As you may have noticed, mushrooms are really starting to take center stage in the world of health and nutrition. And no wonder – mushrooms are an absolute powerhouse of nutritional and medicinal properties. Whether you make your favorite stuffed mushrooms recipe with creminis, drink reishi tea or pop a lion’s mane mushroom capsule, your health and well-being are sure to benefit from consuming more mushrooms.
The ancient Romans referred to mushrooms as the “Food of the Gods” and the ancient Chinese called them the “Elixir of Life”.
Here are the 9 key benefits that are associated with mushrooms.
1. Mushrooms Are Rich In Vitamins And Minerals
Mushrooms provide a nutritionally significant amount of vitamins (B1, B2, B12, C, D and E) and minerals (potassium, copper, selenium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, manganese and magnesium).
Getting your vitamins and minerals from whole food sources like mushrooms is far superior to taking a multi-vitamin supplement.
2. They Are Loaded With Antioxidants
Antioxidants are important for neutralizing free radical damage caused by stress, diet and environmental toxins. A Penn State researcher, Dr. N. Joy Dubost, PhD, found that mushrooms contain as much or more antioxidant capacity as many fruits and vegetables.
In particular, the humble and common white button mushroom has more antioxidant capacity than tomatoes, green bell peppers, pumpkins, zucchini, carrots or green beans.
As it turns out, white button mushrooms often contain more antioxidants than more exotic species such as shiitake and oyster mushrooms.
3. Mushrooms Fight Cancer
Unfortunately, cancer is something that has touched almost everyone in the modern world, either directly or indirectly. Maybe you or a loved one has battled cancer or has had a cancer scare. Many mushrooms have been shown to be a powerful adversary.
This study found that 20 different mushroom species have anticancer potential. These mushrooms owe their power to the polysaccharides and beta-glucans they contain.
4. They Improve Immune Function
Improved immune function is something we all can benefit from. Whether you travel often or simply feel run-down from daily responsibilities, your immune system can suffer. While getting proper amounts of sleep, hydration, exercise and eating a healthy diet are absolutely key to keeping a strong immune system, consuming mushrooms can give you that boost.
A clinical trial conducted over a 4 week span on 52 healthy males and females, aged 21-41 years, tested to see if consuming a given amount of mushrooms (shiitake in particular) would improve immunity.
The result was regular daily consumption of shiitake mushrooms improved immunity as seen by cell proliferation and activation, as well as improved secretory immunoglobulin A.
5. Mushrooms Improve Heart Health
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, about 610,000 recorded deaths per year.
A healthy and low stress lifestyle is paramount in reducing your risk of heart disease. While this may seem obvious, modern and busy lifestyles can make this a challenge.
A study done on rats with high cholesterol showed that consuming chaga mushroom extract reduced “bad” LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides, all the while increasing antioxidant levels.
6. Mushrooms Give You More Energy
Cordyceps are becoming extremely popular in sports supplement blends, and for good reason. In August of 1993, eight Chinese female runners broke three records at the World Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Germany. While they were suspected of doping, it was found that they were completely drug free. Later, they revealed that cordyceps played a big part in their success.
Studies have shown that cordyceps greatly improves oxygen utilization in humans, thereby enhancing their aerobic capacity and stamina. Cordyceps achieves this feat by essentially lowering your heart rate and having an anti-fatigue effect, which means that you get tired less quickly with the ability to work harder over longer durations.
7. Mushrooms Enhance Cognitive Function
Biohacking and nootropics are among the hottest topics today. When your brain is firing on all cylinders and your mind is clear, just about everything in your life will improve.
As it turns out, lion’s mane mushrooms could be considered a “smart” mushroom.
Lion’s mane mushrooms induce something called nerve growth factor (NGF), a protein that promotes development of the sensory and sympathetic nervous systems and is required for maintenance of sympathetic neurons.
Extracts of lion’s mane mushrooms have shown to be promising in improving memory and treating neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
8. Mushrooms Promote Better Sleep
Reishi mushrooms, also known as lingzhi, have been traditionally recommended by Chinese and Japanese herbalists for insomnia due to their “sleep-promoting factor”.
Another scientific study on rats found that extracts of reishi mushrooms prolong sleep time.
9. Mushrooms Elevate Mood And Alleviate Depression
Depression can be quite debilitating and affects almost everyone alive today to varying degrees.
The psilocybin found in magic mushrooms actually causes a decrease in blood flow to particular areas of the brain called the default-mode network or DMN. It’s these areas, when are overactive, are thought to be a root cause of mood disorders and depression.
Studies have found psilocybin to act almost as a ‘reset button’ for the brain.
Unfortunately, psilocybin mushrooms are still very much illegal in most of the world. With groups like the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic & Consciousness Research, and more cities decriminalizing magic mushrooms, we hope this wonderful category of medicinal mushrooms will soon be available to everyone.
Let us know!
If you’ve had any improvements in your health with the consumption of mushrooms, please let us know in the comments section below. We’d love to hear your story!
The Sacred Mushroom “Reishi” -A Review
Reishi Mushroom: Ancient Medicine in Modern Times, Kenneth Jones. Alternative and Complementary Therapies, August, 1998. pp.256-266.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Advanced MycoTech assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.