Mushrooms are commonly recognized as vegetables, but they are technically a kind of fungus. A main difference between fungi and plants is that fungi do not make food from sunlight and soil; they are more similar to animals, digesting and absorbing nutrients from dead biologic materials. Mushrooms are highly prized for their unique flavors and textures, and also health-promoting benefits.
According to report, medicinal mushrooms are regarded a top health and food trend this year, they are increasingly used in body-care products, coffee, tea and smoothies. Year-on-year sales of mushroom food products have risen 800%. It was estimated that by 2023, mushroom market is expected to be worth more than $50 billion globally, with the medicinal mushroom extract market to grow by 6.3% at an annual rate.
Edible Mushrooms – Superfood
There are a wide variety of mushrooms available for culinary purposes e.g. button mushrooms, truffles, white fungus, black fungus, shiitake, lion’s mane and enoki. They facilitate us to make delicious dishes and also provide extra food variety.
Mushrooms are packed with nutritional value; they are low in calories, great sources of fiber and protein, other rich essential nutrients include vitamin B, selenium, potassium, copper, and vitamin D. Mushrooms also contain as many antioxidants as more colorful fruits and vegetables. Actually, mushrooms are considered as functional foods, meaning having a positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition.
In Asian traditions, mushrooms are often recommended to individuals’ dietary plan for particular health purposes. For example:
- White button mushroom are consumed to aid digestion, smooth airway flow, promote organ functioning and speed body recovery;
- Shiitake mushroom aids stomach functioning, promotes skin eruption, enhances immune activities, anti-cancer and anti-aging;
- Bamboo raft activates blood flowing, relieves pain, enhances memory, and lowers blood lipid;
- Enoki mushroom helps anti-fatigue, enhances brain functioning, lowers blood lipid, boosts immune and prevents from digestive ulcer formation;
- Lion’s mane boosts organ functioning, assists digestion and promotes mental health;
- White fungus promotes fluid production and distribution, protects stomach lining, replenishes blood, enhances immune activities, supports substance metabolism, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging;
- Black fungus helps anti-clotting, prevents against atherosclerosis, lubricates lungs, facilitates stomach and intestines movements, anti-cancer and anti-aging.
Generally speaking, eating more fresh and unprocessed foods like mushrooms are beneficial to decrease the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, and overall mortality.
Medicinal Mushrooms – Supreme Supplement
This refers to mushrooms that are produced as powders, supplements, or extracts for health purposes. Prominent types of mushrooms are Ganoderma lucidum (ling zhi), Coriolus versicolor (yun zhi) and Cordyceps sinensis.
Mushrooms have long been used as medicine in many cultures around the world, particularly in China. TCM physicians use fungual medicines for a wide range of conditions, such as treating sexual dysfunction, dizziness, swelling, sore throat, asthma, hepatitis, insomnia, hypertension, indigestion and parasitic diseases. However, medicinal mushrooms are more recognized as general health tonics. Besides their revitalizing or restorative properties, the mushrooms are suitable for long-term consumption and for most people. They can be consumed regularly as the wellness routine, the custom and their benefits have been tested and verified for thousand years by the Chinese.
Stress is an issue facing everyone in every day. Anxiety, tension, fatigue, and insomnia are common modern problems. The body’s primary responses to stress are increased respiration, blood pressure, blood sugar, and heart rate etc. For acute stress, the body resumes to normal quickly; however when stress becomes constant, deleterious effects on the body are extensive, they may lead to obesity, heart disease, digestive ulcers, diabetes, headaches, asthma, eczema, stroke and even cancers. Medicinal mushroom can be a wise choice to combat daily stress. They are safe and act with generalized and balancing effects that benefit the body adjusting accordingly to what it needs. Unlike those stimulants that not only create short effects but also further exhaust the body. Most people will experience positive changes after taking medicinal mushrooms, the improved aspects include sleep, memory, mental and creative acuity, appetite, bowels, skin complexion, blood pressure, physical stamina and endurance, body resistance, endocrine condition, recovery from chronic illnesses and surgery. Basically, the benefit of medicinal mushrooms is to keep our physical, emotional, and mental stay in check, which are especially important during stressful periods.
Since mushrooms have many different medicinal properties. They have been intensively studied, either to reveal their bioactive compounds or their mechanisms of biomedical capacity. Multiple bioactive compounds such as polysaccharides, triterpenoids, ergosterol and nucleosides have identified, and researchers continue to refine and use these compounds for clinical use. Polysaccharides are the key bioactive compounds in many medicinal mushrooms, contributing to a significant immunomodulatory action. They are now usually recommended as immune-booster for a wide range of immune deficient conditions, especially for cancer patients.
As more and more mushroom supplements come to the market, and they are available in whole mushrooms, mycelium, spores and even multi-ingredient, and also in forms like powder, capsule, tablet, tinctures and liquid extracts. It is important to know the material source, processing, inspecting and packaging procedures, all these factors are essential to the quality and efficacy of mushroom supplements.
Everyone is different and people have different health needs, consulting a professional is the best way for you to incorporate medicinal mushrooms into your wellness routine.