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The Mighty Mushroom: Adaptogenic Elixirs and More

There are many different ways to get in your daily dose of mushrooms

Mushrooms are having a real moment right now in the wellness world, and rightfully so. These fungi host countless health benefits and are pretty tasty as well. Discover the truth behind the hype and the different ways you can incorporate the ‘shrooms into your daily routines.

Benefits Beyond Measure

The human body has grown dependent upon the nutrition provided by mushrooms. This could be due to the fact that humans and fungi share closer relation than any other kingdom.

The mycelium, which are the part of mushrooms below the soil, even resemble the neural networks of humans.

Currently, there are over 200 conditions that can benefit from the medicine of the mushroom.

The shiitake mushroom has undergone the most extensive human clinical research in natural cancer research.

Lentinan, which is a sugar molecule found in shiitake mushrooms, could help elongate the survival of cancer patients when paired with chemotherapy.

A study conducted by the University of Western Australia discovered that women who had at least a third an ounce of mushrooms each day were 64% less likely to develop breast cancer.

Just a few of the nutritional benefits of mushrooms include: B vitamins, selenium, and vitamin D.

B vitamins convert the food we consume into fuel while D vitamins aid in calcium absorption and bone growth.

One of the most significant components of mushrooms is the antioxidant ergothioneine which dramatically aids in reducing inflammation.

Mushrooms can boost your immune system, increase longevity, improve digestion, aid in weight-loss, and even aid in the health of Earth.

For more detailed information on mushroom’s benefits visit Food Revolution Network.

“Nonedibles”

While edible mushrooms are insanely beneficial, non-edible mushrooms can be deadly. Even some edible varieties you may not want to include in family dinner due to their psychedelic properties.

Basic rules to distinguish between poisonous and edible mushrooms according to Wild Food UK are:

  • Avoid white-gilled mushrooms or any with a skirt or ring on the stem
  • Avoid red caps or stems
  • Don’t consume any mushroom unless you are entirely sure what it is

“Magic” mushrooms’ effects are now being studied in treating cancer-related depression as well.

Two studies, one at NYU and the other at Johns Hopkins, found that psilocybin in psychedelic mushrooms activate the regions of the brain associated with serotonin. It was found to reduce depression in cancer patients for up to 8 months.

The Mightiest 

Any (edible) mushrooms are an amazing addition to your diet and daily life, but here are the most powerful of them all:

  • Porcini
    • Contains one of the highest amounts of ergothioneine and glutathione
  • Oyster
    • Rich in protein and may inhibit tumor growth
  • Pioppino
    • Alleviate headaches, dizziness, nausea, and fevers
  • Lions Mane
    • Counters dementia, reduce anxiety and depression, and lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, ulcers, and diabetes
  • Shiitake
    • Containing many of the same amino acids as meat, shiitake hosts immune-boosting, cholesterol-lowering, and anti-cancer benefits
  • Reishi
    • Boosts immune system against viral infections, asthma, bronchitis, heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, and liver disease
  • Chaga
    • Could prevent the side effects of treatments like chemotherapy and radiation

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The Cooking Debate

Unlike many other vegetables, the health benefits of mushrooms could possibly increase when cooked.

When cooked, mushrooms decrease in their caloric value and also lose more than half their protein. They also lose a big amount of their B vitamins.

Mushroom’s calcium, zinc, and iron increases when cooked, however.

The bottom line is, there really isn’t a wrong way to consume these antioxidant-powerhouses. As long as your eating them you’ll benefit from them!

Get Your Fill

As the positive research regarding mushrooms starts pouring in, tons of new products are emerging containing mushrooms, here are a few of the most popular:

Pan’s Mushroom Jerky

  • A tasty jerky substitute for vegetarians, Pan’s Mushroom Jerky comes in four flavors: Zesty Thai, Applewood BBQ, Original, and Sea Salt & Pepper. They are vegan, gluten-free, and use all organic ingredients.

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Gaia Herbs Mushroom Supplements

  • With a variety of functions, this new line of supplements from Gaia offer benefits from liver and immune support to overall wellness.

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Four Sigmatic

  • A favorite of wellness-gurus everywhere, Four Sigmatic offers mushroom infused coffees, elixirs, hot cacaos, and blends.

Origins’ Mega-Mushroom Line

  • Available for individual purchase or as a holiday set, these products all contain mushrooms which aid in skin resilience.

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Rebbl

  • This line of beverages contain all sorts of adaptogens including mushrooms. Their two fungi flavors include the Reishi Chocolate and Reishi Cold-Brew.

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Wild Alaska 

  • Solely focusing on chaga, Wild Alaska sells tea, ground chaga, chaga chunks, and most notably, chaga chocolate.

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Also published on Medium.

Sarah is a sophomore studying journalism at the University of Miami. She...