What Are Functional Mushrooms? How Can They Be Used For Better Health?
Functional mushrooms are becoming very popular for their incredible flavor and support for overall health and well-being. Learn how to introduce these helpful dietary supplements to your health routine and where to buy them.
Functional mushrooms are instrumental in providing support and balance to our bodily functions. For centuries, alternative health practices have incorporated 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!
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 farmers markets, in supermarkets, and in the supplement aisle. (What a wonderful time to be a fan of fungi!) But mushrooms actually have been part of herbalism and cooking for millennia — all the way back to 450 BC.
We do know that functional mushrooms may help enhance your quality of life by supporting healthy cell growth, immune function, and cardiovascular system health.
These powerful tools of well-being contain compounds that support the body’s natural ability to handle occasional stress and fatigue. Another key benefit of these mushrooms is their ability to support brain health and cognition, creativity, and laser focus.
Many types of functional mushrooms may offer key antioxidant properties. Read on to discover the benefits of each unique mushroom!
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. You can also take this quick quiz to help determine which varieties might be best for you!
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 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 (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 useful to also support liver health and healthy blood sugar levels already within normal ranges.
Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) are rich in beta-glucans, which 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 (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.
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 (Inonotus obliquus) is a well-known functional mushroom that may help support the immune system and overall skin health. One of the other health benefits of the Chaga mushroom is that it helps to balance the body's natural inflammatory response post-workout or with other normal activities.
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 (Ganoderma lucidum) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 is using 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!
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!