6 Reasons You Need Mushrooms In Your Life
Mushrooms have been used medicinally for hundreds of years and modern science has helped us uncover many of the compounds within these diverse little nutrient-packed vessels that contribute to their health benefits. Whether it’s throwing them in a meal, making tea, or taking them in supplement form, mushrooms can bring you an array of health benefits.
1. THEY REDUCE INFLAMMATION
Inflammation is a major problem impacting our organs, overall health, and mood. Reducing inflammation improves quality of life and allows your body to focus on more important aspects of bodily function and repair. Mushrooms have been used for centuries for their anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers have shown that the anti-inflammatory compounds in mushrooms are highly diverse and include polysaccharides, terpenes, and phenolic compounds. While most mushrooms tend to have anti-inflammary properties, some superstars include Reishi, Birch Polypores, and Chaga.
2. THEY FIGHT CANCER
Roughly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 3 men will develop cancer in their lifetime. Mushrooms have been shown to act as miniature pharmaceutical factories producing hundreds of compounds that can fight cancer. In particular, various polysaccharides present in mushrooms have potent anti-tumor and immunomodulating properties. Some powerhouses include Turkey Tail (pictured above), Chaga, Reishi, Maitake, Inky Cap, Puffballs, and Cordyceps.
3. THEY CAN LOWER YOUR CHOLESTEROL
High cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease, it can clog your arteries leading to a stroke or heart attack. Finding ways to reduce unhealthy cholesterol is vital for longevity. Many mushrooms contain fibres and cholesterol lowering compounds that can reduce your overall cholesterol levels and improve your health. One of the most potent ones is the Oyster mushroom (pictured above). It’s a nutrient packed edible mushroom high in lovastatin (the same compound used in cholesterol lowering drugs). Another excellent mushroom for lowering cholesterol levels is Shiitake mushrooms, it's a delicious edible mushroom that contains a substance called eritadenine which encourages your body to absorb circulating cholesterol. Adding these tasty mushrooms to your diet can help you naturally lower your cholesterol.
4. THEY BOOST YOUR IMMUNITY
Mushrooms have been used for hundreds of years to treat infections and help boost immunity. Various ketones, terpenes, and aliphatic and polyporenic acids have been identified that fight both viruses and bacteria. Mushrooms like birch polypore can even act as an antiseptic covering to help wounds heal and has been proven to fight e.coli. Some other mushrooms for boosting immunity include Lion’s Mane (pictured above), Shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Oyster mushrooms.
5. THEY CAN IMPROVE MEMORY AND FOCUS
Improving brain health leads to improvements in overall health. Lion’s Mane is a mushroom that has been show to be a potent producer of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) in the brain. Increasing NGF levels leads to both prevention and repair of damage to vital brain neurons and pathways. NGF is essential for learning and memory which means including Lion’s Mane in your diet can help improve your overall cognition, focus, and brain health.
6. THEY CAN INCREASE ENERGY AND IMPROVE ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
The exact mechanism is not understood, but the fungus Cordyceps (pictured above) has been shown to improve energy and athletic performance. It first came to the attention of athletes when the 1993 Chinese women’s Olympic track team broke 3 records at a single event and attributed their enhanced performance to Cordyceps. Claims included that regular supplementation improved energy and increased vasodilation, helping deliver oxygen to muscles. Research has supported improved athletic performance in users. Furthermore, research points to it’s ability to increase Adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) levels in users. ATP is the base unit of energy in the body so it makes sense that improving ATP levels would indeed boost metabolic performance.