Medicinal mushrooms have been used by countless civilizations over the millennia. Most people know them as a plant but technically, they’re considered fungi.
Adding them to your diet is a good way to up your intake of healthy whole foods that have been shown to lower your overall risk of obesity, diseases of all kinds, and early death.
There’s No “Magic” to Mushrooms
Their potent properties are even more relevant today than they were thousands of years ago because we have far more illnesses as a species. Medicinal mushrooms aren’t considered a “cure” and they certainly aren’t “magical” but they’ve been shown in multiple studies to have disease prevention characteristics and to ease symptoms caused by disease.
These awesome fungi are naturally…
- Antioxidant rich
- Nervous system protective
- Heart protective
- Immune protective
You’re probably familiar with mushrooms from your local market and while those have some good stuff (and delicious), there are other varieties that are strictly used for medicinal purposes.
Mushrooms are naturally fat-free, low on the glycemic index, low in calories, and low in sodium. They’re also packed with nutrients like selenium, lysine, folate, choline, tryptophan, terpenes, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin K, multiple B vitamins, and fiber.Mushrooms are naturally fat-free, low on the glycemic index, low in calories, and low in sodium. #medicinalmushroomsClick To Tweet
These underappreciated fungi are one of the few known food sources of selenium (critical for immunity) and the only naturally occurring vegan source of vitamin D (critical for just about everything).
Beta glucan is another powerful compound found in mushrooms that may have anti-cancer properties (there’s more work to be done to duplicate study results).
This substance was discovered in 1975 by Dr. Peter Mansell at the National Cancer Institute. He tested beta glucan on malignant melanoma and determined that tumors injected with it were significantly “reduced in as short a period as five days.”
Top 5 Medicinal Mushrooms
- Shiitake: As the most popular mushroom worldwide, shiitake are fairly easy to find, inexpensive, and recognizable. They contain a compound called lentinan that has been studied for its powerful immune system protection.
They’ve been studied in the treatment of everything from the common cold to patients with HIV. Iron is abundant in shiitake mushrooms which is great for more oxygenation in the blood and prevention of iron-deficiency anemia.
- Morel: These mushrooms are high in natural (non-fortified) vegan vitamin D. They also have the fiber and B vitamins found in other mushrooms. They come in all shapes, colors, sizes with an earthy flavor.
This particular medicinal mushroom has a higher rate of allergic reaction than others because there are “true” morels (edible) and “false” morels (poisonous). Get the right ones from a reputable vendor and you’ll going to love adding them to your meals.
- Reishi: This mushroom has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect that was once thought by ancient civilizations to be the key to immortality. In multiple studies, reishi mushrooms have also proven to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.
They’re considered excellent immune-system helpers and researchers have documented their ability to trigger apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells. They help preserve white blood cells. If you’re going through conventional cancer therapies (such as chemotherapy) that ravage your immune system, consider adding reishi mushrooms to your diet to hold down the fort. When combined with green tea, results have been even better.
- Maitake: This medicinal mushroom is similar to reishi and is one of the most popular culinary mushrooms due to its large size and flavor. It’s often called “dancing mushroom” and was once prized as much as silver. Beta glucan extracted from maitake mushrooms was injected into live cancer cells and successfully killed them within a single day in lab studies. Combining maitake with vitamin C was shown to boost the effects.
There’s a large body of evidence that these mushrooms help ease the most common side effects of conventional cancer treatments – vomiting, pain, and loss of appetite. Lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels are other areas of study that maitake show great promise.
- Turkey Tail: These mushrooms grow on trees all over the forests in North America. To date, several hundred studies have been conducted on these fungi and their powerful polysaccharide-K (PSK) content. PSK is a common ingredient found in chemotherapy pharmaceuticals.
It has an anti-cancer component while also protecting your immune system (especially your white blood cells).
A Word of Caution
There are more than 10,000 varieties of mushrooms so don’t harvest them yourself unless you have comprehensive botanical knowledge. Many wild mushrooms aren’t safe to eat.There are more than 10,000 varieties of mushrooms and tons of them are amazing for your health. #benefitsofmushroomsClick To Tweet
Look for a distributor that offers 100% organic mushroom extracts, produced under strict guidelines to preserve the nutrient content and overall effectiveness.
For a Natural Health Boost…Consider Mushrooms!
Experts calculate that your diet (good or bad) accounts for 80% of your health. If you eat and drink mostly junk, that’s all your body uses to fuel your most critical functions. It’s not much for your body to work with and eventually, poor eating habits catch up with you.
If you find yourself constantly feeling poorly, take steps to change your diet. Start with well-researched, delicious, and safe food options such as medicinal mushrooms.
A poor diet leaves you so much room for improvement, one change at a time, but you don’t have time to waste.
Preventing, fighting, or beating disease with medicinal mushrooms isn’t a myth. These delicious nutritious fungi are a valid path to boosting immunity (and your overall health by association).Preventing, fighting, or beating disease with medicinal mushrooms isn’t a myth. These fungi are truly magical.Click To Tweet
Get cookin’ with mushrooms!
Nica, A. (2017). 5 Types of Medicinal Mushrooms — and the Surprising Ways They Can Boost Your Health. Alternet.
Question 2: How many edible/poisonous mushrooms are there?. (2017). Mushroomthejournal.com.
Ware LD, M. (2017). Mushrooms: Nutritional value and health benefits. Medical News Today.
Shiitake Mushrooms: 8 Scientifically Proven Benefits – Dr. Axe. (2017). Dr. Axe.
Steiner, E. (2017). How Reishi Combats Aging – page 1 | Life Extension. LifeExtension.com.
Stamets, P. (2017). Maitake: The Magnificent ‘Dancing’ Mushroom. HuffPost.
Elizabeth Landau, C. (2017). The ‘forbidden fruit’ of medicinal mushrooms. CNN.
Health Benefits of Morel Mushrooms. (2017). Healthyeating.sfgate.com.