Shroom For Improvement?
Dr. Naomi Newman-Beinart (PhD) gives the lowdown on the five fabulous wellbeing benefits of medicinal mushrooms.
by Dr. Naomi Newman-Beinart PhD
They may looks a little strange, but mushrooms have amazing super powers when it comes to keeping our health in tiptop condition. Everything from boosting immunity to keeping your blood sugar balanced, to helping your skin radiate from the inside out. Dr. Naomi Newman-Beinart PhD explains why they should be a ‘must’ in your natural medicine & beauty cupboard.
Support your natural defences
Wanting to boost your immuity? Mushrooms could be your answer. They’re high in beta glucans – natural substances that have been found to help ‘prime’ our immune system, making sure it’s ready for action to fight off bugs and germs. Certain types of mushrooms such as reishi, shiitake and maitake are especially rich in the most powerful beta glucans. Getting a daily dose of these mushrooms could be beneficial at times when we need extra support, such as over the cold season. A recent study found that maitake mushrooms have a protective effect against the flu virus and reduced cold symptoms, so it’s worth adding maitake to your natural medicine chest.
Boost your energy and help cope with stress
Certain mushrooms are traditionally used as a mood tonic or ‘adaptogen’. Adaptogens are natural substances that are said to help the body adapt to stress and protect against some of its negative effects, such as fatigue and poor sleep. The bonus: more energy! Maitake and reishi are among the mushrooms said to have adaptogenic qualities.
Keep blood sugar in check
When blood sugar levels get out of control it can affect everyday energy as well as increase the risk of other problems, such as type 2 diabetes and weight gain. The maitake mushroom has been found in studies to help bring blood sugar down by improving sensitivity to insulin – the hormone that triggers cells to take glucose out of the blood. It may also help protect the pancreas, which produces insulin.
Ease your joints
Missing out on your morning run due to aching joints can set you back, but inflammation around the joints be a major concern for many people, especially those with arthritis or joint damage. Mushrooms are said to be anti-inflammatory, so could help to ease pain and discomfort. Reishi and shiitake mushrooms in particular could be helpful – a randomised, placebo controlled double-blind study (the best type of study we could ask for) found that reishi mushrooms helped to ease pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis over a period of 24 weeks. In other words, mushrooms could help keep you moving and doing the activities you love!
Keep yourself young!
Lastly and certainly not least of all, studies have found that mushrooms such as shiitake and reishi are rich in youth-boosting antioxidants. These include polyphenols, like those found in fruits and vegetables. But mushrooms actually go one better than most vegetables – in fact, two better! Firstly, because their powerful beta glucans – which we saw can be helpful for immunity – can also have an antioxidant effect. And, scientific reviews have found that mushrooms are also a great source of the minerals copper and zinc (10), which are used by our body to make its own powerful antioxidants. All this means that they can have anti-ageing and protective activity for our skin, as well as our heart, brain and liver.
How to get more shroom power?
You may have seen shiitake mushrooms in your local supermarket, but maitake and reishi are not as readily available in food form. For a convenient and effective way to get all the benefits of these three powerful mushrooms, try a good-quality organic nutritional supplement combining all three.
Dr. Naomi’s favourite medicinal fungi supplements:
Pukka’s Mushroom Gold is a blend of organic full-spectrum reishi, shiitake and maitake mushrooms.
Link Nutrition Food Based Mushroom Plus is a vegan-friendly mushroom-plus complex, which contains 4 different adaptogenic mushrooms – chaga, reishi, lion’s mane and cordyceps, that work in synergy to help keep your health at a natural balance.
Hifas da Terra Mico-Mix, a super powerful formula of organic Shiitake, Reishi and Maitake extracts to work in synergy.
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