It doesn’t get better than mushrooms tossed in a vegan stir fry or a Portobello “burger.” Correction: it does get better when that same meal is as good for you…
It doesn’t get better than mushrooms tossed in a vegan stir fry or a Portobello “burger.” Correction: it does get better when that same meal is as good for you as it tastes. While chanterelle to oyster mushrooms are packed with nutrients, some of their lesser-known medicinal cousins go above and beyond, providing all those physical and emotional benefits we’re constantly searching the supplement aisle for — without the gimmick. These mushrooms are the real deal, and it’s safe to say we’re obsessed.
Note: You won’t see these in the produce section. Get them as a tea or in pill or powder form; the latter can be sprinkled over meals or mixed into coffee with your favourite nut milk for a latte that may or may not make be magical.
Chaga is the heavy-hitter. Used by ancient folk healers and Siberian shamans, the “King of Medicinal Mushrooms” essentially does all of the good stuff that contributes to a stellar life-energy balance. It supports a healthy immune system, metabolism, and vitality, and studies have found that applying it topically (it’s a popular skin cream in Japan) can be an effective combatant against wrinkles. Seriously, if there’s one mushroom you’re going to integrate into your routine, it’s this guy. It’s loaded with antioxidants, is shown to support eye and lung health, and tastes like vanilla and maple when made into a tea.
This is another one we can’t get enough of. As a noble mushroom (it’s what it sounds like — it reigns at the top of the fungus kingdom), reishi can help fight non-noble fungi, like candida, while supporting your kidneys and helping regulate blood sugar. It’s also great if you’re trying to detox your liver or seeking a natural method to fight, or prevent, cancer. The best part, though, is that it doesn’t just boost your immune system: it helps enhance your body’s intelligence so it becomes better at healing itself.
Scientists might still be searching for the fountain of youth, but cordyceps are a pretty good substitute. A natural disease-fighter, cordyceps can help reduce the effects of aging and stress, partly due to their anti-inflammatory properties and ability to stimulate the protective cells that keep us healthy. It’s also prized among athletes as it increases energy levels. If you’re looking for something to boost your next workout, studies have found that cordyceps deter fatigue, prevent weakness, and can provide endurance and stamina so you can exercise at a higher level for longer periods of time.
Have a big test coming up? Need to focus at work? Lion’s mane has your back. It looks just like the name implies (think a white, fluffy mushroom that could easily belong to Simba), and while it also has a lengthy list of superpowers, it’s best known for boosting your brain.
It’s great if you’re just looking to show your brain some love — it stimulates cognitive function and helps improve memory, and it’s recommended to take while studying for an exam or preparing for a presentation. However, studies have also revealed its groundbreaking impact on neurodegenerative diseases. It can help regenerate damaged cells and it enhances “neurite outgrowth,” meaning it can slow or reverse brain cell degeneration. This could be revolutionary for treating diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
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