When you think of boosting your immunity, medicinal mushrooms are probably the last thing that comes to mind. Instead, most people think of changing their diet to focus more on natural, nutritious foods, and some opt for dietary supplements.
However, while these are excellent ways to boost your immunity, medicinal mushrooms have proven invaluable for the immune system. From regulating hormones to stimulating the brain, there’s no doubt your body will thank you once you start incorporating them into your diet.
The best part is, you can add them to almost any food. From lattes to soups, getting your mushroom kick for the day is as easy as A, B, C. But don’t just add any mushroom to your diet and call it a day. For the best results, consider the following mushrooms.
Prevent Cancer and Keep Your Heart Healthy With Shiitake
Shiitake mushrooms are pretty common in most kitchens. It adds incredible flavours to meat dishes, and it’s mouth-watering. However, this mushroom does more than giving your taste buds a treat. Studies show that it’s excellent for your heart.
One research on rats showed that shiitake lowers the production of Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL). What’s more, this mushroom has compounds that lower cholesterol production in the liver.
That’s not all. According to healthine.com, it is packed with vitamins and essential amino acids and has shown unusual anti-cancer activities.
Boost Your Antioxidant Intake With Chaga
You cannot overestimate the benefits of antioxidants. They scavenge free radicals from your body cells, thereby preventing damage caused by oxidation. Therefore, you need adequate amounts of antioxidants to prevent diseases like cancer and heart disease.
That’s where Chaga comes in. Commonly referred to as the “king of medicinal mushrooms,” Chaga is believed to have the second-highest amount of antioxidants on Earth. Apart from preventing oxidative stress, this mushroom is also known to:
- Lower LDL
- Improve mental and cardiovascular health
- Boost healing
- Reduce inflammation
- Decrease stress
- Help with indigestion
Enjoy Better Sleep and Keep Stress in Check With Reishi
Reishi mushrooms have been used for traditional medicinal practices for over 2,000 years, and good reasons. One study showed that reishi mushrooms are rich in peptides, polysaccharides, triterpenoids, amino acids, and vitamins, all of which offer a plethora of benefits for the body.
Photo Credit: Wendell Smith
Reishi has anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties that encourage more people to add it to their diet. However, there isn’t enough evidence to support these claims.
However, if you’re looking for a calming agent, reishi should be at the top of your list. Studies show that reishi has antidepressant properties that are excellent mood boosters. What’s more, this psilocybe cubensis is believed to improve sleep.
Therefore, if you have insomnia or irregular sleep patterns, it may be time to add a bit of reishi onto your meals.
Fight Cancer With the Potent Turkey Tail
As you’ve probably already noticed, most of the mushrooms already listed have anti-cancer properties, but turkey tail takes it up a notch. This mushroom contains a compound called polysaccharide -K (PSK), which is so effective in fighting cancer that it has been approved as a drug for fighting cancer in Japan.
It’s also known to increase the activity of Natural Killer cells. These cells are a type of white blood cells responsible for fighting viral infections in the body. Furthermore, this compound is used as an adjunct immunostimulant in cancer patients. The best part about it is that it has minimal side effects compared to other cancer drugs. What’s more, PSK doesn't have any immunosuppressive action.
Improve Brain Health With Lion’s Mane
Commonly referred to as “Nature’s Nutrient,” the lion’s mane has an incredible ability to stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF) — a bioprotein that’s crucial for brain health. That’s not all. This mushroom also stimulated the production of myelin, a compound that provides insulation around nerve fibres.
A lack of balance between NGF and myelin in the brain can result in severe medical conditions like multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s. There’s more. Lion’s mane also improves cognitive function and concentration. There have also been reports that this mushroom alleviates anxiety and irritability.
Relax With the Immune Boosting Maitake
If you suffer from chronic fatigue and are looking for mushrooms in Canada, you need to set your sights on maitake. Evidence shows that this mushroom has compounds known to alleviate symptoms of chronic fatigue.
Other benefits you can expect to get from maitake include:
- Effective for cancer treatment
- Alleviates chemotherapy symptoms
- Used for HIV patients
- Excellent for individuals who suffer from diabetes
- Controls high blood pressure
- Used for hay fever treatment
- Excellent for weight loss
- It is used to treat infertility caused by polycystic ovary syndrome.
If you decide to use maitake to boost your immunity, it’s best to buy this mushroom from the store as it can be challenging to differentiate it from poisonous mushrooms.
Boost Your Energy Levels with Cordyceps
Are you a workout enthusiast looking for an excellent pre-workout energy boost? Then, you can’t go wrong with cordyceps. This mushroom is known to have superior energy-boosting properties, and it’s also incredible for aiding post-workout recovery. What’s more, it can do wonders for your libido as well. So why not add it to your diet?
Ready for Some Fungi?
As you can see, mushrooms have nutritious compounds that do amazing things to your body. The fact that they’re easy to incorporate into the diet is another plus. So, if you’ve been thinking of making healthier choices to improve your overall well-being, mushrooms would be an excellent place to start.
However, make sure you get quality products and avoid picking wild mushrooms as there’s a risk of picking poisonous fungi. It’s also best to use them in powdered form if you don’t like the taste. Then, when you add them to your foods, they’ll hardly be noticeable.