Mushrooms are one of the most medicinal foods on the planet. They’ve been eaten for thousands of years across six continents and possess unique health benefits that help heal our minds and bodies. Mushrooms are also nutritional powerhouses, packed with vitamins and minerals that support wellness from the inside out. 

On top of being nutritious, mushrooms provide a chewy texture and savory flavor to dishes like pizza, pasta, salads and soups. While they can be pretty polarizing (you either love ‘em or you hate ‘em), they’re worth trying to incorporate into your diet. 

Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Mushrooms contain over a dozen vitamins and minerals that support the body from head to toe. They are a great source of:

  • Selenium
  • Magnesium
  • Copper
  • Thiamin
  • Phosphorous 
  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc
  • Potassium
  • Fiber

How do all of these nutrients affect the body? There are several health benefits you should know.

If having a healthy heart is important to you, adding more mushrooms to your diet may help balance blood sugar, according to this 2011 study on mushrooms for glycemic control. A recent review of mushroom consumption and cardiovascular health showed favorable evidence that mushrooms helped reduce blood pressure and improve lipid profiles. 

The health benefits of mushrooms also impact the brain. You may experience several brain benefits like better cognition and an improvement in mood and memory. There’s even evidence that medicinal mushrooms can help balance your hormones, boost immunity, and contain high levels of antioxidants. 

Whether it’s the heart, brain or immune system, mushrooms are a nutritious addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle. 

7 Must-Try Medicinal Mushrooms

1. Reishi

Fondly called the “mushroom of immortality,” reishi has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine to support liver and immune health. But, it also has notable benefits for weight loss, sleep, and overall healing of the body. Reishi is a great mushroom to add to your diet if you’re looking to increase longevity.

2. Chaga

Known as the “king of herbs,” chaga is an antioxidant-rich mushroom known for its protective anti-inflammatory benefits. Chaga is originally from Eastern Europe and has been used for centuries as a daily tea or topical medicine. This mushroom is known for its ability to lower bad cholesterol and supportthe immune system. 

3. Lion’s Mane

The extremely popular lion’s mane is a healthful mushroom that’s been used for medicinal purposes as early as 450 BC. Lion’s mane is known for its brain benefits, particularly its ability to improve brain function, alleviate anxiety and ease irritability. If better brain health, mood, and focus are top issues for you, try lion’s lane.  

4. Turkey Tail

Turkey tail is one of the best mushrooms for the immune system. Its antioxidant levels help fight free radicals and its immune-supporting polysaccharides make the body more resilient to harmful invaders. During the time of year when sneezing and coughing become more frequent, be sure to try turkey tail to keep your immune system in good shape.   

5. Cordyceps

Known as the caterpillar fungus for its unusually long and slender shape, cordyceps is an incredible mushroom for energy, immunity and stamina. It’s known to increase blood flow and oxygen in the body making it a great option for athletes and those who enjoy exercise. 

6. Shiitake

Found in the black forests of Southeast Asia, the shiitake mushroom is known for its high amount of vitamins and minerals. It’s particularly high in B-vitamins, selenium, amino acids, iron and other micronutrients. It’s most commonly used to support healthy blood circulation and pressure.

7. Maitake

Translated as the “dancing mushroom,” maitake is one of a few adaptogenic mushrooms. Adaptogens are natural substances found in food that help the body cope with mental and physical stress. Maitake can also help lower cholesterol and may improve fertility

How to Eat Mushrooms

Due to their unique taste and texture, not everybody is a fan of mushrooms. Here are a few delicious ways you can sneak them into your diet more frequently:

  • Add them to pasta or pizza
  • Grill them with other vegetables during BBQ season 
  • Add them to rice and create a mushroom sauce over meat or vegetables
  • Make a cream of mushroom soup
  • Stir-fry them with soy sauce, vegetables, and/or meat with rice
  • Add them to your omelet or quiche
  • Invest in mushroom extract capsules or powders

Become a Health Coach

If you want to learn more about healthy and holistic ways of eating, consider joining the Health Coach Institute for our six-month Become a Health Coach program. If you’re already a coach and want to advance your skills, check out HCI’s Coach Mastery program. Feel free to get in touch with one of our clarity coaches directly by calling 1-800-303-2399.

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Health Coach Institute provides aspiring Health and Life Coaches with the tools, training, and support to make a great living transforming lives.