Mushroom Wellness Benefits: Ones You May Not Know About

Mushroom Wellness Benefits: Ones You May Not Know About

Mushrooms are often thought of as healthy, solely for being a vegetable. While it's true that they contain many health benefits, mushrooms are actually fungi that are packed with nutrients.

For thousands of years, traditional mushrooms have been used in cultures around the world due to their health benefits. Mushrooms are a good low-calorie choice full of fiber and protein. Let's dig into, and explore a variety of mushrooms with some lesser-known wellness benefits.


Shiitake mushroom

Shiitake mushrooms are native to East Asia, and have a long-recorded history of being cultivated in China and Japan. They are now cultivated around the world and make up a whopping 25% of worldwide yearly mushroom production (1). Shiitake mushrooms are packed with potassium (a natural electrolyte), are rich in a variety of B vitamins, and contain all 8 essential amino acids. 

Shiitake Mushroom Health Benefits

  • Immune system support
  • Improved liver function, 
  • Supports the cardiovascular system
  • Control blood sugar levels
  • Reduce inflammation in the body

Reishi Mushroom

Reishi mushrooms, also known as “lingzhi” are native to East Asia and have long been used in Chinese medicine. In Chinese art, reishi mushrooms symbolise health and longevity. A variation, or species, of Reishi mushrooms has also been found to grow in North America. Due to their bitter taste, Reishi mushrooms are often processed into tablets or capsules. Reishi mushrooms contain over 400 different nutrients including beta-glucans and triterpenoids and high levels of antioxidants (2).

Reishi Mushroom Health Benefits

  • Enhance the immune system
  • Potentially help to reduce stress
  • Lessen fatigue.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

The Lion’s Mane Mushroom is native to North America, Europe and Asia. Buddhist Monks would ingest Lion’s Mane mushrooms to improve their focus, as Monks spend significant amounts of time meditating. Lion’s Mane mushrooms contain high levels of protein, vitamin D, potassium and iron. 

Lion's Mane Mushroom Health Benefits 
  • Immune system support
  • Reduce fatigue & increased focus
  • Anti-aging properties

Chaga Mushroom

Chaga Mushrooms grow in colder climates and are found in the Northern Hemisphere, specifically the northern parts of Europe, Asia and Canada. The name Chaga is derived from the Russian word for mushroom. The consistency of Chaga mushrooms is extremely hard so they are rarely consumed in their natural form. Instead, they are often ground into a powder to be used as an ingredient or made into a tea. Chaga mushrooms are rich in antioxidants as well as nutrients such as calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium (3). 

Chaga Mushroom Health Benefits
  • Immune system support
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Anti-aging 

Cordyceps Mushroom

Cordyceps mushrooms are native to Asia. There are more than 600 species, or variants of the Cordyceps mushroom. Originally discovered by Tibetan herdsmen, Cordyceps mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine (4). Cordyceps mushrooms are packed with amino acids and enzymes and vitamins. 

Cordyceps Mushroom Health Benefits
  • Lessens fatigue
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves oxygen consumption
  • Improves stamina and endurance

How to Consume Traditional Mushrooms

Some mushrooms like Shiitake mushrooms can be used in cooking or taken in tablet or supplement form. Other mushrooms such as Chaga mushrooms are bitter and therefore best ingested as a tincture or tablet. If you're unsure what the best way to incorporate traditional mushrooms into your lifestyle may be, you can take our quiz to find a product that's right for you. 

    1. Vane CH. (2003). "Monitoring decay of black gum wood (Nyssa sylvatica) during growth of the Shiitake mushroom (Lentinula edodes) using diffuse reflectance infrared spectroscopy". Applied Spectroscopy

Bea Lyus

Bea Lyus is an experienced Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist. She is a member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT), the regulatory body for Nutritional Therapists and is registered by the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).