your bone scan hostage? A little common sense goes a long way…you’re obviously upset with this doctor so why would you continue on in any capacity. Also, insist he/she give you the scan and YOU give it to your GP. You asked what you should do now…this is a start.

  40. Mrs Mary Turner

    All your advice is excellent as are replies and comments- hope one day you will respond to my request for another copy of your spine building video-Vivian with towel-sadly I lost my copy PC having a grumble!!
    Mary Turner
    Tiverton,Devon. England

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Mary,

      Here’s a link to the blog post: Osteoporosis Exercise: The Spine Strengthener.

      If you have trouble finding information from the Save Our Bones site in the future, you can try using the Search function. Just type what you want to find in the box at the top of any page where it says “Type and Search” – then click Search. In most cases, you should be able to find what you want. 🙂

  41. Celestina Marie

    Thank you Vivian for the recipe and info about mushrooms. I knew their value and have always enjoyed them in my recipes for my family.

    For a delicious topper to chicken or pork (I do not eat red meat) I saute mushrooms in a little olive oil or water, add in sliced green pepper and onions. Saute till tender and serve over your favorite grilled chicken or pork chops. So yummy!

    Looking forward to your cook book.
    Celestina Marie

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Sounds delicious! 🙂

  42. Jeanann Watkins

    Hey! Vivian – my husband, our six children, and I used to live right down the street from you at 5600 West Park Road in Hollywood! Now I am widowed and my children grown with children of their own. I now live in West Lafayette Indiana. Good for me since I love the seasonal changes but I miss all the fresh produce there in Florida! Boy do I miss it!

  43. Jeanann Watkins

    according to a recent article in Food and Wine, it’s not true that you cannot wash your mushrooms; the author said she washed her mushrooms, weighing them before and after – no weight difference! ain’t it great! it’s such a pain to try and clean mushrooms the old-fashioned way!

    • onedrummer

      Yes…Alton Brown of the Food Network did this very test on one of his shows and the great Jacques Pepin
      mentioned that he washes his mushrooms but tries to use them quickly after washing. These guys know wherefrom they speak!

  44. Sandie Vandenhouten

    Dear Vivian,
    We lived in Ft. Lauderdale for over 35 years; wish we had known
    about you, then. Enjoying your information.
    I am not keen on tofu, however; check out what Dr. Mercola says
    about soy. (only fermented soy as in tempei or natto, he says, and
    other fermented foods. http://www.mercola.com.

    • Joyce Spangler

      I also am a fan of Dr.Mercola and I too have read his information on Tofu.He doesn’t say it is good for you.What does Vivian think.

    • Henry

      Not to mention that most soy grown in this country is GMO (genetically modified organisms).
      And non-fermented soy like soy milk and tofu can have a negative effect on the thyroid.
      Fermented soy as you mentioned Sandie are supposedly ok provided they are non-GMO.
      Just read an article about the country of India rejecting GMO’s.

      The mushrooms are a great idea Vivian, and a low glycemic food if you are trying to maintain as steady of a blood sugar level as possible.

  45. Chris Bellehumeur

    I understand that mushrooms absolutely need to be cooked otherwise they have no nutritional value.

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