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 purported 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 bolstering 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 anti-fungal properties too.  Plus reishi contains gandodermic acid which helps to keep cholesterol and blood pressure at normal, healthy levels.

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 negative effects of oxidative stress – something that has long been linked to the visible signs of premature 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 fibre and the antioxidant vitamin D. So it’s great for the skin, supporting the normal function of the immune system and maintaining bone health.


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.

Mushrooms aren’t the only powerhouse for your health. Lumity’s day and night two-step formula has been designed to work alongside your body’s natural circadian rhythms, helping to ensure you have all the nutrients you need for a rich day and a restful night.

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