What Are Functional Mushrooms?
As we embark on a new year, many people are focused on prioritizing their health. From sound healing to spiritual self-care to sleep hygiene, there are plenty of wellness trends that are predicted for 2022. However, there is one tried and true functional food that has been used for thousands of years and proven to be more than just a fad - functional mushrooms!
If you aren’t familiar with functional mushrooms and want to learn about their health-boosting properties, keep reading to find out more.
What Makes a Mushroom Functional?
As their name suggests, functional mushrooms are, indeed, mushrooms; but they are not generally the standard varieties you find at your grocery store, although some can be. They are also not psychedelic mushrooms.
Functional, or medicinal, mushrooms are specific varieties that have health benefits beyond just providing nutrition. Many functional mushrooms are considered adaptogens, helping the body cope with stressors, and some are nootropic, which benefit the brain. They have a long history of being used in East Asian medicine and have been gaining popularity in the wellness world for the past few years.
What Are the Benefits of Functional Mushrooms?
Scientific literature suggests that there are several health benefits of functional mushrooms, including strengthening our immune systems and cancer prevention. Functional mushrooms also have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antidiabetic, cardiovascular-protective, and hepatoprotective properties.
7 of the Best Functional Mushrooms
At Revivele, we have been long-time proponents of functional mushrooms and have experienced their benefits firsthand. Here are some of our favourite functional mushrooms!
1. Lion’s Mane
Lion’s mane mushrooms are large, white mushrooms that have a shaggy spine. Potential benefits of lion’s mane include improving focus, concentration, and memory. These mushrooms contain hericenones and erinacines compounds, which can induce nerve growth factor (NGF) synthesis in nerve cells and create a neuroprotective effect.
Animal studies have revealed that lion’s mane may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Lion’s mane has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects that can assist with mild anxiety. Lowering blood pressure and preventing the oxidation of cholesterol, which reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, are other potential benefits of these globe-shaped fungi.
Chaga mushrooms are a type of fungus that grows on birch trees in cold climates. These nutrient-rich mushrooms contain B-complex vitamins, vitamin D, amino acids, selenium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc.
In addition to being nutrient-rich, chaga mushrooms are also rich in antioxidants, which are chemicals that can help prevent cell damage. Because chaga mushrooms supply the body with more antioxidants, it is believed that they may help reduce oxidative stress and, in turn, fight aging.
Other potential benefits of chaga mushrooms include fighting inflammation, lowering cholesterol, and decreasing blood pressure.
This fungus is a staple in Eastern medicine, and it is one of the most popular functional mushrooms today. This can be attributed to its immune-boosting benefits and calming properties.
The unique calming effects of reishi mushrooms are due to the compound triterpene, which has been found to reduce depression, alleviate anxiety, and promote healing. Reishi is a great medicinal mushroom for improving your overall well-being.
4. Cordyceps militaris
Cordyceps militaris is a type of fungus that is used by people around the world for its promising health benefits. Like other kinds of functional mushrooms, Cordyceps militaris has anti-inflammatory properties and can help boost the immune system.
What sets Cordyceps militaris apart from other types of functional mushrooms is its ability to improve energy and stamina. It is capable of maximizing oxygen consumption, which helps with cardiac and respiratory health. Cordyceps militaris may also help improve the blood sugar profile in diabetics.
5. Tremella fuciformis
Tremella fuciformis is an edible, white mushroom that grows on broad-leaved trees. It is popular in the beauty industry because it is particularly beneficial for skin health.
The polysaccharides contained in this medicinal mushroom are effective antioxidants that may improve skin hydration and act as antiwrinkle agents. Tremella fuciformis is also high in vitamin D, which plays an important role in skin protection, repair, and rejuvenation.
6. Turkey Tail
If you are looking to improve your gut health, turkey tail mushrooms are a great option! Turkey tail contains prebiotics, which help nourish beneficial gut bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, and reduce harmful gut bacteria, like Clostridium and Staphylococcus. This fungi is also packed with antioxidants and immune-boosting polysaccharopeptides.
Lastly, the maitake mushroom, which means dancing mushroom in Japanese, is a type of adaptogen that has amazing healing properties. Adaptogens help your body adjust to chemical, physical, or biological stress. They also regulate systems in your body that have become unbalanced.
Maitake mushrooms are rich in beta-glucans, which can help reduce cholesterol, improve arterial function, and lower cardiovascular risk. Compared to other types of functional mushrooms, maitake has also been shown to be more effective at preventing and treating cancer.
Now that you know what functional mushrooms are and the many health benefits that come from consuming them, we hope you will consider incorporating them into your routine. They are available as supplements and in tea format. Keep your eyes peeled for an announcement about an exciting line of supplements containing all of these functional mushrooms that Revivele will be releasing in the near future!