Throughout history, humans have valued mushrooms as culinary delicacies and for their health benefits. In fact, Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, and many other healthcare traditions have utilized medicinal mushrooms for millennia.
In recent years, Western medicine has discovered medicinal mushrooms' nutraceutical value, as well. Research indicates that mushrooms have nutrients that offer a number of benefits, from specific nutrients (such as protein, key vitamins and numerous bioactive compounds) to properties that provide powerful antioxidants and fight stress while supporting the immune system.
Read on to learn about the nutritive power of mushrooms... and discover how you can reap the tasty benefits of adding organic mushrooms to your diet.
Benefits of Eating Mushrooms
There's a reason why so many cultures have long enjoyed mushrooms as a food source. Not only are these popular fungi delicious, they're also nutritious!
Mushrooms deliver a healthy helping of low-calorie, cholesterol-free protein and carbohydrates, as well as dietary fiber in the form of beta glucan. Research has found that this soluble fiber can help regulate blood sugar levels, and it has also been linked to heart health.
Organic mushrooms offer vitamins such as B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid) and easily absorbed B12. Together, these B vitamins can benefit your cardiovascular health, give your red blood cells a boost, support the skin, and help balance hormones. Unlike many other plant-based foods, some mushrooms also offer vitamin D, which contributes to healthy bones, teeth and muscles.
Mushrooms also provide necessary minerals such as potassium, choline, copper, phosphorus, and selenium, an antioxidant. And speaking of antioxidants, let's take a look at one of the most promising health benefits of mushrooms: anthocyanin compounds known as flavonoids that support the immune system.
Multiple studies have explored the role antioxidants play in human health, and mushrooms have been discovered to be packed full of them! Why are mushrooms such a rich source of antioxidants? Unlike plants (which meet their metabolic needs through photosynthesis and drawing minerals from soil) fungi "feed themselves" by breaking down the plant matter around them, withdrawing what they need to survive and freeing key nutrients along the way. The more nutritious the growth medium, the more antioxidants the mushrooms will have!
This process creates antioxidants that benefit our health. Specifically, mushrooms are among the highest known dietary sources of the antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione, which have been linked to:
- immune system support
- performance enhancement
- increased energy and stamina
- improved mood
Another key benefit? Stress reduction. Certain varieties of adaptogenic mushrooms serve as nature's stress fighters. Commonly used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, these mushrooms may help balance adrenal glands, which in turn may help your body better handle the effects of stress.
While many mushroom varieties offer health benefits, certain varieties may be even more beneficial when combined. Recent studies indicate that specific mushroom nutrients provide extra support to the immune system when blended together. The combination of shiitake, reishi, and maitake mushrooms offers outstanding health benefits.
Lentinula edodes, commonly known as shiitake mushrooms, may be best known as a tasty delicacy. But did you know that shiitakes contain nutrients that may support heart health and your immune system?
Reishi, or Ganoderma lucidum, may support memory and improve mood. Known as the "immortality mushroom," studies indicate that reishi may also support immunity and even improve mood and reduce fatigue.
Maitake, or Grifola frondosa, are adaptogenic mushrooms known to support immune system function. Long used in Japanese and Chinese medicine, maitake contain high levels of antioxidants.
Simple Way To Add Mushrooms To Your Diet
Life's Abundance makes it easy to add the benefits of organic mushroom nutrients to your diet! Our Greens Blend nourishes your body with a blend of raw, certified-organic grasses and certified, organic mushrooms for exceptional nutrient value. This certified organic blend of reishi, maitake, and shiitake mushrooms goes down easily in this lightly berry flavored mix. Scoop, stir and enjoy your organic greens and mushrooms!