Do you Shroom?
By Jennifer Simmons, MD
Shrooming is the newest, latest, and greatest superfood! Mushrooms are the next billion-dollar industry and for good reasons. Mushrooms are the detoxifiers of the forest. They are the network through which the forest communicates and heals, and they do the same thing for us.
Mushrooms are from the kingdom of fungi. When people hear that word, they think of fungus and don’t understand how fungus could be good for you. What we need to understand is that there are beneficial mushrooms and non-beneficial mushrooms. Everyone benefits from the beneficial mushrooms, and there is a mushroom for everyone.
When we talk about medicinal mushrooms, we think of them in two categories. There are culinary, medicinal mushrooms, like shitake, maitake, and lion’s mane. These mushrooms are delicious, and they are consumed as food.
Shiitake mushrooms are known for their anti-aging, immune-boosting, antiviral, blood pressure-lowering, cholesterol-lowering, blood sugar-stabilizing, anti-breast, and prostate cancer properties.
The maitake mushroom has similar properties and may have even more cancer-fighting activity.
Lion’s mane is known to be highly protective of your central nervous system. It protects against dementia, relieves symptoms of anxiety and depression, speeds healing of nervous system injuries, protects against ulcers in the digestive tract, stabilizes blood sugars, and protects against diabetes and heart disease.
While these mushrooms are delicious, many of the medicinal mushrooms are not as palatable. In these instances, to get their benefits, they need to be consumed in different ways other than eating the fruiting body, the part we all know as the mushroom. In general, these mushrooms are quite bitter, and so they are often paired with another bitter substance like coffee, tea, or chocolate so that the flavors blend.
Examples of these mushrooms are the chaaga, cordyceps, turkey tail, and reishi.
Chaaga is most known for its anti-aging properties in combating inflammation.
Cordyceps are known to increase energy and libido, improve blood flow, and exercise tolerance, so it’s great for athletes in terms of performance and recovery.
Turkey tail supports your immune system, protects against cancer, and improves response to chemotherapy.
And finally, reishi, called the Queen of all Mushrooms, helps with sleep, anxiety, depression, focus, lowers blood pressure, regulates blood sugar, boosts immunity, anti-bacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal (it fights the bad guys) and protects against a variety of cancers. In many other countries in the world, reishi is used as part of treatment protocols for cancer.
So go ahead and try some of these beverages because they are a delicious way to get your daily dose of mushrooms. For the average person who wants to improve their health, I recommend replacing their daily cup of coffee or tea with a mushroom-infused coffee or tea. For the person facing a significant illness, there are more potent ways of delivering these medicinal mushrooms. They are dried and put into capsules. This also works well for the non-coffee or tea drinker.
If you are ingesting these mushrooms for medicinal purposes, you have to be a little careful about the quality of these mushrooms. You can’t just buy them anywhere, and you definitely shouldn’t buy the cheapest ones. Most of these mushrooms grow in nature on decaying wood under specific conditions. While they can be forced to grow on other materials, and in alternative environments, they don’t have the same nutrients and potency as those that grow in their natural habitat. So you should do your research and get them from a trusted source. But there is a shroom for everyone. Go find yours!!!!
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