Mushroom Health Benefits
There are over a million types of fungi covering the planet and 270 that have healing properties that we know of. We share the earth with twenty five percent mycelium which are like the tree roots of mushrooms. It turns out that even the common mushrooms we consume are powerful disease fighters, anti-inflammatory, super tasty, a great source of vitamins/minerals and have the potential to save the world.
We now know that eating just 5 mushrooms of the white button variety can help fight tumor growth in breast cancer cells. At the Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope in CA, they found that the mushrooms shut off the estrogen capabilities of the cells to bring them back to almost baseline. Turkey tail mushrooms have been deeply studied by mycologist, Paul Stamets. They even cured his mother of stage 4 breast cancer. Oddly enough we share 80-85% percent of our DNA with the mushroom kingdom and that is perhaps why it is such powerful medicine.
Most all mushrooms are valued for their anticancer and antioxidant properties. The edible varieties are loaded with enzymes, selenium, copper, niacin, potassium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin D (if they are grown in the sun), and folate. They are definitely a superfood that can boost athletic performance and brain power.
All Shapes and Sizes
- Reishi- athletic performance, sleep help, heart, liver, antihistamine, anticancer.
- Chaga-High- antioxidants, beauty mushroom, digestive aid, potassium, Mg, and zinc.
- Turkey Tail– anticancer, fight cold, infection, lower cholesterol, help with joint health
- Cordyceps- enhance physical performance, ashma, increase ATP production and liver.
- Lion’s Mane-delicious, memory, concentration, nervous system, immune system.
- Maitake-manage weight, balance blood sugar, support digestion.
- Shiitake-delicious, skin, liver, lower cholesterol.
- Zhu-Ling-anticancer, antitumor, stimulate immune system, liver health.
- Oyster- lower cholesterol, skin lighter, improve mood with B Vitamins.
- Button or Cremini-anticancer, antioxidant, nutritious, and delicious.
Where It Grows Matters
Just like all foods, where the mushroom are grown have a large impact on it’s health benefits. As we do, mushrooms will soak up vitamin D when placed in the sun. Mushrooms that are wild sourced and collected from trees are also imbued with the healing properties of that tree. For example chaga mushrooms grown on birch trees will have betulinic acid that is absent in conventional chaga. The fruiting bodies of the mushrooms, or the flowers of the mushroom, like what we buy at the grocery store are more potent with healing properties. Check to make sure the source of your medicinal mushrooms and culinary were sourced with intention.
Trending Mushroom Coffee
Yes, mushroom coffee drinks are the new trendy beverage that is making your coffee into a power drink to enhance performance at the gym or as general immune booster that you can safely take daily. These drinks are an easy way to get the health benefits of mushrooms in a drink that many of us already consume…coffee. A simple stir into some hot water and you are all set, no wild foraging or long lines, just a powerful healing drink that some say tastes just like coffee with a hint of earthiness. Click here to check out Four Sigmatic. We think it is pretty tasty!
We don’t think about our immune system until we get sick but wouldn’t it be smarter to take care of it while we are well. Mushrooms have the ability to gently stimulate the body while keeping the jitters at bay.
Saving the Planet
Mushrooms will transform waste like diesel spills and plastics. Chernobyl cannot even stop the tenacity of the mushroom. At Pacific Northwest National Laboratory experiments were conducted with oyster mushrooms that brilliantly cleaned up diesel contaminated soil. The bacteria died whereas the oyster mushroom cleaned up the toxic oils and bloomed huge bouquets of mushrooms all over the pile.
Scientists are still identifying species of mushrooms under rocks and clinging to old growth forests. We still have much to learn from this kingdom. This is another reason to protect our old growth forests is for the wisdom we have not yet gathered from it’s dense understory. We are still learning about great value in our wild mushrooms and it is our job to make sure there are places for our fungi friends to thrive.
Very much like bacteria they are found everywhere. Mushrooms are the next frontier in scientific research for saving the planet but for as much as we have known for thousands of years we are still learning more about the benefits for our health. Lion’s mane is a magical nerve growth superstar showing potential for healing in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease improvement with cognition, leg cramps, anxiety and more. There is new research on fungi in the gut that may be a superhighway detox the body. Try Four Sigmatic for a new way to “drink your coffee” but get the health benefits of the mushroom!
It may be surprising to you but raw mushrooms are not good for you. They need to be cooked to reap the benefits. Agaritine is a toxin found in small amounts in raw mushrooms that is destroyed by cooking. Seven minutes will do the job.
Just to be safe
Enjoying the a day amongst the tall trees can be a great way to spend an afternoon looking for mushrooms. It is essential to find a local guide to help determine what mushrooms could be toxic in the area. The benefits of medicinal mushrooms is off the charts but dining on the wrong one can be lethal. Mushrooms that collect on trees are usually safe but you do not want to guess.
So when thinking of a superfood to add to your diet, experiment with the many types of mushrooms there are. Even getting 3-4 servings a week in your soups, stews or coffee can boost your immunity and stave off tumor growth. If you are looking for those Beta-glucans (a compound that keeps your immune cells awake) or ergothioneine for lowering your inflammation, mushrooms fit the bill.
Reishi mushrooms have been revered for over 2,000 years in China. It was known as the “fountain of youth” and a “Shen Tonic” that nourishes the spirit. Reishi is the most well studied herb on the planet.
A fossil was uncovered in Saudi Arabia that suggests that there may have been forests of giant mushrooms as tall as trees. They are believed to be 420 to 350 million years old. Still today the largest organism on the planet is a fungal network.
The story goes that sherpas in butan went high altitudes with yaks. These yaks were exhausted from their arduous journey. The sherpas found them eating the Cordyceps on the ground and they had gained new strength and vigor. The sherpas decided to try this mushroom and got the very same results. Give the cordyceps drink and try and see if it gives you an added boost.
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