All About Shrooms: 5 Mushrooms That Can Benefit Your Health
Mushrooms are a superfood that have been prized as cooking ingredients for their delicious umami flavor, high nutritional value, and for being a great meat substitute. While the use of mushrooms for supplemental purposes is newer in the West, Asia can trace its use of medicinal mushrooms back centuries. Find out why mushroom supplements are growing in popularity and how you can see benefits from them.
The Rise of Healthy Mushroom Supplements and Complexes
Mushroom supplements and complexes are being used by more and more people over the last few years. The mushroom supplement market was valued at $26 billion in 2021 and is predicted to grow at a rate of 10% a year until 2030. People are looking for more natural remedies to treat their ailments instead of using as many drugs.
A mushroom complex is a blend of multiple kinds of dried mushrooms while supplements can be just a single type of mushroom. The complexes are more helpful because they can make specific blends that boost specific needs. There are mushroom supplements that strengthen the immune system, boost your brain function, give you more energy, and help you sleep better.
The Benefits of Mushroom Supplements Over Traditional Consumption
Taking a mushroom supplement is definitely more convenient than cooking them with traditional methods. All you have to do with a supplement is take a spoonful of powder or a pill.
Cooking mushrooms might taste better, but it's hard to find the more beneficial varieties of healthy mushrooms like chaga and reishi unless you're foraging for them yourself. A few types aren't even cookable. You'd have to turn them into a tincture, tea, or powder yourself.
5 Mushrooms That Have Known Health Benefits
These are the most popular mushrooms taken for their numerous health benefits. Each brings a different benefit to the table, so mix and match them to create a mushroom superfood blend.
1. Lion's Mane
The lion's mane mushroom is snow white and has the unmistakable appearance of a lion's long mane. It has a long list of potential health benefits, making it one of the most popular varieties.
- Contains compounds hericenones and erinacines which are linked to the growth of brain cells.
- Could protect against the effects of Alzheimer's disease.
- It has anti-inflammatory properties, that could potentially reduce anxiety and depression.
- It may reduce heart disease by lowering the contributing risk factors like obesity and high cholesterol.
- Helps manage blood sugar levels, which is beneficial to those who are diabetic.
- Animal studies show that lion's mane has cancer-fighting properties, allowing it to slow the spread of cancer.
- Increases the activity of the intestines, which then helps boost the immune system.
Reishi is a fan-shaped mushroom that's native to both Asia and North America. It is one of the staples of Eastern medicine. Unfortunately, this mushroom can cause digestive issues in some people and is unsafe for pregnant women. So be safe using it if you are seeking its benefits.
- Increases the activity of a type of white blood cell called killer cells. These cells help fight cancer and other diseases.
- People who took it showed signs of reduced fatigue and depression.
- May increase HDL or good cholesterol.
- May be effective in fighting against damaging free radicals.
Cordyceps is unique in the fact that it's a parasitic fungus that grows on the larvae of caterpillars. This fungal growth is then harvested and used medicinally. Scientists can grow a lot of the cordyceps used these days in a lab instead of having to seek out caterpillars in the wild. Cordyceps is not without its health benefits.
- May increase the production of ATP in the body, which is its source of energy. This can make it a powerful energy booster for working out.
- Research in mice shows the anti-oxidant properties of cordyceps. It may help them live longer, and improve their memory and sexual function.
- Has the potential to slow and reduce the growth of tumors.
- Mimics insulin, which could help diabetics control their diabetes.
- Lowers the amount of bad cholesterol or LDL in the body.
Chaga might not look like a traditional mushroom because it's a tumor-shaped mass that occurs only on birch trees. It's often found in cold weather areas like North America, northern Europe, and Siberia. Since it is too woody to properly cook, it is traditionally ground up, dried, and served as tea. Chaga, has some potentially dangerous side effects like reducing blood clotting abilities, interfering with insulin for diabetics, and affecting those with auto-immune disorders. It does have its benefits including:
- Stimulates the formation of cytokines, which can boost the immune system.
- Has a high level of anti-oxidants which could help fight cancer.
- Lowers both bad cholesterol and blood sugar.
5. Turkey Tail
Turkey tail looks exactly like its name: the tail fan of a turkey. This tough shelf fungus isn't really edible, so it is often made into tea or powder. It's known for its immune-boosting properties among other benefits.
- Loaded with antioxidants like phenols and flavonoids that fight free radicals and boost the immune system.
- Polysaccharopeptides are in abundance in turkey tail and they increase the production of infection-fighting monocytes.
- Has the potential to slow and fight specific types of cancers.
- Contain a ton of prebiotics that help feed the helpful bacteria in the gut. It could even reduce the amount of harmful E.coli and shigella bacteria in the gut.
Try Out Mushroom Superfood Supplements and Boost Your Workouts
While research is still ongoing on the exact health benefits of mushrooms, the potential benefits are outstanding. Why not give them a try if they boost your energy, mood, and immune system? It could be a perfect pre or post-workout supplement.
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