The Marvels of Medicinal Mushrooms

April 2020 - Nutrition

Many of us love a practical cooking mushroom—from the old stand-by white button to the up-levelled cremini to the meaty portobello, for example. Did you know that the difference between these three specific ‘shrooms is merely age: from youthful (familiar white softies) to middle-aged (baby portobellas) to mature (the wizened porto)? They all belong to the Agaricus bisporus variety, a comfortably delicious family of table mushrooms.

Flavourful fungi add earthy depth to everyday cooking. From soups to stews to egg dishes, a handful of mushrooms can bring a dish to completeness. And every mushroom offers some level of nutrition, from over a dozen minerals and vitamins (e.g., copper, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and B-vitamins) as well as fibre and antioxidants like selenium and glutathione that protect cells from damage and reduce chronic disease and inflammation.

Functional mushrooms. More than your average button.
Beyond the epicurean table, there’s also the magic of Super Food mushrooms. So-called medicinal mushrooms are potent health boosters—brain health champions, hormone helpers, and antioxidant superstars. Some of these functional friends are adaptogenic, meaning that they help promote homeostasis in the body to help adapt to stress and resist fatigue.

Depending on the species, medicinal mushrooms can support everything from immune defense to natural energy to youthful radiance.

Each mushroom is unique, providing its own distinct health advantages.
All functional mushrooms contain beta-glucans, which help fight inflammation and aid the immune system. The extraordinary report card includes marks for antioxidants, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes!

For thousands of years, mushrooms have been recognized for their nutritional value and medicinal properties.

Beneficial fungi features—immune-modulating, anti-cancer, heart-healthy, cholesterol-lowering, liver-protective, detoxifying—have garnered attention from modern-day holistic health practitioners. You may wish to consider augmenting your health profile with a quality medicinal mushroom. Look for them at your local health store in the form of powder, tincture, tea, capsule, or tablet.

Cordyceps – the pick-me-up

Superpower: energy-booster
Magic markers: enhances blood flow; blood sugar-lowering, hormone-balancing, libido-supportive; fights both physical and mental fatigue; supports athletic performance and muscle recovery

Chaga – the antioxidant powerhouse

Superpower: kills the common cold
Magic markers: powerful phenolic content makes skin glow; antiviral; boosts and rebalances immune system; reduces inflammation; helps lower LDL cholesterol

Reishi – liquid yoga (the mushroom of immortality)

Superpower: calming
Magic markers: helps lower blood sugar; offers relief from seasonal allergies; encourages good sleep; helps with depression and anxiety.

Lion’s Mane – the smart mushroom

Superpower: memory and brain builder
Magic markers: offers neuroprotective properties that help alleviate brain fog and enhance cognitive function; antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral; immune stimulator
Great to take in the morning for attention, focus, and mood-enhancing qualities

Julia Denker has a passion for wellness, educational background in psychology and nutrition, and administrative leadership experience. She knows that we can all live and work smarter by making small but impactful lifestyle changes, including rethinking our food choices. Understanding bio-chemical individuality is key, and she guides clients on cueing into their bodies to craft a nourishment plan that works.

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