5 health benefits of mushrooms you probably don’t know about
Updated: Jun 15
Here’s the good news, mushroom fans: mushrooms are some of the healthiest foods on the planet. And if you’re not keen on them, don’t worry: medicinal mushroom powders mean that you can get all the benefits, minus the texture or taste that doesn’t agree with you. The humble mushroom boasts some mind-blowing health benefits — including these five that might surprise you.
Medicinal mushrooms for immune function
Many mushroom species, particularly Shiitake, Maitake, Reishi and Oyster, contain high levels of beta glucans. What does that mean for you? Quite a lot. That’s because beta glucans, in addition to helping regulate cholesterol levels, have been shown to boost immune system function.
They do this by stimulating immune cell response and activating the production of white blood cells (AKA. the natural killer). Don’t fret, though — white blood cells sound scarier than they are. In fact, they’re known for fighting off illness, age-related diseases, and tumors.
Medicinal mushrooms for mental health support
Our minds are busy places, and many of us are looking for a way to slow down and achieve better focus. That’s where Lion’s Mane comes in. Thanks to two special compounds, hericenones and erinacines, it has been found to support cognitive function, which can calm your nervous system.
Not only that, Lion’s Mane may help alleviate feelings of depression, anxiety, and inattention. In older adults, it can help slow the natural decline in cognitive function that comes with age. Many seniors report a significant improvement in memory and a reduction in ‘brain fog’.
Medicinal mushrooms for a healthy body
We’ve known for a long time that vegetarians rely on mushrooms as a meat substitute, thanks to the savoury, umami flavour and texture. It turns out, the vegos are onto something! Mushrooms are loaded with dietary fibre and vitamins, and contain no fat or cholesterol — so they’re a great addition to just about anyone’s diet.
Mushrooms contain many essential nutrients, including:
Of course, you can add fresh or dried mushrooms to any of your favourite dishes, but don’t forget that powdered mushrooms pack just the same healthy punch. And we’ve got some great suggestions about how to make them part of your routine, every day.
Medicinal mushrooms as antioxidants
There’s been a lot of hype around antioxidants in the last ten years. And for good reason. Antioxidants neutralise free radicals in the body, helping you avoid illness. Not all free radicals are bad, of course. But when there are more free radicals than can be kept in balance by antioxidants, your body can enter oxidative stress. This can cause cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and other health problems.
The good news is, when it comes to antioxidants, gram-for-gram, mushrooms are one of the most concentrated sources of antioxidants available. You’ll be happy to learn that fresh and powdered mushrooms can help your body fight oxidative stress and stay healthy.
Mushrooms for cancer treatment
Physicians in Japan and China have already started including medicinal mushrooms alongside cancer and tumor treatment. That’s because they're a rich source of anti-cancer and immunomodulating agents, according to this study, and many others.
Turkey Tail and Reishi mushrooms, in particular, can be helpful during cancer treatment. That’s because Turkey Tail contains protein-bound polysaccharides which may slow tumor growth. Reishi’s ability to help the body cope with stress and improve blood flow can help with cancer treatment as well. Speak to your doctor about whether they support your use of medicinal mushrooms as part of your treatment program.
Medicinal mushrooms for your best health
Including mushrooms as part of your balanced diet can have lots of benefits. If you’d like to know more, explore our blog! Learn more about the superfoods your body will love, specific nutrition advice for new mums, and the growing body of research supporting the benefits of mushrooms.