For the Love of Mushrooms
Superfood mushrooms are a growing health trend—and for good reason! Mushrooms such as Reishi, Lion’s Mane, Chaga, Cordyceps and Turkey Tail offer a plethora of health perks. These friendly fungi are true superfoods and full of unique benefits. In a nutshell, mushrooms offer three main advantages: nervous system support, energy boosting, and immune system support.
Mushrooms are an abundant source of vitamin D (one of the few plant-based sources), are rich in fiber, and have been used in many Asian cultures for thousands of years to address diabetes, cancer, and other serious illnesses. Also, mushrooms can be enjoyed in so many ways! They are delicious, and depending on how they are prepared, can have a meaty, savory taste...or pair perfectly with coffee, tea, and chocolate. In fact, cooking mushrooms helps to break down their fibers and release many of their beneficial nutrients.
Immune System Workout
Turkey Tail, Reishi, Cordyceps, and Chaga mushrooms all boost your immune system. How do they do this? Consuming these mushrooms is basically like taking your immune system to the gym. Complex, tough to digest starches in these super mushrooms give your immune cells a workout, teaching them to become more discerning. This actually trains your immune cells to do a better job at sorting out true pathogens (such as viruses) from harmless allergens (like pollen).
Turkey Tail mushrooms are probably the most widely researched among all medicinal mushrooms. This friendly fungi has repeatedly demonstrated anti-tumor and immune enhancing activity. In fact, in Japan, Turkey Tail mushroom is routinely given to patients undergoing chemotherapy. Turkey Tail’s immune boosting activity is largely due to polysaccharides, large complex chain-like starch molecules that strengthen and regulate the body’s immune response.
Most of the tough-to-digest starches in mushrooms are actually fiber. Not only do these starches train your immune system, the fibrous content also benefits your gut health by feeding the good gut bacteria. Research suggests that a healthy gut microbiome is linked to better mental health and improved outcomes in managing body weight, heart health, and blood sugar balance.
Mushrooms also contain the important nutrients copper, selenium, phosphorus, and potassium. As mentioned earlier, mushrooms are also an excellent source of vitamin D, a vitamin that plays a key role in bone and tooth health, immunity, mood, and maintaining calcium and phosphate levels.
The other major benefit that mushrooms offer is nervous system support. Reishi mushrooms are known for increasing longevity, fighting fatigue, and generally helping you stay calm and deal better with stress. There are many beneficial constituents in mushrooms, and we don’t entirely know how they work their magic, but we are learning! One large research study has demonstrated that a polysaccharide in Reishi mushrooms can significantly reduce fatigue. Reishi mushrooms have actually been used in Asian cultures for thousands of years as a longevity tonic.
Lion’s Mane, on the other hand, is a super brain booster. Evidence suggests that these crazy looking fungi help nerve cells regenerate, as well as improve memory and cognitive function. This may be due to Lion’s Mane’s capacity for stimulating Nerve Growth Factor—a protein-like molecule that helps maintain the health of neurons. Nerve Growth Factor is important for promoting mental clarity and the organization and differentiation of neurons. This becomes increasingly important in the aging process.
Cordyceps mushrooms are a favorite among athletes. They function like an adaptogen (helping you deal with stress), and also boost energy, making them perfect for a pre-workout boost. Reishi and Cordyceps mushrooms also improve your lung’s ability to utilize oxygen, helping you have more energy and endurance during workouts. This is ideal if you are looking to lose weight and keep it off—and for both avid fitness junkies and weekend warriors alike.
Why are mushrooms and coffee such a great combo? Mushrooms boost energy and brain power without all the jitters. Blending superfood mushrooms such as Lion’s Mane and Chaga into your coffee or tea helps smooth out the caffeine buzz, giving you lasting energy. Plus, they are full of beneficial fibers, vitamin D, critical micronutrients, and promote nerve health and cognitive capacity. The earthy taste of mushrooms rounds out the bitterness of coffee, creating a full and rounded brew. Really, mushrooms are a great pairing for your favorite morning beverage.