Why mushrooms are the answer to a healthy immune system
Mushrooms have been used for their nutritional and healing support for thousands of years in ayurvedic medicine. They’ve been shown to support our overall health, with a particular focus on promoting healthy cellular function, improving our immune system, supporting cardiovascular health, and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. So which mushrooms are the best for us?
Reishi mushrooms are the one for reducing stress and improving sleep
Found growing on hardwood in the warmer regions of Asia, Southern Europe and Southeastern USA, reishi mushrooms are known not only for their immunity-boosting properties, but also their potential for reducing stress and improving our quality of sleep.
One study examined 132 patients with neurasthenia – a condition associated with aches, pains, dizziness, headaches, and irritability. The researchers found that fatigue was reduced and well-being was improved after 8 weeks of taking Reishi mushrooms.
Early research has also shown that reishi mushrooms can reduce levels of tiredness in those with breast cancer.
Lion’s mane mushrooms are the one for keeping your brain healthy
These mushrooms take their name from their appearance – white and shaggy, which resemble the mane of a lion. Lion’s mane contains two important compounds: nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
These two compounds essentially help to stimulate the growth of cells in the brain, thus helping to improve cognitive function.
One study carried out in older adults with mild cognitive impairment found that consuming 3 grams of lion’s mane mushrooms daily for four months significantly improved mental functioning, with these benefits disappearing when supplementation of the lion’s mane stopped.
Turkey Tail mushrooms are the one for boosting immunity and improving gut health
Commonly called turkey tail due to its strikingly similar pattern, this mushroom is packed full of goodness for your gut health. Krestin (PSK) and Polysaccharide Peptide (PSP) are both found in turkey tail mushrooms, and they possess powerful immune-boosting properties. They activate and inhibit specific types of immune cells while simultaneously suppressing inflammation in the gut.
Certain test-tube studies have shown that PSP increases the number of white blood cells that fight infection as well as boosting our immunity.
But what if I don’t like eating mushrooms?
While all of the above mushrooms are edible in their raw form, they’re not quite as pleasant as the common white button or portobello. You can buy powdered forms of these mushrooms, although it can be hard to find a place for these powders in our everyday diets. Mushrooms like the ones mentioned above can also be found in liquid form, referred to as ‘adaptogen drops’, and can be taken by putting 20 drops under your tongue or simply popping them into a drink of choice.