We discuss some of the most powerful mushroom commodities on the planet that many of us completely overlook- check out these 13 amazing species of fungi:
- - Agaricus (Agaricus Blazei)
- - Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis)
- - Chaga (Inonotus Obliquus)
- - Coriolus (Coriolus Versicolor)
- - Lion's Mane (Hericuim Erinaceus)
- - Maitake (Grifola Frondosa)
- - Poria (Poria Cocos)
- - Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum)
- - Oyster (Pleurotus Ostreatus)
- - Phellinus (Phellinus Linteus)
- - Polyporus (Umbellatus)
- - Tremella (Fuciformis)
- - Agarikon (Lariciformes Offic)
It’s likely you’ve eaten a mushroom or two in your time, and these earthy delights don’t just make for a delicious side or a staple ingredient in many a home recipe – have you ever thought about mushroom health benefits? Mushroom recipes are easy to make and a treat each and every day of the week – but there’s a few things you may not know about them – and about some of their wilder, more interesting varieties.
While superfoods may come and go, we are always happy to sing the praises of the common mushroom – while your regular intake of them may come in recipes as simple or as diverse as mushroom soup, it may well be time that you start looking into some of the more interesting ways to introduce a variety of fungi into your food diary.
Mushroom Health Benefits
While many may not class mushrooms and fungi under same umbrella as a number of green or root vegetables, there is no reason why you should consider casting them to one side. Whether you’re making the perfect mushroom sauce or are interested in introducing more into your daily diet, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the vegetable should be one of your staple ingredients no matter what your tastes may be. Mushroom health facts don’t just stack up based upon conjecture and word of mouth – modern studies and usage of some of the rarer fungi dating back centuries should say everything for how incredible they are.
Types of Mushrooms
While you may think that there are only one or two different species of mushroom that exist in the recipes we eat every day, you may well be surprised to learn that there are more than a few different fungi which are sadly overlooked in favour of the more popular choices out there. While we may all have eaten a button or a Portobello in our time, how many Cordyceps have you eaten? Let’s take a closer look at some of our favourite mushrooms growing right this second in the wild – and some which are getting sadly overlooked.
Agaricus mushrooms are commonly found in the East and in South America, having originated in Brazil – where they are still commonly sold to this day. Not only can they be consumed or enjoyed as part of a tea, they also have incredible medicinal properties – which can help with problems such as heart disease and cancer. They are also thought to help with your body’s insulin levels.
- - Antioxidant properties
- - Immune system strengthening
- - Heart disease prevention
- - Blood disorder relief
- - Cancer relief
- - Lowers cholesterol
Cordyceps mushrooms come in a range of different varieties, and while they may be amongst some of the most interesting fungi growing in the world today, you may not have had the chance to try one or two in mushroom recipes just yet. The Cordyceps, like the Lion’s Mane, is a parasite – and this long, thin species of mushrooms grows avidly in humid tropical environments such as rainforests. They are also thought to be able to help reduce cholesterol, protect our livers and even give us faster recovery from breathing problems.
- - Immunity booster
- - Diabetes relief
- - Anti-aging properties
- - Sleep relief
- - Breathing relief
- - Liver protection
- - Appetite control
Chaga – a parasitic mushroom – is a tree-growing fungus that can be easy to spot but is largely hiding in plain sight. It is a black, crusty mass which is picking up increasing popularity in the medicinal trade for various benefits – as it has been doing over hundreds of years. Chaga is thought to be extremely beneficial in helping to support those experiencing stomach or intestinal problems – as well as being a proven booster for skin health. Yes, yet again – it is a mushroom which has your outer health at the top of its agenda.
- - Immunity booster
- - Essential for healthy skin
- - Gastrointestinal relief
- - High in antioxidants
- - Prevents cell damage
Coriolus, once again, is a mushroom with fantastic immunity-boosting properties. It’s an Eastern fungus which can also be known as the ‘Turkey Tail’ – and it has been widely studied for years as a result of its incredible medicinal properties. It is yet another mushroom which may not be on your plate but holds incredible health benefits. Its use is thought to date back to the Ming Dynasty in the 15th century – so it’s hardly a new discovery – but it is certainly time you made use of Coriolus’ fantastic health-boosting properties.
- - Incredible immunity booster
- - Helps with colds and viruses
- - Helps fight in cancer recovery as well as against certain cells
- - A great digestive aid
- - Impressive against infections
Lion’s Mane mushrooms are parasitic – in the sense that they take over plant life as hosts – but they are completely safe to consume and are considered incredibly beneficial to human health. They are a gourmet choice when it comes to mushrooms – our own research and studies have led us to look into incredible properties that suggest the Lion’s Mane could be useful in repairing nerve damage – and that they may even hold the key to dementia treatment for years to come.
- - Nerve damage repairer
- - Helps with cognitive repair
- - Helps with digestion and ulcers
- - An aid against anxiety and depression
- - Fights cancerous cells
- - Anti-aging properties
Sometimes referred to as the ‘hen of the woods’ thanks to its unique plumage, this mushroom has been a staple of alternative and natural medicine for centuries. They are often found late into the year and are harvested, again, for their fantastic medicinal properties. They can help in the fight against various cancers and serious illnesses or disorders that could shorten your lifespan – making them an ideal inclusion in any diet.
- - Can help to fight cancer cells
- - Supports the fight against HIV and AIDS
- - Could help to lower blood sugar
- - It’s an immunity-booster
- - Can offer relief to diabetics
Poria mushrooms are not your everyday supermarket purchase – they’re commonly used in Chinese herbology and are also used primarily as a source of medicinal aid. The medicinal part of this mushroom can be found in its filaments – and they are commonly used to help treat a wide range of infections and cognitive problems. It’s one of many mushrooms that has a huge number of catch-all solutions.
- - Kidney-friendly – boosts function
- - Remedies sleeplessness, insomnia and fatigue
- - Stomach and urination relief
- - Can help to ease problematic tumours
- - Can even help with anxiety and tension, as well as amnesia
Another fungus that is widely used for medicinal purposes, this mushroom is fantastic for helping to treat various infections as well as anxiety and cognitive problems. It’s thought to be able to help rebuild your body in terms of immunity and can help to keep your blood flowing at a healthy rate – and it can be widely used in a number of medicines and specialised treatments.
- - Reduces blood pressure
- - Helps to boost your body’s immunity
- - Can fight infections such as hepatitis
- - Can help to relieve anxiety
- - Can fight off insomnia
Oyster mushrooms are commonly found in markets all over the world – they’re notably for their broad, wide caps and their delicious mild flavour – they are full of essential nutrients and have long been studied for their health benefits in any everyday diet. As some of those most common mushrooms available, there’s never been a better time to start cooking some up for a few classic mushroom recipes.
- - Extremely high in protein, essential vitamins and folic acid
- - Anti-oxidant properties
- - Can help to fight cancerous cells
- - Can fight cholesterol
Phellinus linteus, to give its full name, is another Chinese marvel in terms of medicinal properties. It contains a number of helpful acids which can bring antioxidant effects to the body – and what’s more, it is another mushroom that can be consumed in the fight against cancerous cells. It’s widely prescribed and while it may not be one of the more common caps you’ll find, it’s essential in helping to stave off certain illnesses and problems.
- - It’s a cancer-fighting fungus
- - Helps to fight heart disease
- - Maintains healthy blood sugar
- - Helps to balance hormone levels
Its full name, Polyporus Umbellatus, literally means umbrella-shaped – it it’s also a great umbrella for many different health issues and needs. It’s a fantastic aid against liver problems in particular, though this rare fungus can also be used to help fight against certain cancerous growths and improve the immunity of even the weakest individuals.
- - A brilliant immunity booster
- - Can help to reduce chemotherapy side effects
- - Can help to prevent and cure liver damage
- - Can help to fight cancerous cells
The Tremella fungus is another popular ingredient in Chinese medicine and is therefore used to help treat a wide array of symptoms and illnesses. It is thought to be particularly helpful in the fight against coughs and associated issues – and they’re a brilliant, natural source of Vitamin D. As mushrooms are generally the only truly natural vegetable source of the vitamin, you can do far worse than introduce some Tremella into your diet – through supplement or otherwise.
- - A great source of Vitamin D
- - Can help to promote healthy skin
- - Can aid weight control
- - Can help to balance insulin
- - Can help the body metabolise proteins
In terms of antiviral fungi, Agarikon is perhaps one of the most important. A healthy consumption of this mushroom, which can be found throughout the world and was well-loved by both the ancient Chinese and ancient Greeks, can help to strengthen your body against some of the nastiest viral strains out there. It’s thought that these mushrooms can help to boost vitality and your longevity, too.
- - Helps the body fight against powerful viruses and strains
- - Can be used as an anti-inflammatory
- - Contains unique antiviral properties
Mushrooms and Vitamin D
One of the more fascinating health boosts we’ve discovered in our study of mushrooms is the fact that they are incredible for helping increase your Vitamin D intake. Vitamin D, of course, is an essential component of any diet – and it is even available from the sun’s rays – but, unbelievably, your good old mushroom soup will have more of the vitamin available than many other natural foodstuffs. In fact, it is the only natural fruit or vegetable which is chock-full of Vitamin D – some Portobello mushrooms in particular are grown and exposed to ultraviolet come bursting with the healthy vitamin – in any case, if you are looking for a natural source, mushrooms may be one of your easiest available options. This may be one of the more obvious or more oft-cited mushroom health facts – but it is always worth mentioning. With that said, it's key to note that it contains Vitamin D2 and not the more desired and bioavailable Vitamin D3
Mushrooms Boost Immunity
We’ve also discovered that a diet of mushrooms can help to influence protein production in the body, meaning that your tissues can be easier protected and rebuilt in times of illness. Therefore, their natural composition can actively help to defend you against even the worst bouts of sickness. Therefore, whether you’re guzzling mushroom sauce or simply enjoy them as a side, they are a great option for anyone looking to boost their body’s antiviral capabilities. It should also be noted that mushrooms can help to fight against cancer in varying forms – a little more on that later on.
Look and Feel Great – With Mushrooms?
Yes – believe it or not – we’ve also found that mushrooms are superb for helping you feel great on the inside and looking healthy on the outside. They have long been put forward as an essential asset in the fight against long-term health issues such as diabetes and obesity – and others have asserted that the vegetable’s Vitamin D content can help to stave off cancer growth, too. While there may not be a natural catch-all solution for removing all harmful illnesses and disorders at the point of attack – it is widely agreed that mushrooms are essential for looking good and feeling great. Complexion, hair and more besides all feel the benefit of regular mushroom intake – meaning that if you haven’t considered taking more on as part of your regular diet, there has never been a better time to start incorporating them into your routine. Ancient Chinese practice has used various mushrooms to help promote beautiful skin and to help keep weight at a healthy balance for centuries – maybe it’s time we started paying more attention!
Are Mushrooms Classed as a Superfood?
Yes – while your standard mushroom soup served from a can may not necessarily be the most antiviral or antioxidant on the planet, fungi have only recently been named as a rising superfood of interest. This is somewhat strange to us – as the health benefits of mushrooms, particularly in those rarer ones found out East, are plain to see. Our own studies and multiple research papers worldwide have found that there are varieties of fungi and other growths which can help to heal the body after certain illnesses, can stave off nasty viruses, and can even help to boost your chances of a longer lifespan.
Mushrooms such as the Agarikon, which are not commonly eaten or found in Europe, are particularly useful for those who may be at risk from certain illnesses or strains. It is therefore essential that more of us start looking into the benefits of even the world’s weirdest fungi – and, where possible, start taking on more of these delicious delicacies to boost our own physical and mental health. You read that correctly – we’ve even found that some mushrooms can help to alleviate anxiety, depression and may even hold the key to answering complex problems such as dementia.
Can Mushrooms Fight Cancer?
Yes – absolutely. All of the mushrooms we list here can help fight against bodily dysfunction in some form or another – and the vast majority of them are superb at helping to fight against cancerous cell growth and even against specific types of cancer. Studies, including our own, into rarer mushrooms have found that a healthy diet of certain fungi can help promote anti-cancer chemicals and can even help to restore the body to its former self during periods of chemotherapy – where you may be weakened after having fought a particularly nasty disease.
Cancer comes in various forms and strengths and while we are yet to find an absolute cure for cells that develop malignant growths, it’s important to remember that there are a host of foodstuffs and supplements out there which can actively help your body prepare itself against anything nasty that may come its way. In our opinion, some of the rarest and wildest of mushrooms and growths all over the world – the likes of some you may never even have heard of – hold the key to fighting cancer in the future. For now, they are fantastic additions to any diet – and if you are unable to come across any of the rarer mushrooms we recommend, there is of course a way around this – a supplement!
The infinitive powers of mushrooms are still being discovered and apart from helping us absorb protein, repair DNA and add to our overall health they even fight off cancer. Their properties are amazing, you can enjoy a nice Chaga Tea or you can go all in with the 13 with the Medicinal Mushrooms.
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