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Mushrooms are a food mystery within itself.
There's bitter tasting mushrooms.
There's sweet and sour tasting mushrooms.
We tend to look them over in the grocery store, not understanding many kinds of mushrooms have powerful benefits.
Medicinal mushrooms have been used in Eastern medicine for many years. Many studies with animals and humans have shown positive impacts like improved cognition, battling cancer or infections, and alleviating depression and anxiety.
In honor of Mushroom Day, let's take a close look at six mushrooms you should know and add to your food lifestyle.
1. Reishi–The Natural "Xanax"
When I first began furthering my cooking skills, it was very hard to find supplements or foods that aided in alleviating my anxiety and depression that I liked. Certain foods were too far from where my palate was, I didn't bother to cook.
As my cooking skills improved, I began exploring different types of mushrooms. I wanted to replace my traditional proteins like steak and chicken with healthier options that didn't sacrifice flavor and taste.
Reishi mushrooms are a two-for-one special. I can cook with them, just as well as I can ease my anxiety and symptoms of depression.
Also known as Ganoderma Lucidum and Lingzhi, this mushroom is a fungus that grows in hot and humid locations in Asia.
According to Healthline, participants within a study experienced less anxiety and depression. Reishi mushrooms are non-sedative, non-toxic and safe for long term use to aid in sleeping.
Reishi mushrooms are used very little in the culinary field. Add it to your drinks like hot chocolate for easy consumption.
Check your local supplement and herbal store for this "mood kicker" in powder form.
2. Lion's Mane–The Brain Booster
In Asia, lion's mane was used for culinary and medicinal purposes.
This white dome shaped fungi has long, decaying stalks and is packed with antioxidants and cultivates production of the nerve growth and insulation around the nerve fibers, also known as myelin.
The production of nerve growth and myelin are crucial to brain health. In addition, it improves cognition and develops focus.
In an Asian study, participants with mild cognitive impairments showed an increase in cognitive function upon sixteen weeks consuming lion's mane mushrooms. Results also showed a decline when consumption of lion's mane mushrooms ceased.
3. Shiitake–Love To Your Heart
Shiitake mushrooms were used in medical practices in Japan, Korea, and eastern Russia.
These heart healthy mushrooms are tan to dark brown in color, and grow naturally on decaying hardwood trees.
Shiitake mushrooms contain three important compounds that help lower cholesterol: Eritadenine, sterols, and beta-glucans.
Eritadenine restricts an enzyme involved in producing cholesterol. Sterols are molecules that help block cholesterol absorption. Lastly, beta-glucans are fibers that lower cholesterol.
Shiitake mushrooms are highly used in many food dishes, because they're rich in flavor. Shiitake mushrooms have adequate vitamins and minerals like selenium, copper, riboflavin and vitamin B5. Known for its robust flavor of sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.
Shiitake mushrooms are widely grown–83 percent of shiitake mushrooms are grown in areas of the United States, Singapore, Canada, and China.
This tasty mushroom helps lower LDL, which contains compounds that prevent the absorption and production of cholesterol in the liver.
Shiitake mushrooms are ideal for pasta dishes, stir fry, or baked for a potato chip alternative. When cooking with fresh shiitake mushrooms, be sure to remove the stems.
I like to use a mix of shiitake mushrooms and kale as chips to replace the traditional chip that surrounds us on game night. For beginners, using Stella Bistro Foods Universalt Sultry Spice and Stella Bistro Foods Rustic Italian Sultry Spice to diversify the flavor.
I discovered shiitake mushrooms and kale chips to be a "foodie" favorite each night my friends and I gather together!
4. Turkey Tail–The Cancer and Common Cold Fighter
Also known as coriolus veriscolor and polyporus veriscolor, contains compounds called Polysaccharide-K, also known as PSK. Polysaccharide-K repairs cell damage caused by chemotherapy, and strengthens the immune system.
Turkey tail mushrooms are known as "cloud mushrooms" in Japan and used for medicinal practices.
Mushroom eaters can find turkey tail mushrooms throughout the world. Turkey tail mushrooms are grown on dead logs in wooded environments. Its brown and tan rings atop look like tail feathers–like a turkey.
According to Medical News Today, turkey tail mushrooms were labeled as approved anti-cancer prescription in Japan and China for lung cancer, gastric cancer, and colorectal cancer.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, clinical trials have considered turkey tail mushrooms a cancer-fighting food.
According to the National Cancer Institute, turkey tail mushrooms improves the survival rate of people with certain cancers.
5. Cordyceps–For Athletes and Energy
Cordyceps is an asset to one's energy.
Today, people are busier than ever. Whether you want more energy to spend time with your friends and family, or to be able to make it through the work day, Cordyceps are beneficial to you.
Cordyceps has been well known for being used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.
With more than 400 types of Cordyceps known, this species of fungi can increase the body's production of the molecule named adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.
Adenosine triphosphate is important for delivering energy to the muscles.
According to Healthline, a study of older healthy adults consumed Cordyceps containing mushrooms for 12 weeks. Researchers found improvement in exercise performance.
Consult with your physician or doctor to see if adding medicinal mushrooms to your diet is safe, especially if you're pregnant.
Please note mushrooms could cause an allergic reactions.