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A Look into Functional Mushrooms: Nature's Earliest Superfoods

A Look into Functional Mushrooms: Nature's Earliest Superfoods

Mar 21, 2023

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Andrey Kono

While it may seem that functional mushrooms have climbed at the very peak of modern health trends, in reality though, they've been around for thousands of years. Functional mushrooms gained prominence in the past couple of years owing to their scientifically-backed medicinal properties, which are tremendous.

So, if you want to learn what makes these mushrooms special and the reasons why it is time you should incorporate them into your diet, continue reading.

But first…

A Brief Look into Some Factors to Consider When Buying Functional Mushrooms

When it comes to buying mushrooms, an excellent rule of thumb is to look for some core elements like:

  • - Whether they are 100% organic
  • - The fruiting body
  • - Required daily dosage

You see, the effectiveness or the potency of the naturally occurring compounds in functional mushrooms will significantly rely on how adequately the mushrooms are grown and matured. It is also important to look at whether the product you are consuming is made from the right part of the mushroom. And lastly, its required dosage.

To make a better buying decision, always look for products that are organic or plant-based. Authentic mushroom supplements are made using 100% of any functional mushroom's entire fruiting body. This is what will enable you to enjoy the complete health benefits of the fungi.

5 Powerful Functional Mushrooms to Optimize Your Wellbeing

While there are a diverse variety of functional mushrooms that can be found throughout the world, it can be a bit overwhelming looking for a product that may truly help maximize your health goals. In light of this, we've narrowed down the list to the five most popular functional mushrooms that are just as equally beneficial and easily accessible. 

Reishi

Native to China, Reishi is also called Lingzhi. Reishi has been a prominent part of ancient Chinese medicine for more than two millennia and was primarily named for spirituality and longevity.

Chaga

Chaga is another excellent fungi that are packed with the most antioxidants in contrast to other functional mushrooms. In addition, Chaga was also abundantly used in rationing and coffee making in World War 2. The mushroom is renowned for its beautiful color and rich flavor.

Lion's Mane

This functional mushroom was aptly named after a lion's mane, well, because it closely resembles a lion's mane! Plus, the mushroom contains hericenones and erinacines. Lion's mane contains vitamins such as riboflavin, potassium, thiamine, and more.

Turkey Tail

Turkey tail is a polypore fungus. What makes it unique is that the meaty part of the turkey tail mushroom grows at the underside. While it may look flat from the outside, inside, it's a whole different story.  In addition, the mushroom is typically used in preparing culinary delicacies and teas.

Maitake

Native to Japan, the word Maitake translates to "dancing mushroom". Why is it called that? Well, back in the day, when people found Maitake mushrooms in the wild, they danced and jumped up and down in pure joy. The mushroom is packed with several minerals such as beta-glucan, niacin, potassium, and much more.

Powerful Health Benefits Associated with Eating Functional Mushroom Supplements

Mushrooms have been grown and used for their excellent medicinal properties for thousands of years. And while different types of mushrooms come with different health advantages, it is safe to say all varieties of mushrooms can help potentially enhance your health and wellness. So, without further ado, let's look at some great reasons to start using functional mushroom supplements.

Stress Reduction

Functional mushrooms comprise enzymes and compounds that make them what are known as adaptogens. They are nutrition-packed superfoods that may potentially regulate your stress levels. According to scientific research, eating functional mushrooms either in supplement or in their actual form may help you adapt to high-stress situations, lowering your levels of anxiety by enhancing your adrenal glands.

Stronger Immunity

There's a reason why functional mushrooms have been in use for centuries in various medicinal forms. They have been used to combat symptoms associated with numerous ailments, helping humans boost their overall well-being. While a lot of authentic research into the medicinal properties of mushrooms has been, by and large, conducted on animals, research does indicate that certain functional mushrooms may also play an instrumental role in boosting your immunity.

Packed with Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidants Compounds

Functional mushrooms are an excellent way of adding more antioxidants and anti-inflammatory enzymes and compounds to your body. The antioxidant compounds in mushrooms are known to help combat the damage caused by free radical cells, which are associated with causing numerous chronic and acute medical complications.

On the other hand, anti-inflammatory enzymes can help potentially increase your body's ability to heal faster, fight common diseases, and help you recover. If you're looking to boost your antioxidant and anti-inflammatory intake, consider getting a chaga mushroom supplement as it contains the highest concentration of both these compounds. Plus, chaga also contains vitamins and minerals such as calcium and vitamin B12.

How to Add Mushrooms as a Daily Part of Your Diet

Using functional mushrooms in your diet is pretty simple. The easier thing to do is opt for a quality mushroom supplement that is made with organic or plant-based compounds. Sure you can also incorporate the mushroom as a whole, but functional mushrooms are pretty hard to come by and you may not be able to find any at your local grocery stores. This is why the next best thing is to eat them as a form of supplementation.

You could also go for pure mushroom powders if they're available. Powdered mushroom supplements come with their own string benefits such as, you'll be able to enrich your healthy recipes and prepare smoothies, soups, teas, and much more. However, if you don't have the time to prepare meals or you'd rather just stick to the basics, mushroom supplements are the way to go.

Bottom Line

So there you have it. A comprehensive glimpse into the many wonderful reasons you should start using functional mushroom supplements. They're a natural and nutrition-dense source to help augment your overall wellness journey.

 

References:

1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/biancasalonga/2022/03/30/a-first-timers-guide-to-healing-with-functional-mushrooms/?sh=3815f2372dcb

2. https://thenutritioninsider.com/health-nutrition/best-mushrooms-for-anxiety/

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