Fabulous Fungi: The Benefits Of Taking Mushroom Powders

mushroom powders - Dried lingzhi mushroom

Mushroom powders are an excellent way to top up your general nutrition levels, and they also have some very specific health benefits. Cooking with fresh ingredients may not be a realistic possibility on a daily basis, particularly if you have a hectic schedule. However, mushroom powders lose none of the potency of the key nutrients of fresh produce.

The powders can be bought in capsule form or loose to sprinkle on stews, salads, or added to hot drinks. It’s a quick and convenient way to boost your intake, particularly of some of the more exotic varieties that may be difficult to track down fresh in your local supermarket. 

It’s also a great way to optimise your intake if you are not a particular fan of the flavour or texture of whole fresh mushrooms, which can be an acquired taste and are certainly not for everyone. It literally only takes a few seconds to add all the magical benefits of mushrooms to your meal with a powdered supplement. 

Here’s a closer look at how they may help improve your health. 

  • Shiitake mushrooms

All mushrooms contain a substance called ergothioneine, which scientists believe has a protective effect against cancer. It’s a type of amino acid and antioxidant that can help to prevent or slow down the rate of cellular damage. 

Shiitake mushrooms are particularly rich in ergothioneine and another substance called glutathione, which is also a powerful antioxidant. This may help to protect the body’s cells from damage that can lead to serious diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease. 

They also have a high polysaccharide content, which is known to support the immune system and help fight infections, and may help to reduce inflammation. Furthermore, shiitake mushrooms contain compounds that inhibit the production of ‘bad’ cholesterol, and also prevent it from being absorbed by the body. 

  • Lions Mane

Lions mane is particularly rich in two compounds, hericenones and erinacines. These substances are known to support cognitive health by maintaining the presence of neurotransmitters in the brain, minimising the reduction in nerve growth during periods of stress, and reducing inflammation that may contribute to depression.  

These properties were first noted by the Greek physician Hippocrates around 450 BCE, and the mushrooms have been used and researched extensively for medicinal purposes ever since. 

  • Reishi 

Reishi mushrooms have been used for centuries because of their medicinal properties. They are thought to have particularly effective anti-ageing properties because of their adaptogenic qualities. 

Adaptogens interact with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which can help to regulate mood and reduce negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, and depression. Reishi mushrooms are also rich in polysaccharides, which boosts the immune system and have even been studied for their potential to treat cancer.

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