FOODiQ Global and Australian Mushrooms have initiated a groundbreaking research study, “Mushrooms on the Menu,” in collaboration with The Shoreline Luxury Retirement Living in Coffs Harbour. The study aims to enhance vitamin D and overall nutrient intake among aged care residents by incorporating a specially crafted mushroom-based menu.
With one in four Australian adults being vitamin D deficient and seniors at a higher risk, mushrooms, being the only natural non-animal source of vitamin D, are considered a solution to address this nutritional gap.
The study explores the feasibility and impact of adding vitamin D-rich mushrooms to the menu, focusing on nutritional intake and residents’ enjoyment. UV-exposed cup mushrooms, a natural source of vitamin D, are expected to fulfil a senior’s entire daily vitamin D requirements.
CEO of FOODiQ Global, Dr Flávia Fayet-Moore, highlights the unique nutritional benefits of mushrooms, suggesting that their inclusion in aged care menus could address vitamin D insufficiency and nutritional inadequacies.
“Mushrooms have a unique umami and meaty taste profile, making it an excellent ingredient to ‘blend’ with minced meat to boost nutrient intake in a population at high risk of nutrient inadequacies. Mushrooms have no saturated fat and contain other essential vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins,” Ms Fayet-Moore added.
In a statement, Tammie Breneger, Director of Care at The Shoreline, expressed enthusiasm for the partnership, anticipating positive outcomes for the 150 residents. The program includes chef and dietitian-crafted meals with at least 75g of vitamin D-enriched mushrooms per person daily for 28 days.
The study involves nutritional analysis before, during, and after the increased mushroom consumption phase. Independent living residents will also receive weekly supplies of mushrooms and recipe booklets.
The research, part of a three-year project managed by the Australian Mushroom Growers Association and funded by Hort Innovation, addresses the susceptibility of residents aged 65+ to vitamin D deficiency, a condition associated with a higher risk of falls. The cup mushrooms used in the study are of high quality, grown by Australian mushroom farmers in controlled environments, ensuring optimal vitamin D content.
The study aligns with broader efforts to promote the health benefits of mushrooms, such as their role in heart health, brain health, immunity, and bone and muscle health. The initiative encourages professionals in the food and health industry to participate, contributing to the ongoing research project aimed at improving the well-being of aged care residents through dietary interventions.
The Australian Mushroom Growers Association has a range of educational material on the value of incorporating mushrooms into a diet – Download here.