Functional Mushrooms: The Best Edible Mushrooms For Better Health
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Functional Mushrooms: The Best Edible Mushrooms For Better Health

Functional Mushrooms - Mushroom Revival

Functional mushrooms have gained popularity due to their taste and the positive impact they have on overall health and wellness. Explore how you can seamlessly incorporate these supplements into your wellness regimen and uncover a curated selection of the finest edible mushrooms that promote better health!

Consuming Mushrooms For Health Support

Functional mushrooms are instrumental in providing support and balance to our bodily functions. For centuries, alternative health practices have incorporated common edible mushrooms to help promote an overall sense of well-being. There are several different types of functional edible mushrooms - each with its own unique benefits. Functional mushrooms may help to support your metabolism and promote productivity.

In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about functional mushrooms, their benefits, and where you can purchase functional mushroom products.

Keep reading to learn more about these nutritious superfoods and the best mushroom varieties to incorporate into your lifestyle!

What are Functional Mushrooms?

In simple terms, functional mushrooms are a superfood with a well-earned reputation for supporting both physical and mental health.

They have been used for thousands of years in Asia and Europe. Today, researchers are also in the process of uncovering a multitude of uses for functional mushrooms.

Mushrooms are having a “moment” right now, with previously rare varieties popping up at farmer's markets, in supermarkets, and in the supplement aisle. Until recently, many people only thought about edible mushroom species when they made an appearance in pasta dishes or during their mushroom hunting adventures in the forest as part of a family hiking outing.

What a wonderful time to be a fan of edible fungi! Can you believe mushrooms actually have been part of herbalism and cooking for millennia — back to 17,000 B.C.

What Are The Best Edible Mushrooms If I Want To Maximize Superfood Qualities?

Functional mushrooms go beyond adding exciting flavors to your meals. As you delve into incorporating mushrooms into your diet it's helpful to understand the why behind variations in each mushroom’s benefits. You might also want to explore the ways to consume these mushrooms to maximize their health benefits!

functional mushrooms - Mushroom Revival

Why Mushrooms Vary In Benefits

When it comes to exploring mushrooms for their superfood properties it's crucial to recognize that not all mushrooms are alike. Different types of mushrooms vary significantly in their content and health benefits making some more potent superfoods than others.

The reason for the differences lies in the compounds found in types of mushrooms. These compounds, such as beta-glucans are known for their immune-supporting properties. Moreover, each mushroom species contains molecules that contribute to overall health in diverse ways. Some mushrooms are valued for their vitamin D levels while others are prized for being rich in selenium, antioxidants and dietary fiber.

These variations in compounds include polysaccharides like beta-glucans, known for their immune-supporting effects. Additionally, bioactive molecules vary from one species of mushroom to another. These too support overall health in differing ways. Some mushrooms are highlighted for their vitamin D content, while others may be rich in selenium, antioxidants, and dietary fiber.

From The Forest Floor To Your Body

The way in which mushrooms are prepared and consumed can greatly influence their superfood potency. Did you know that heat can break down mushrooms' cell walls, effectively making the beneficial compounds more available for your body to absorb and utilize? However, not all mushrooms are best cooked when we are talking about maximizing benefits!

Certain mushrooms might lose some of their nutrients if overcooked. Therefore, understanding the optimal way to prepare each type of mushroom is key to maximizing its superfood qualities.

Nutritional Value Comes From Variety

In addition to preparation methods, the integration of a selection of different mushrooms into one's diet also plays a role. Incorporating a variety of mushrooms can ensure a broad spectrum of nutrients and benefits, catering to different aspects of health and well-being. From supporting immune function to cognitive performance, the multifaceted benefits of mushrooms can be best harnessed through a diversified approach to consumption.

Mushrooms That Grow- In the Grocery Stores?

Ok, we admit we know that grocery stores are not growing their own mushroom supply. But we want you to consider the source of your mushrooms.

If you are one to pick your mushrooms, wild mushrooms, while rich in nutrients, can sometimes carry risks if not properly identified. So we want to mention that you should educate yourself on proper wild mushroom identification before testing the flavor and texture of a mushroom in the wild.

On the other hand, organically cultivated mushrooms can offer a safer alternative with consistent nutritional profiles. Selecting high-quality, organically grown mushrooms can further enhance their superfood benefits. Don’t be shy to ask questions and do some hunting for the best mushroom suppliers!

Types Of Functional Mushrooms

Now that you're aware of what a functional mushroom is, let's dive in and discuss some of the main types of mushrooms and their benefits for your overall health. Although these are some of the best edible mushrooms, there are many more than we have listed here.

You can also take a quick quiz to help determine which varieties might be best for you!

Tremella

Tremella (Tremella fuciformis) is known as the “beauty mushroom” because of its high concentration of vitamin D and antioxidant support. Ever since the Tang dynasty in ancient China, the Tremella mushroom had the reputation of being a veritable fountain of youth, with many proponents using it to maintain their youthful glow. The antioxidant support of Tremella can also help rejuvenate the skin and promote the healthy development of nerve cells.

Meshima

Meshima mushroom (Phellinus linteus) is also known as the “black hoof mushroom” because it often resembles a horse’s hoof. Researchers are discovering many benefits to using Meshima, including supporting women's health, immune function, and antioxidant support. 

Poria Cocos Sclerotia

Poria (Wolfiporia extensa) are very useful functional mushrooms supporting mental clarity, focus, and memory, and also for healthy immune support. It is traditionally used to support healthy sleep and relaxation!

Maitake

Functional mushrooms - Maitake mushroom

Maitake (Grifola frondosa) mushrooms are traditionally used to support the body's cardiovascular health, nervous system health, healthy digestive function, and also to maintain balanced immune health. The beta-glucans found in these fungi are also useful to support liver health and healthy blood sugar levels already within normal ranges.  

Maitake mushrooms are a highly prized edible mushroom. Maitake has been revered in traditional practices, especially in Japan and China, for its health-promoting properties. In recent years, it has garnered attention for its potential superfood qualities, which include a variety of nutritional and health benefits.

Maitake mushrooms are a good source of vitamins B and D, minerals such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium, and are also rich in dietary fibers! Maitake can be enjoyed in various culinary creations, from soups and stews to sautéed dishes.

Shiitake

Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) are rich in beta-glucans and offer significant antioxidant support to the body. Shiitake mushrooms can support the immune system, making them a valuable asset to overall well-being.

Turkey Tail

Turkey tail (Trametes versicolor) has a wide range of benefits. Firstly, it supports the body in balancing the bacteria in the gut for a healthy gut microbiome. Secondly, it helps to support antioxidant activity in the body, which is essential for overall well-being. Perhaps it is best known for helping to support your body’s natural immune system.

Lion’s Mane

The lion's mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) is jam-packed with many benefits for the body. The lion's mane mushroom helps to promote an overall sense of well-being. It can help to support cognitive function and provide mental clarity. It can also help balance gut health, facilitate the body’s natural inflammatory response post-workout or with other normal activity, and help support the body’s ability to deal with occasional stress. 

Chaga

Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a well-known functional fungus that can help support the immune system and overall skin health. One of the other health benefits of Chaga is that it helps to balance the body's natural inflammatory response post-workout or with other normal activities. 

Cordyceps

Functional Mushrooms - Cordyceps

Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris) has many benefits, including supporting your body's natural inflammatory response post-workout or with other normal activities. Cordyceps has also been known to support energy levels, promote athletic performance, support the cardiovascular system, and balance sex drive. 

Reishi

Reishi (Ganoderma lingzhi) mushrooms can be highly beneficial in balancing the body's circadian rhythm and promoting healthy sleep patterns. The reishi mushroom also supports the inflammatory response of body tissues post-workout or with other normal activities. Reishi mushrooms also support the body's natural response against occasional stress and fatigue. It may also help to support cholesterol levels in already healthy ranges and normal heart function.

Honorable Mention: More Edible Mushrooms To Try!

While the term "superfood" is not scientifically defined, it is commonly used to describe foods that are rich in nutrients and bioactive compounds that can have positive effects on health. So although the above-mentioned mushroom species are powerhouses, these honorable mentions are not lacking in nutritional value and are worth trying!

Porcini Mushrooms

Porcini are not only sought after for their delicious taste but also for their nutritional benefits!

Porcini mushrooms are a good source of protein, dietary fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus, and selenium. If you don't know what selenium is, you'll be excited to know that it is an important antioxidant that supports immune function and prevents cell damage.

Porcini mushrooms can be used fresh when available, but they are also commonly dried. By drying them, you can concentrate their flavor and extend their shelf life. Just watch: Dried porcini needs to be rehydrated before use and can add depth to soups, stews, sauces, and risotto!

Agaricus blazei

Hailing from the Brazilian rainforest, this mushroom is also known as the Almond Mushroom or Brazilian Blazei and is celebrated for its health-promoting properties. With a high concentration of beta-glucans- substances recognized for stimulating the immune system- this mushroom is a fantastic addition to your lifestyle for immune system support. 

 This mushroom is also associated with providing a rich source of antioxidants, promoting the body’s response and adaptation to occasional stress, and supporting overall wellness.

Cremini Mushrooms

Cremini mushrooms are essentially the same variety as white button mushrooms but are a bit older. Having aged longer, they have a darker color, firmer texture, and slightly richer flavor. When allowed to mature even further, they grow into portobello mushrooms. Cremini mushrooms offer several nutritional benefits:

Found in a wide range of dishes, from salads and soups to stir-fries and stews, this mushroom is very versatile. Cooking them can enhance their flavor and make them easier to digest.

By eating Cremini mushrooms you will be getting a good source of essential vitamins and minerals, including selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin D (especially if exposed to sunlight or ultraviolet light). Selenium is an important antioxidant that helps with the prevention of cell damage, while vitamin D is crucial for bone health and immune function.

Morel Mushrooms

Like many edible mushrooms, Morels also possess qualities that are well incorporated into a healthful diet. Morel mushrooms are highly prized for their culinary value and likely you may have eaten them already. They are well-known for their distinctive honeycomb appearance, with a spongy, elongated cap and a hollow interior. Morels are foraged in the wild and have a rich, earthy flavor that makes them a sought-after ingredient in many gourmet dishes.

Morels are low in calories yet rich in important nutrients. They provide a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, B vitamins, iron, and potassium. They contain antioxidants, which are substances that can support overall health and are a source of dietary fiber- important for your digestive health!

Functional Mushroom Benefits

Several facets of your overall health could benefit from functional mushrooms. Consider implementing functional mushrooms into your daily routine for these reasons.

Immune System

The functional mushroom has been used in traditional Chinese herbalism for centuries to help provide support for your immune system. Maintaining a healthy immune system is extremely important for your overall well-being.

Mood And Sleep

The Reishi mushroom has been known to promote sleep health, and studies performed on rats have found that the Reishi mushroom might aid in the body's circadian rhythm, which could support your body’s natural transition to a good night’s sleep.

Using functional mushrooms in your nighttime beverage can help encourage a healthier sleeping pattern, which would significantly benefit your mood and overall health.

Digestion

Your gut plays a vital role in your overall sense of well-being, and keeping your gut healthy is essential. Certain functional mushrooms can help promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut, leading to better gut health and overall digestive health.

Skin

Antioxidants play an essential role in promoting youthful skin health. If you want to encourage naturally glowing skin, you should consider introducing functional mushrooms to your diet.

Who Can Consume Functional Mushrooms?

As with any supplement you add to your diet, it's always wise to consult your primary healthcare professional before starting a new routine. In general, unless you have an allergy to mushrooms, most people have no problems at all taking functional mushrooms. 

So Many Choices! How To Introduce Functional Mushrooms To Your Diet

There are several exciting ways to incorporate functional mushrooms into your diet. Consider these different functional mushroom supplements and which method might be the best choice for you:

  • Powders - if you're a lover of the daily morning smoothie or protein shake, you will love using supplement powders. You can easily incorporate them into your regular beverages to receive health benefits. Or, if you're trying to use mushrooms to help get a better night's sleep, you should try out a moon milk recipe with functional mushroom supplement powder.
  • Gummies - if you love a little sweet treat now and then, you'll love mushroom extract gummies. You can enjoy a tasty treat and benefit from functional mushrooms in the process. Gummies are easy to make and taste great.
  • Capsules - if you're a 'no muss, no fuss' kind of person, you might like mushroom capsules. You can easily take them with a glass of water and get on with the day's business. Capsules and gummies take longer to digest so you won't receive the benefits as quickly as other forms of mushroom extract.
  • Tinctures - Tinctures are similar to supplement powders. You can place a few drops into your morning cup of tea or coffee and sip away. Or, you can place a few drops under your tongue to feel the effects more rapidly. 

Where Can Functional Mushrooms Be Found?

Some functional mushrooms can easily be purchased from your local supermarket, such as shiitake mushrooms, which are often used in cooking recipes. You can look for stores in your area that provide a wide variety of functional mushrooms, and you can even use them in your favorite recipes.

It is very important, however, to make sure that the place from which you buy your mushroom products uses certified organic, non-GMO, and ethically sourced mushrooms with no fillers added. It’s also important that the products are produced from the fruiting body of mushrooms. Check out this huge selection from Mushroom Revival!

Conclusion

There are many types of functional mushrooms, each with different benefits. Including functional mushrooms in your diet can help you achieve a better sense of well-being.

You can use these mushrooms in your favorite recipes or purchase mushroom supplements to make things simpler! If you’re interested in learning more about mushrooms, check out our blog, podcast, and mushroom supplement store!

*All 10 of these functional mushrooms are included in our best-selling Daily 10. It comes in a high-potency tincture form. Both are made with 100% organic mushroom fruiting bodies — no fillers, grains, or fluff!
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Immune Secrets

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Find your perfect Mushroom Match

Overall Health

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Alex Dorr is the founder and CEO of Mushroom Revival. He launched Mushroom Revival with a mission to revive health with the power of mushrooms.

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