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Are mushrooms the new kale? Here’s why they’re so good for your health

-Apr 10, Hannah Hargrave, Nutrition -

5 health benefits of mushrooms
Porcini, portobello, shiitake or button, you’ve probably used all of these mushrooms in cooking in the past but what about tremella, cordyceps or reishi?

 

We are about to open up a whole can of worms, or should that be mushrooms, when it comes to edible fungi and their benefits.

From anti-cancer to anti-ageing properties, so-called ‘super shrooms’ are taking the world by storm.

We’ve outlined just a handful of these fabulous fungi to explain you what they can do for your body and your beauty.

 

Shiitake is rich in vitamin D

 

Shiitake mushrooms don’t just add something special to your stir fry. They are extremely rich in vitamin D and also a natural compound called lentinan.

There have been several studies that found the polysaccharide could help increase the survival rate of cancer patients. Four to five ounces per day is the recommended amount.

 

Reishi is brilliant for boosting immunity

 

This large flowery looking mushroom has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It has been the focus of numerous studies which have investigated its anti-cancer and immune-boosting properties.

But its benefits don’t stop there. It has antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties too.  Plus reishi contains gandodermic acid which helps reduce cholesterol and lower high blood pressure.

That means it could be helpful to add to your diet if you’re keen to prevent heart disease.

 

Porcini – the anti-ageing wonder mushroom

 

This meaty, but low calorie, mushroom does more than just keep your waist slimline. It is packed with antioxidants which help stave off the effects of ageing.

Porcini mushrooms have been shown to be an anti-inflammatory healing food too and due to their high fibre content they aid digestion.

A 2016 paper published in the journal Food & Function also showed an extract of porcini mushroom induced cell death in human colon cancer cells.

 

Cordyceps the Olympian team’s secret weapon

 

Cordyceps actually made headlines at the 1993 Asian Games after two Chinese runners broke two world records by incredible margins. Their amazing athletic feats were put down to the caterpillar fungus – cordyceps – not performance enhancing drugs.

This mushroom has been the focus of an endless list of studies and has been shown to help combat fatigue, lower blood sugar levels, maintain the immune system, protect the kidneys, help heart health and enhance libido.

 

Tremella the mushroom that gives you gorgeous skin

 

It’s fitting that the tremella mushroom is so pretty to look at because it’s been praised for producing a healthy complexion. In fact Yang GuiFei who was reputed to be the most beautiful woman in China’s history considered tremella to be her beauty secret.

This fountain of youth is rich in fiber and the antioxidant vitamin D. So it’s great for the skin, boosting the immune system and building strong bones.

 

If you can’t face cooking and eating mushrooms, there’s lots of powdered versions. For example you can buy powdered cordyceps and sprinkle a spoonful in your morning oatmeal. Or you could add to a smoothie. That gives you all of the benefits with none of the taste.

 

If you enjoyed this article you might like to read about the magical powers of mushrooms for your skin. And have you ever thought about okra: discover the health benefits of this underrated vegetable.

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