Just like eating tons of vegetables and following a plant-based whole food diet is healthy, many kinds of mushrooms are good for you, too. Once an overlooked and hard-to-categorize food, in recent decades, mushrooms have experienced a resurgence in the world of health food, rocketing to the top of superfood status!
Whether prepared in meals or consumed as a mushroom powder or supplement, the shocking benefits of mushrooms are wide-ranging, sometimes even beating most vegetables to the punch. That’s why it may surprise some people that there are shocking benefits of mushrooms for skin, too— and no, not in the form of mushroom creams or lotions (though those do exist). You can get plenty of perks for pampered, youthful skin just by eating them or taking them daily.
You might be thinking: mushrooms, good for skin? How? Read on to learn about how the benefits of mushrooms for skin are possible and which kinds of mushrooms are the best choices, according to research and science.
What are the benefits of mushrooms? | Nutritional benefits of mushrooms
If you’re new to the mushroom scene, you’ll be quick to learn that these fantastic fungi are helpful and healing for quite a lot when it comes to wellness. The benefits of mushrooms for health are many: especially the uniqueness and diversity of nutrients in mushrooms, including vitamin D, vitamin B12, protein, and an impressive range of minerals and micronutrients not easily found in most plant-based (and non-
fungi) foods. This full list of nutrients in mushrooms includes:
- Plant proteins
- Vitamin B12 (only in certain varieties)
- Vitamin D (only in certain varieties)
- B vitamins
- …and more
But it’s not just mushrooms’ nutritional value that makes these foods, well, valuable to health. Besides the classic (and non-classic) culinary types of mushrooms, such as portobello, crimini, shiitake, button mushrooms, and more, there are also adaptogenic mushrooms: like chaga, lion’s mane, or cordyceps, which provide a whole other layer of healing properties. (Adaptogenic means the mushrooms boost health in the body to help it “adapt” to stress, illness, supporting conditions, symptoms, and overall health.)
- Supporting inflammation
- Improving digestive health
- Boosting energy and athletic endurance
- Helping fibromyalgia and autoimmune symptoms
- Enhancing mental health and brain function
- Supporting liver health and detoxification
- Reducing risks of most illnesses and conditions
- Boosting heart health
- …and more
Can mushrooms be good for skin health? | Mushroom skin science and 5 benefits
The only important bullet point not included in the above section: yes, mushrooms can be great for skin health. Looking at the previous section, you can probably see some connections to how mushrooms— both culinary and adaptogenic mushrooms— could help skin and why some natural skincare companies are starting to take notice of these powerful healers.
But there are some even more surprising mushroom and skin connections in store. Eating and consuming them on the daily, in meals, or as a supplement can also have skin health and appearance benefits. These include:
- The mushroom and collagen connection
Some mushrooms (most notably chaga mushroom) contain compounds that boost collagen production in the body, such as betulinic acid. Collagen is a natural protein connected to preserving youthful skin and preventing wrinkles.
- Antioxidant powers to help with age-fighting
A lot of healthy mushrooms contain antioxidants, which are connected to free radical fighting. Free radicals are responsible for causing aging and degeneration in the body— including in the skin, which helps with skin health and appearance.
- Detoxification benefits
Many health experts will say that the liver and skin are connected. Detoxing the liver can help clear up the skin, and certain adaptogenic mushrooms— like turkey tail— are connected to supporting liver health, thus natural detoxification and some possible skin health benefits.
- The Vitamin Benefit
Mushrooms of all kinds are healthy foods and very abundant in many vitamins and minerals. These include nutrients that help to protect skin and plump up that youthful look: vitamin C (which has a connection to collagen production), vitamin D, B vitamins (including folate), copper, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and more.
- Supporting inflammation and immunity
What about mushrooms helping certain skin issues, conditions, or symptoms? This is definitely possible, as mushrooms have anti-inflammatory compounds and properties: not just nutrients and antioxidants but also healing polysaccharides, beta-glucans, and more.
These could support conditions like dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, autoimmune skin conditions, and more. Mushrooms cannot cure these conditions, but regular consumption of them daily— as food or supplement— could help support the symptoms and struggles of the condition.
What are the best mushrooms for skin health?
Most mushrooms— either adaptogenic or purely culinary— are good for health overall, with tons of nutrients that could help support skin health. But some have been shown by both science and practical use with natural health professionals to have more powerful effects on the skin: improving skin health, supporting a youthful look with nutrients, and potentially even lending some support for skin issues and conditions.
By far, adaptogenic and immune-boosting mushrooms will have a leading advantage over other types for skin health, such as the types you would take as a supplement or mushroom powder every day. If you’re looking for the best specific kinds to take for your own skin health, here are the top ones we recommend you look into, backed up by traditional use and science.
- Chaga mushroom.
Chaga mushroom is one of our top choices for skin health. A unique denizen of boreal forests that grows on birch trees, it contains high amounts of a health-boosting compound called betulinic acid, which can have an effect on collagen production in the body (especially when using chaga powder) and is one of the best-known mushrooms that boost collagen production.
Collagen proteins are responsible for amplifying skin tone, youthfulness, and reducing wrinkles. In addition, chaga is chock-full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, all geared toward soothing and protecting skin against inflammations and free radicals that could wear it down.
Next in line: cordyceps! Another highly unique medicinal fungus, like other adaptogenic mushrooms (such as chaga) it amplifies immunity and fights inflammation with its antioxidant content, a great benefit for skin health. Studies also show that it could protect the skin against acne-causing bacteria, and another intriguing study showed the mushroom could be very protective against UV damage leading to skin growths or cancers— definitely a plus.
Cordyceps is also one of many mushrooms with vitamin D, specifically vitamin D3, a potent nutrient for skincare and health.
Another of many mushrooms with vitamin D, shiitake is known for having the highest levels of the skin-boosting vitamin— especially if sun-dried, though all shiitake have nutritive vitamin D levels in supplement or powder form. Its powerful immune-boosting compounds, called polysaccharides, have been connected to lots of research for empowering the immune system to fight inflammation and free radicals, which can all be detrimental to youthful and healthy skin over time.
One scientific natural skin health resource says that shiitake helps improve skin elasticity for anti-aging, most likely because it can help “up” collagen production, not unlike chaga mushroom!
Better than using any one of these skincare boosting mushrooms alone, you can find all of these mushrooms together in our Magnificent 7 tasty and drinkable supplement powder. Raise a drink to skin health!