Medicinal mushrooms are a beneficial type of fungus that have been used by many different cultures for thousands of years. Found in most supermarkets and health foods stores, medicinal mushrooms can be eaten or taken as a supplement. Most of these mushrooms can be delicious additions to many meals as well as brewed into teas and tinctures.
There are a variety of medicinal mushrooms available around the world, each with its own benefits. Some of the most popular types of medicinal mushrooms are lion’s mane, reishi, shiitake, turkey tail, chaga and cordyceps. While each mushroom is slightly different, they all offer plenty of nutrients that are believed to improve brain function, cholesterol levels and much more. Here are seven of the most important nutrients found in medicinal mushrooms.
If you’re in need of immune system support, then the abundant beta-glucans in medicinal mushrooms might do the trick! These special forms of polysaccharides can be found in several types of medicinal mushrooms, including reishi, turkey tail and shiitake. Beta-glucans are often used to help those fighting bacterial infections and certain forms of cancer. They can also help those suffering from chronic allergies and asthma.
2. Vitamin D
Certain types of mushrooms contain vitamin D, which is essential for calcium absorption within the body. Calcium is needed to keep your bones strong and prevent osteoporosis from developing later in life. Vitamin D is also essential for your mental health, as a deficiency in the nutrient has been related to several mental illnesses including depression and anxiety. Mushrooms are one of the only food items that contain vitamin D, since they create it when exposed to sunlight.
3. B vitamins
A number of B vitamins can be found in medicinal mushrooms, including riboflavin, folate, thiamine and niacin. These nutrients are important for the creation of energy and red blood cells. They are also great for heart and skin health.
People with low levels of vitamin B have been known to develop anemia, Chron’s disease, lupus and other diseases. If medicinal mushrooms aren’t an option, then B vitamins can also be found in high-protein foods like fish, chicken and eggs.
Mushrooms are known for being high in magnesium, which is an important nutrient when it comes to your muscles and nerves. Regulation of your blood pressure and blood sugar levels is aided by magnesium, as is protein synthesis. A deficiency in magnesium is characterized by several symptoms, including vomiting, sluggishness and weakness.
Since mushrooms are high in potassium while also being low in sodium, they are extremely good for heart health. The potassium found in medicinal mushrooms is great for regulating your blood pressure levels and promoting regular muscle contractions. Those with low levels of potassium may experience nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
Prevalent in mushrooms, zinc is vital to the body’s immune system. If your body is low on zinc, you may notice persistent rashes, hair loss and canker sores. The nutrient helps your body heal wounds and keep viruses at bay. Zinc also helps your body break down carbohydrates and is especially important during pregnancy.
Zinc is naturally found in many types of food, like mushrooms, but is also available in supplement form. Your doctor may recommend supplements for quicker absorption.
You may have heard that antioxidants are extremely beneficial to your health. Antioxidants prevent the breakdown of cells by free radicals, which is often caused by environmental stressors, smoking, radiation exposure, local pollution and more. These nutrients have even been said to help fight certain diseases, including prostate cancer and heart disease.
There are many different antioxidants, each with their own benefits. Vitamin C, for example, helps repair body tissue and maintain the health of bones, while vitamin A is quite beneficial to your immune system. Medicinal mushrooms that are known for their high antioxidant quantity include chaga, reishi and cordyceps.
Other benefits to medicinal mushrooms
In addition to all these nutrients, medicinal mushrooms are also an excellent source of fiber that can easily be added to your daily diet. Fiber helps with weight loss and can aid in lowering the risk of certain medical conditions.
Medicinal mushrooms have also been known to give people an energy boost, which is why many use them as exercise aids. They might even be a great alternative if you’re trying to cut back on caffeinated drinks.
Medicinal mushrooms have the potential to offer so many benefits that it’s hard to name them all. Whether you want to add more nutrients to your daily diet or seek the specific benefits these popular mushrooms have to offer, consider adding medicinal mushrooms to your nutritional plan.