The George Mateljan Foundation is a non-profit organization with no commercial influence, which provides this website for you free of charge. We are dedicated to making the world a healthier place by providing you with cutting-edge information about why the World's Healthiest Foods are the key to vibrant health and energy and how you can easily make them a part of your healthy lifestyle.

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How can you guarantee the mineral values, such as selenium, that you report for crimini mushrooms (as well as other foods) if the soil has been depleted of those minerals, as most farm soils are?

With respect to nutrient data-including mineral data-for any food (not just mushrooms), our website used the "gold standard" software in clinical nutrition, an application called "Food Processor" with a database published by ESHA Research, Inc. in Salem, Oregon. We are also familiar with many nutrient databases, including the USDA's National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.

The nutrient data in any nutritional database uses statistical averages. Sometimes the averages involve testing of a very small number of food samples. Sometimes hundreds of samples are tested. These samples may take into account a variety of different growing conditions, or they may not take into account any differences in growing conditions. The only responsible way to view these database estimates is with a "ballpark" approach. At best, the data in a nutrient database give you a ballpark estimate of the nutrient contents of a particular food. Differences in soil quality definitely affect mineral content of foods, and you are absolutely correct that our body cannot make minerals. The bottom line here is that you cannot, for example, guarantee that 5 ounces of crimini mushrooms contain 56% of the DV for selenium as we report on our website. However, you can guarantee that crimini mushrooms-in comparison with other foods-are a good place to look if you are trying to increase your selenium intake, because these mushrooms, if given the opportunity to grow in healthy soil, will collect a helpful amount of selenium.

I don't know a better place to start to increase the chances of healthy soil than buying organic. The Organic Foods Production Act contains extensive soil requirements, and most of the requirements promote not only immediate soil health but soil sustainability. Soil quality is one of the reasons we support organically grown foods so strongly. There are quality requirements for fertilization and use of compost in organic farming that would give these crimini mushrooms their best chance to provide the selenium they are naturally capable of providing.