(Natural News) The idea of eating fungi is off-putting for some people, yet mushrooms are a celebrated culinary ingredient in cuisines around the world. They aren’t just to add flavor to certain dishes either. Some mushrooms can also provide a person with multiple health benefits, chief of which is strengthening your immune system.
Medicinal mushrooms aren’t your ordinary mushrooms. For one thing, they aren’t meant to be eaten raw or whole, and should instead be consumed in powder form. This makes it even easier to reap the benefits of medicinal mushrooms as you only have to add a spoonful of powder to any of your favorite recipes. Due to their potent healing properties, medicinal mushrooms have been utilized in Eastern medicine for thousands of years. Several medicinal mushrooms are even packed with antioxidants that can help protect you against inflammation and oxidative stress. (Related: Medicinal mushrooms found to strengthen the immune system.)
Medicinal mushrooms to boost your immune system
Medicinal mushrooms come in a wide variety of fungi superfoods, each with their own special healing properties. Here are some mushrooms that can greatly benefit your immune system:
- Cordyceps. Cordyceps mushrooms are very useful in boosting your flagging energy levels. As these mushrooms can help improve blood flow and help your body utilize oxygen more efficiently, they can be of great use in improving athletic performance and speeding up muscle recovery. They can also help prevent cancer by stimulating your immune system and helping raise the levels of natural cancer-killing cells, such as T cells, in your body. Additionally, they are also considered beneficial in enhancing the longevity of white blood cells.
- Reishi. Reishi mushrooms are a true superfood. For centuries, these mushrooms have been utilized in Chinese herbal medicines and now rank among the most popular of medicinal mushrooms. Boasting a diverse set of healing properties, they can support a healthy immune system, help you lose weight, help fight against cancer cells, lower blood pressure, promote liver health, decrease pain and inflammation, and naturally kill viruses, among other health benefits. The extract of reishi mushrooms contains its own anticancer compounds, and it also can also enhance your immune functions by increasing your body’s production levels of interleukin 1 and 2 compounds. Furthermore, reishi mushrooms have unique calming properties due to being rich in the mood-boosting compound, triterpene. This compound allows reishi mushrooms to help alleviate anxiety and depression, while also encouraging more restful sleep and sharper focus.
- Shiitake. Often considered an “Elixir of Life,” shiitake mushrooms can help in maintaining good heart health, blood pressure, and circulation. They can also help lower cholesterol levels due to the compounds they contain that can inhibit cholesterol absorption and production in the liver. These tasty mushrooms contain beneficial substances including glucans that help in cancer prevention and treatment, such as AHCC, known immune system boosters and virus inhibitors, such as lentinan, and phytonutrients that can aid in the prevention of plaque buildup.
- Lion’s mane. Packed with antioxidants, these feathery mushrooms can help strengthen your immune system, sharpen your mental clarity, and improve cognition, memory, and concentration. They can also help alleviate anxiety and irritability. A rare property of lion’s mane mushrooms lies it in its ability to promote the production of the bioprotein nerve growth factor (NGF) and myelin, which is an insulation that covers nerve fibers. An imbalance of NFG and myelin can lead to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
- Chaga. Chaga mushrooms are considered antioxidant powerhouses. Their high antioxidant content allows them to reduce inflammation and fight free radicals that cause oxidative stress. They can also help slow down aging and cancer growth. Additionally, they have been found to lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol.
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