1. They Help The Gut
Recent research has revealed medicinal mushrooms are rich in fibre, making them one of nature’s most potent prebiotics and a strong ally in your quest for good gut health. And because any dysfunction in your gut shows in your skin first, taking mushrooms could lead to a clearer complexion too. Incorporating mushrooms into your diet can increase the growth of Bifidobacterium and lactobacillus, optimum levels of which are crucial for a balanced and happy gut microbiome, and happier, more balanced skin.
2. They Protect Your Immune System
Known as the ‘king of mushroom’s, chaga is an incredible immune booster. Tero Isokauppila, founder of medicinal mushroom brand Four Sigmatic , refers to chaga as an “antioxidant bomb” due to its high levels of melanin, an antioxidant most people would associate with the skin (it’s melanin which is responsible for a tan). Our skin is our largest organ and the first barrier against infection and pathogens and as such, Tero claims regularly taking chaga will act as a “bodyguard” for your inner and outer wellbeing. Due to its earthy taste, chaga is often used by wellness warriors as a coffee substitute – try Four Sigma’s Lion’s Mane and Chaga Coffee .
3. They Boost Athletic Performance
Cordyceps mushrooms are beloved by athletes and gym enthusiasts alike due to their ability to provide energy without extra stimulation. Cordyceps can increase oxygen intake by up to 20%, which provides a natural mental and physical energy boost. In fact, in the early 1990s, the women’s Chinese athletic team broke multiple world records, and it was found their regular intake of cordyceps was likely to have played a large role in their success. These mushrooms feature in Wunder Workshop’s Golden Shrooms blend – we love adding a teaspoon to yoghurt and smoothies pre-workout for a quick energy fix.
4. They Support Cognitive Function
Want to improve your memory and future-proof your brain? It could be worth taking reishi mushrooms. A 2012 study found these super fungi may have neuroprotective effects, which could pave the way for future research surrounding Alzheimer’s disease. The study found reishi extract supports production of a protein called nerve growth factor, which is crucial for healthy neurological function. Lion’s mane, another type of mushroom, has also been shown to improve memory and boost concentration, perfect if you are studying for an exam or have a big presentation at work. Try adding half a teaspoon of Sun Potion’s Lion’s Mane powder to your smoothies – blend with banana, nut butter, cacao powder and almond milk for a brain-boosting breakfast.
5. They Tackle Inflammation
While the majority of medicinal mushrooms have anti-inflammatory properties, it’s chaga mushrooms that have been shown to be particularly potent when it comes to reducing systemic inflammation triggered by chronic stress. Chaga reduces inflammation by lowering elevated cortisol levels, and studies also show it can reduce inflammation in the GI tract. Research also suggests chaga can help those with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), a digestive condition often caused by stress. You’ll find a healthy dose of chaga in Four Sigmatic’s Superfood 10 Mushroom Blend – stir into hot drinks for the best results. Chaga Mushroom Powder, £23.99 | Hybrid Herbs Organic Reishi Mushroom Extract, £25 | KIKI Health