Despite being a fungus, mushrooms have been widely used as vegetables by various cultures’ cuisines for centuries. Mushrooms are popular nowadays either as pizza toppings, deep fried, in salads or many other recipes. What more, there are a variety of slow cooker recipes with mushrooms, suitable for every meal.
Nutritionists recommend mushrooms for consumption because they contain modest amounts of carbohydrates, sodium, calories, and fats. But, recent studies show that mushrooms have more medicinal properties. They are considered rich in B-vitamins, proteins, and fiber among other essential nutrients. Which are the best mushroom species?
So far, there are over 10,000 known species, but mycologists argue that there are more species yet to be discovered. Every species is said to contain its own functional superpower that helps to boost brain functioning, immune system, and overall body health. Out of these many species, four superfood mushroom species are most prevalent in the health and supplement sector: Chaga, Cordyceps, and Reishi.
Chaga mushrooms were mostly used in Asia and Siberia due to their bioactive compounds. They are slowly finding their way into the western market. Chaga mushrooms are considered rich in fiber and antioxidants properties. According to the World Journal of Gastroenterology’s publication, chaga mushrooms can also prevent the growth of live cancer cells.
Reishi are also referred to as the “King of Mushrooms”. They are affluent in adaptogen, which contains anti-inflammatory properties that help to enhance the immune system and improve mental clarity. It’s also a convenient stress reliever and a viable solution to hormonal imbalances. The lion’s mane species is also known for its powerful properties that help to boost cognitive functions, digestive health and minimize inflammations.
Finally, we have the Cordyceps. Cordyceps has been used extensively to treat liver damage, coughs, and other respiratory disorders. Are you into aerobics and wish to boost your stamina? You can always opt for cordyceps products. This particular mushroom provides you with natural, non-caffeinated energy to improve your aerobic capacity. It also contains anti-aging properties to enhance your skin complexion and anti-inflammatory properties that help to fight infection.
Why are mushrooms effective in fighting diseases? The curative or preventative abilities of mushrooms are attributed to their antioxidant properties. The four essential nutrients contained mushrooms that function as antioxidants are Vitamin D, glutathione, selenium and ergothioneine (ergo).
Ergo in an amino acid that has shown impressive results in the prevention of diseases that are mostly associated with old age such as heart disease and dementia. Many researches have been conducted around ergo since its discovery. Ergo lacks in humans, but research shows that our bodies produce a genetically coded transporter that helps to distribute it around the body to relieve oxidative stress.
As we grow older, ergo concentration in our bodies’ decreases significantly, making us vulnerable to attacks by neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. That's why you should consider consuming mushrooms rich in ergo. Various researches conducted in Singapore and Japan proved that people who took more ergo nutrients are less likely to suffer from dementia and other neurological diseases.
Generally, fungal plants have helped to revolutionize the health industry. From the discovery of penicillin and ergo in fungal plants, scientists are confident that mushrooms are the best superfoods and they will one day help to cure more diseases and create a healthier society.
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