Make Room for Mushrooms! Positive Impact of Fungi on Your Body Chemistry

Make Room for Mushrooms! Positive Impact of Fungi on Your Body Chemistry

A commonly known fact: Mushrooms are a form of fungus.

Less commonly known is there are over two thousand varieties of edible mushrooms. In the U.S., consumers go for fresh, canned, and dried mushrooms. According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, Americans consume fresh mushrooms to the tune of about three pounds per capita each year on average. 

The Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Granted, the idea of eating a fungus doesn't sound appealing to everyone. But a closer look at some of the most popular edible mushrooms offers ample food for thought.

In general, mushrooms are a smorgasbord of nutritional goodies. Here are a few general nutritional facts about our beloved fungi:

  • Mushrooms offer the only non-animal edible source of vitamin D.
  • Some mushrooms contain significant vitamin C and B vitamins.
  • Certain mushrooms provide potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
  • Some are full of amino acids and have a higher protein content than kidney beans.
  • Nutrients found in meat, grains, and fresh produce are also found in mushrooms.
  • Mushrooms provide between 10% to 19% of the daily recommended value of niacin, pantothenic acid, copper, selenium, and almost 20% of the daily value of riboflavin.

Make Room for Mushrooms!

As yummy as mushrooms are, some may not find the taste appealing. Others may not have time to cook up a mushroom culinary delight on a regular basis. Still, others prefer the nutritional benefits of our fungi friends in a more convenient form, such as dietary supplements. Regardless of the form, there are a few common misgivings that frequently surface when contemplating mushrooms as a culinary ingredient or as a daily supplement.

A quick look at the science of mushrooms and the nutritional benefits that academia supports should assuage any concerns about adding mushrooms to your dietary regimen.

  • A study published in Nutrition Today (November 2014) found consistent consumption of mushrooms over time contributes to the daily value of dietary nutrients. Eating mushrooms helps increase consumption of dark green and orange vegetables, total grains, and improves overall dietary quality.
  • A report published in the Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences (2013) found that consuming mushrooms provided a better nutrient profile and improved diet quality. The study recommended health professionals, registered dietitians, and nutrition education programs encourage mushroom consumption to increase awareness of the benefits of our fungi friends.
  • Modern traditional Chinese medicine includes mushrooms as medicinals in capsules, teas, powders, and in various dishes such as stews and soups.

Mushroom Complex Supplements

The secret to looking good is feeling good. A ripped set of abs doesn't mean much if you're feeling physically exhausted, mentally foggy, and unmotivated. A good set of vitamin and mineral supplements in the morning can help with that. But if you really want to get your act into gear, take a look at mushroom supplements.

The Basics on Mushroom Supplements

Most supplements featuring mushrooms of one or more variety provide some broad, general health benefits.

  • Increased energy
  • Improved muscle recovery
  • Support for the immune system
  • Support for cardiovascular health
  • Antioxidants
  • Anti-inflammatory benefits
  • Improved concentration or cognition

Definite plusses in support of mushroom supplements. But let's dig a little deeper and take a look at a few of the most popular mushroom supplements and their specific benefits.

White Button Mushrooms

People began eating white button mushrooms over two hundred years ago. They are a cultivated crop in about seventy countries around the world. The high nutritional and therapeutic value of white buttons place them among the most popular edible mushrooms. Their specific nutritional benefits include:

  • Good source of protein, carbohydrates, amino acids, and fiber
  • Low in calories
  • High in potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, copper, zinc, and selenium

Some specific health benefits include:

  • Lowers liver weight, which helps prevent the build-up of fatty deposits
  • May lower cholesterol levels
  • The antioxidant effect may inhibit cancer cell proliferation
  • Contains polysaccharides that help in the management of diabetes
  • Increases good gut microflora
  • Natural memory enhancer

Lion's Mane Mushrooms

Lion's Mane got its name from its appearance; it's blond and shaggy like a lion's mane. It has been a part of traditional Chinese medicine and Asian culture for centuries. Historically reserved for royalty, Buddhist monks traditionally cherished lion's mane for its cognitive benefits. Some specific nutritional benefits include:

  • Good source of protein, fats, and carbohydrates
  • Provides essential amino acids

Some specific health benefits include:

  • Lowers cholesterol levels
  • May enhance the immune system
  • Helps promote digestion 
  • May help protect the liver
  • Helps reduce fatigue
  • May improve cognitive function
  • Can help reduce anxiety and depression
  • May enhance memory and promote brain function
  • Helps diminish peptic and gastric ulcers
  • May enhance management of diabetes

Cordyceps Mushrooms

Cordyceps mushrooms are one of the most expensive and valued fungi around. It has been a part of traditional Chinese and Asian medicine for thousands of years. It's found mainly in the high altitudes of the Tibetan plateau and the Himalayas. Like other more common mushrooms, it has some specific nutritional attributes:

  • Contains all of the essential amino acids
  • Provides proteins
  • A good source for vitamins E, K, and B
  • Provides potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc

Some specific health benefits include:

  • May increase the body's ATP production, which helps muscles receive energy
  • Antioxidant content may provide anti-aging properties and combat fatigue in the elderly
  • May slow the growth of certain cancerous tumors
  • Contains a special type of sugar beneficial to the treatment of diabetes
  • May help in controlling heart arrhythmias

Reishi Mushrooms

This very popular, edible mushroom is historically known as the "herb of spiritual potency." Chinese medicine has used Reishi mushrooms for over 2,000 years. Composed of about 90% water by weight, specific nutrients pack the remaining ten percent:

  • Contains protein, fat, and carbohydrates
  • Includes fiber and ash
  • Provides potassium, calcium, selenium, iron, phosphorus, copper, and zinc

Some specific health benefits include:

  • Can boost the immune system, including providing potential cancer-fighting properties
  • May help reduce fatigue
  • An help in combating depression
  • May help increase "good" HDL cholesterol and lower "bad" cholesterol
  • May help lower blood sugar levels in diabetics

Make Room for the Fungi

The bottom line is this: mushrooms are the way to go if you're looking to improve your general health and to up your fitness levels. You'll get the nutrients your body needs, the energy your muscles crave, and the yummy taste mushrooms can add to your meals. Go for the fungi and reap the benefits of these natural goodies. Tiger Fitness has the supplements you want. 

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