6 Best Adaptogenic Mushrooms to Support Your Overall Health
Updated April 14, 2023.
Ongoing research suggests that functional mushrooms such as Cordyceps, Chaga, and Shiitake are proven to be highly effective in supporting and boosting the immune system as well as reducing inflammation. Moreover, the adaptogenic qualities of functional mushrooms are believed to be extremely valuable in helping the body become more resilient and adaptable to stress.
Mushrooms offer numerous physical, mental, and emotional benefits and may be extremely useful for enhancing overall well-being. Here are the 6 best adaptogenic mushrooms that are believed to successfully support your overall health.
- Boosting and regulating the immune system
- Reducing inflammation
Also known as 'Lingzhi' in Chinese, meaning “mushroom of immortality”, Reishi is well known for its adaptogenic properties.
Reishi mushrooms are believed to have a powerful impact on the immune system because of their immunomodulating effect. When the immune system cells interact with beta-glucan, a polysaccharide found in Reishi mushrooms, the immune system cells can get supercharged to target and destroy disease-causing pathogens.
Reishi mushrooms are proven beneficial for calming down overactive immune systems, making them an effective tool to manage auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease.
The compounds present in Reishi such as mycosteroids, polysaccharides, phenolic, and indolic compounds have proven to possess anti-inflammatory properties that can significantly reduce inflammatory reactions.
» Learn more: benefits of Reishi mushrooms
- Antioxidant and anti-aging benefits
- Digestive health
Chaga mushrooms are known as the “king of mushrooms”. It is a type of fungus that grows in the bark of birch trees and resembles burnt charcoal. Chaga mushroom extracts have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal properties due to their potent bioactive compounds such as beta-glucan, sterols, melanin, and polyphenols.
The betulin and betulinic acid found in Chaga mushrooms are powerful antioxidants, and they offer anti-aging and DNA protection benefits. It is also believed that Chaga can help protect the skin from UV rays.
The fungal beta-glucan content in Chaga makes it an immunomodulator, adding to its immunity-boosting properties. The polysaccharides in Chaga can help with keep your gut healthy by supporting the growth of good bacteria.
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- Boosting energy levels
- Improving exercise performance
- Muscle recovery
Cordyceps mushrooms are native to the Tibetan plateau and have been used in Chinese and Tibetan medicines for ages. Traditional healers claim it to be a tonic for all illnesses.
According to ongoing research, Cordyceps mushrooms may increase lung capacity by dilating the alveoli of the lungs, while helping increase oxygen utilization at the cellular levels. This can help with improving exercise performance in addition to its possible effect on speeding up post-workout muscle recovery.
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- Improving heart health
- Modulating blood pressure
Shiitake mushrooms are native to East Asia. They are known for their rich and intense flavour and are commonly used as a meat substitute in vegetarian dishes. Shiitake mushrooms are low in calories and contain a good amount of fibre, protein, and antioxidants.
Shiitake is well-known for its possible effect on decreasing blood pressure and lowering cholesterol by regulating LDL levels.
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5. Lion’s Mane
- Brain support
- Improved cognitive fnction
- Heart health
Lion’s Mane is a shaggy, white mushroom that resembles the mane of a lion. It is most popularly used for better focus and sharpen memory, as it has proven to positively affect and improve brain health.
Extract from these mushrooms has been found to help stimulate the growth and repair of nerve cells, thus speeding recovery of nervous system injuries .Additionally, Lion’s Mane can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases as its compounds help lower triglyceride levels, which results in decreasing the risk factors of heart disease.
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- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Modulating blood pressure
Rich in vitamins B and C, antioxidants, beta-glucans, potassium, copper, minerals, and amino acids, Maitake, a.k.a. the “dancing mushroom”, is one of the most popular functional mushrooms for its possible effect on reducing adrenal stress.
Moreover, Maitake can help maintain healthy blood pressure by aiding in decreasing cholesterol levels and maintaining healthy arteries.
» Learn more: benefits of Maitake
Improving overall health is not an easy task and usually requires supplements in addition to a healthy diet and proper exercise routine. Functional mushrooms have shown amazing results in aiding with numerous conditions, and their beneficial effects are still being uncovered. All in all, functional mushrooms are a great addition to your preventative care to help enhance your overall health.
» Interested to learn more about adaptogenic mushrooms? Find out more about possible functional mushroom benefits.