what are benefits of mushrooms for health | Dried Shiitake

Dried shiitake | Photo Credit: Adrian White

Gone are the days where we just saw mushrooms as an odd choice for pizza topping. Now, the benefits of mushrooms for health are taking the world by storm— shocking benefits that are very new to health food lovers and wellness aficionados of the Western world, but which have been a mainstay to traditional healing modalities elsewhere for thousands of years.

This is especially true of adaptogenic mushrooms, which are becoming more popular with mushroom powder, mushroom coffee, extracts, supplements, and beyond. That said: are practically all edible culinary mushrooms good for you in some way? The answer is yes. But adaptogenic mushrooms types— such as chaga, lion’s mane, cordyceps, turkey tail benefits, and more— are healthy for you on a whole different level.

What are benefits of mushrooms overall?

Adaptogenic mushrooms (and culinary mushrooms, too) are rich in wellness benefits of many kinds. The phytochemicals and antioxidants found in them are found in very few other (if not no other) foods you can eat, making them extremely unique sources of nourishment and healing.

Mushrooms nutritional value is very impressive, too. There are many mushrooms with vitamin D, vitamin B12, zinc, and other nutrients that you’d be hard-pressed to find even in vegetables and fruits but are plentiful in animal products— making mushrooms an excellent choice for vegans and vegetarians trying to get a full spectrum balanced diet.

Plant based whole food diet | Palmed Lion's Mane

Lion’s Mane | Photo Credit: Adrian White

Even so, the benefits of mushrooms far surpass the health qualities of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Whether as functional foods or supplements, their properties are astounding in the grand scheme of nutrition and plant-based (or specifically, fungal-based) healing!

The benefits of mushroom powder especially help unlock even more potential from adaptogenic mushrooms: in powder form, many mushroom types yield their nutrition and healing properties more readily to the human gut microbiome than if they were simply cooked and eaten!

What benefits could these be? Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Immune boosting.

Adaptogenic mushrooms, including maitakes and many others, are especially adept at boosting immunity. In fact, it’s more so a question of finding a culinary or medicinal mushroom (adaptogenic or no) that doesn’t boost immunity in some way!

Boosting immunity is one of the standout benefits of all mushrooms. This could help support less illness (like colds and flus) and, with the recommendation of a doctor, also support immune-related illnesses (like autoimmunity, diabetes, or HIV).

  • Nutritional benefits.

Again, mushrooms nutritional value is exceptionally unique. Culinary and food-focused mushrooms like shiitake, lion’s mane, or maitake are fantastic alternative sources of protein for plant based whole food diet eaters. But there also rich in gut-healthy dietary fiber and, as mentioned above, crucial nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin B12, other B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, iron, and more.

  • Reduced inflammation.

The vitamins, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and fiber in many culinary and adaptogenic mushrooms have powerful effects on inflammation— starting in the gut but also benefiting respiratory system, skin, and joints. Mushrooms are great for replacing unhealthy foods that could cause chronic inflammation (like gluten, animal products, processed foods, and sugars).

  • Improved heart health.

The nutrients in adaptogenic mushrooms— including their natural fiber content and antioxidants— are exceptionally geared towards cardiovascular health. These reduce the risk of heart disease, blood vessel diseases, inflammation in the heart or veins, and more.

  • Cellular Health.

In some parts of the world still, powerful adaptogenic mushrooms like chaga, reishi, and others have been continuously to support healthy cell growth. Thanks to the antioxidants found in mushrooms modern research is beginning to support this, too – at the very least for overall cellular wellness..

  • Energy boosting.

One of the benefits lowering inflammation is a boost in energy and less fatigue. Some adaptogenic mushrooms (notably cordyceps and lion’s mane) are observed to be especially effective at this in scientific studies, and have been used for restoring energy in folk medicine practices for thousands of years.

  • Improved cognitive function.

Cognitive function can also be affected by inflammation— which healing mushrooms can help with. Lion’s mane, for example, is an adaptogenic mushroom world-famous for nourishing the nervous system, helping improve memory, brain fog, learning, and to reduce the risk of dementia or neurological diseases.

  • Improved athletic performance.

It may sound crazy, but it’s true— and some research on athletes supports it. Certain mushrooms (specifically cordyceps) have such healing benefits on the heart, lungs, and other organs that they can increase oxidation and energy during exercise, improving your abilities endurance.

  • Better gut health.

As stated above, digestive health really benefits from less inflammation— but adaptogenic mushrooms don’t stop there. Many have antimicrobial properties that can help restore the gut microbiome to better health, reducing the risk of pathogens and illnesses.

  • Better aging.

Who can say no to healthier, more graceful aging? While you can’t stop it altogether, the antioxidants in these powerful healing mushrooms can help nourish the body in a way that helps it be more resilient against free radicals (oxidation), diseases, illness, inflammation, wear and tear.

Let’s take a closer look at the mushrooms that boast all these benefits.

mushrooms good for you | Harvested Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitakes | Photo Credit: Adrian White

Benefits of shiitake mushrooms

Shiitakes (Lentinula edodes) are celebrated as both a delicious food and healing medicine in the Eastern world. They can be as easily eaten and prepared portobellos or button mushrooms— but have more powerful adaptogenic qualities!

  • Boosting immunity
  • Reducing cancer risk
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Boosting heart health
  • …and more

Lion’s mane health benefits

Lion’s mane mushrooms (Hericeum erinaceus) straddle the divide between medicinal mushrooms and culinary mushrooms. With a delicious flavor not all that different from oyster mushrooms (and in some varieties, lobster!) they can also be easily prepared, and are full of healthy nutrients plus adaptogenic benefits particularly for the nervous system.

  • Boosting immunity
  • Reducing risk of neurological disease
  • Supporting anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Boosting cognitive function
  • Relieving brain fog
  • …and more
mushrooms nutritional value | Turkey Tail benefits

Turkey Tail | Photo Credit: Katie Biesendorfer

Benefits of turkey tail mushrooms

Turkey tail mushrooms (Trametes versicolor) are common woodland fungi that grow in ornate and colorful fan-shapes, thus their name (looking like a turkey’s tail). If most people knew how powerful these mushrooms are to health and for healing on many levels…they would be astounded!

  • Immune boosting
  • Promotes Cellular Health
  • Cutting down cold and flu risk
  • Reducing risk of contagious illness
  • Boosting gut health
  • Soothing chronic inflammation
  • …and more
Chaga powder

Chaga Mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) | Photo Credit: Adrian White

Chaga powder benefits

Many fungi are incredibly unique, and chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) is no exception. These black and gold truffle-like mushrooms grow only out of birch trees in knobby protrusions. For thousands of years, chaga has been used as a mushroom powder for teas, broths, and brews to bring people back from sickness, prevent illnesses, and restore health.

Today, chaga especially sought after for immune and cancer-fighting properties noticed by science.

  • Immune boosting
  • Reducing cancer risk
  • Cutting down cold and flu risk
  • Reducing risk of contagious illness
  • Boosting gut health
  • Soothing chronic inflammation
  • …and more

Benefits of cordyceps mushrooms

If you think chaga is strange-sounding…just you wait. Cordyceps are a parasitic mushroom evolved to grow out of living insects! The tradeoff for growing so weirdly: cordyceps health properties are astounding, shown to boost energy, vitality, focus, and immunity on top of it all.

  • Immune boosting
  • Energy boosting
  • Increased cognitive function
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Boost in cardiovascular health
  • …and more

If you’ve explored these adaptogenic mushrooms before and have experience their benefits— which is your favorite? COMMENT BELOW…we would love to hear your perspective!

benefits of mushroom powder adaptogenic mushrooms

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