Powerhouse of Nutrients
For 5000 years or more, humans have used mushrooms3, and due to an excellent nutrient profile, mushroom popularity continues to grow. Eating mushrooms provide vitamin D and B-vitamins such as riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin, along with minerals such as selenium, copper and potassium.4 Naturally occurring antioxidants like ergothioneine and glutathione, along with beta-glucan polysaccharides, are notably found in wild mushrooms.5 Consuming mushrooms also provides protein and complex carbohydrates, including fibre. These nutrients are critical to promoting overall health and support the role of dietary mushrooms in being beneficial for the immune system, energy and stress resistance.
Our immune system is critical in protecting us from disease. Mushrooms have been extensively studied for their ability to regulate immune function, due in part to mushrooms’ active compounds such as beta-glucan polysaccharides and proteins.3 Beta glucans are “biological response modifiers” that enhance the body’s response to infection by binding to receptors on the membranes of white blood cells, including macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells and cytotoxic T-cells, to activate them. Clinical research has found that reishi mushrooms possess extensive immune-modulating effects both in vivo and in vitro and help protect immune system cells from oxidative damage.6,7
Manage Stress and Improve Mood
Medicinal mushrooms are well-known for their adaptogenic activity, thereby helping the body deal with the negative impact of mental and physical stress, whilst also increasing energy. The medicinal mushroom lion’s mane is well-known for its ability to boost mood and improve cognitive function. In a placebo-controlled clinical trial, lion’s mane mushroom resulted in reduced feelings of anxiety and irritation, and improved concentration compared to the placebo group.8
If you are looking to support immune health, get more antioxidants, improve your gut microbiota and support your mood and cognition, eat more mushrooms and/or use a mushroom supplement. Your body will thank you!
*References available on request