Mushrooms have been a culinary staple for thousands of years, but their medical benefits date back even further. Most of us think of mushrooms as a great accompaniment to a steak or omelet, but the health factors of consuming mushrooms in large quantities are vast. Reaping the benefits of mushrooms strictly through eating them isn’t always possible. Unless you are someone who enjoys consuming fungi in your daily diet, you likely aren’t getting enough of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that makeup mushrooms to see the benefits. For days when mushrooms aren’t a part of your diet or for those who don’t like the taste and texture of mushrooms, there’s a supplement for that. Actually, there are many.
Eating and consuming mushrooms in food and supplement form has taken off recently as the health benefits of the members of the fungus family are becoming more widely known. Thanks to the thick and chewy texture of mushrooms, they have also seen a rise in popularity because of their similarities to meat and the increase in plant-based meat alternatives. Over the past three years, the mushroom industry was projected to have a $2.4 billion increase. The market for products that are made with mushrooms as an ingredient has exploded, with supplements, teas, shakes, chocolates, and even shower gels now available for customers who want to improve their health.
Mitzi Dulan, who wrote The Pinterest Diet, said that unlike other foods that are white, mushrooms are rich in nutrients. “They contain many minerals, like selenium, potassium, copper, iron, and phosphorus, that are not often found in plant-derived foods,” said Dulan in a 2019 interview with Good Housekeeping. So, what exactly is the big deal with mushrooms and why should you be increasing your daily intake of mushrooms? There are many reasons.
1. Mushrooms May Help Ward Off Cancer
According to the National Cancer Institute, eating mushrooms may help prevent certain cancers from developing in the body. Mushrooms contain an antioxidant that has shown positive results in relation to preventing lung, prostate and breast cancer. Mushrooms have also been shown to “stimulate the activity of immune cells, macrophages and free radicals,” which helps stop or at least slow the growth of cancer cells and tumors. Some mushrooms also contain vitamin D, which has several benefits, including helping to prevent cancer in certain individuals.
2. Mushrooms Are Rich In Antioxidants
A 2017 study done by Penn State scientists found that mushrooms have a high level of glutathione and ergothioneine, which are “an excellent source of dietary antioxidants.” Combining the two antioxidants helps prevent visible signs of aging, including wrinkles.
3. Mushrooms Are Anti-inflammatory
We typically try to stay away from making sweeping statements, but generally speaking, inflammation is never good. Thankfully, mushrooms are a great way to naturally treat inflammation. Because they are high in ergothioneine and selenium, which both have anti-inflammatory properties, mushrooms make a great natural aid for minor injuries or autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
4. Mushrooms Can Help Boost Your Immune System
Whether cold season is approaching, you are preparing to travel or you simply want to keep sickness at bay, getting a few extra doses of mushrooms is a great way to boost your immune system and stay healthy. Lentinan, which is typically found in shiitake mushrooms and button mushrooms, as well as beta-glucan, a type of sugar that can be found in the walls of mushrooms, are both known for helping to boost the immune system.
5. Mushrooms Contain Healthy Heart Vitamins
When it comes to B vitamins, mushrooms have them in spades. Riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid are all found in mushrooms and together can have a positive impact on the heart. These vitamins promote red blood cells, help with the functioning of the digestive system and the nervous system, and assist the body in producing the necessary hormones for healthy growth.
6. Mushrooms Help to Lower Cholesterol
Mushrooms have been shown to help lower cholesterol and weight, which is good news for those who want to maintain healthy blood pressure. Generally speaking, mushrooms do not contain any cholesterol, but they also include chitin and beta-glucan, which can help lower total cholesterol and LDL.
Now that we have compiled a list of ways that mushrooms are a superfood, check out some of our top picks for the best mushroom supplements below.
Genius Mushroom Supplement
For a super supplement that targets several important health issues, we like this mushroom supplement from Genius. The supplement extracts from three types of mushrooms, including Reishi, which helps to naturally boost a person’s immunity. It can also help to improve a person’s mood and help naturally cleanse their liver. Lions Mane mushroom extract focuses on focus, helping to boost brain activity and recall ability. Using Cordyceps Sinensis and its ATP production, Genius Mushroom Supplements may also help to improve the user’s oxygen capacity, thus improving their aerobic performance and physical endurance. The non-GMO supplement is organic, made with mushrooms grown in the US, and manufactured in a facility that is GMP certified.
Host Defense Lions Mane Capsules
Host Defense has a wide variety of mushroom supplements for customers to choose from, including capsules that are geared towards digestion, respiratory support, immunity-boosting and general wellness. The company’s Lions Mane Capsules focus on memory and nerve support. Using Lions Mane mushroom mycelium, which has shown to have a positive relationship to nerve growth, the supplement focuses on improving the user’s cerebral and nervous system. The supplements are designed to help users have better mental clarity, memory and alertness. The ingredients have been freeze-dried and activated, which helps lengthen the amount of time the supplement has a positive effect on the user after ingesting the capsule. Host Defense is sustainably cultivated, certified organic and uses mushrooms grown in the US. We also like that unlike most supplements, Host Defense can be taken on an empty stomach.
Organic Lions Mane Mushroom Capsules by VitaRaw
BEST FOR ENERGY
Tired of feeling tired? Get the energy boost you need to make it through your next workout or simply through the day with the Organic Lions Mane Mushroom Capsules by VitaRaw. The gelatin-free capsules are made with natural ingredients, including organic Lions Mane Powder, organic black pepper extract, and organic rice powder. Using Lions Mane, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, the supplement helps to improve blood flow and increase oxygen levels in the brain, which can relieve stress and boost energy levels. Black pepper helps to improve the rate of absorption, helping users feel the positive effects of the vegan-friendly supplement even faster.
Turkey Tail Mushroom Supplement by DoubleWood
HELP BOOST IMMUNITY
If cold season is approaching or if you suffer from chronic digestion issues, now is a great time to start incorporating the Turkey Tail Mushroom Supplement by DoubleWood into your daily routine. The organic, gluten-free, vegan and non-GMO supplement uses Turkey Tail mushrooms to help naturally boost a person’s immune system. Turkey Tail also features antioxidants, including phenols and flavonoids, as well as prebiotics, helping to aid in digestion.
Turkey Tail Mushroom Supplement by NutriFlair
HELPS WITH FATIGUE
For a highly potent mushroom supplement that aids in several areas, including immunity, we like the Turkey Tail mushroom supplement from NutriFlair. Ten types of mushrooms are used, including Cordyceps, Reishi, Lions Mane, Chaga, Turkey Tail, Maitake, Shiitake, Enoki, Agaricus, and Oyster mushrooms for an impressive 2600mg dosage in each serving. Thanks to the comprehensive list of mushrooms used by NutriFlair, the supplement is designed to help boost energy levels and immunity, battle chronic fatigue, improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels and improve mental cognition and focus. The 100% natural supplement is vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free.