Horseman’s Health: Health Benefits of Mushrooms

For those of you who like to get your healing remedies from nature, the health benefits of mushrooms is something to get excited about. Chinese medicine and other ancient cultures have used them for thousands of years, but scientists today are doing extensive research and finding plenty of health benefits of mushrooms. Mushrooms are in the fungi family and have their own type of antibiotics to protect themselves from bacteria. What scientists are discovering is that they also benefit people the same way. Penicillin, streptomycin, cyclosporine and tetracycline for example are all derived from fungi. In addition there are great nutritional benefits of mushrooms. They are rich in antioxidants, beta glucans, enzymes, polyphenols, proteins, and triterpenoids.

Edible Mushrooms for Nutrition
There are four primary taste categories that foods fit into. These are salty, sweet, bitter and sour. Did you know though that there is a fifth category called umami? This category is described as a brothy or meaty taste and mushrooms fall into it. In fact there are nutritional experts that recommend substituting mushrooms for some of the meat in meat dishes as a healthier alternative. One study funded by the Mushroom Council reported in the Journal of Food Science that substituting 80% of the beef in tacos with crimini mushrooms still tasted good and allowed a 25% reduction in sodium.

Another nutritional benefit of mushrooms is Vitamin D which is necessary for healthy bones. We mainly get our vitamin D from sunlight exposure. Mushrooms have a little vitamin D naturally, but when they are exposed to ultraviolet light they produce much more vitamin D just like our bodies do when exposed to sunlight. As an example compare the 9 IU of vitamin D in a cup of portabella mushrooms to the 313 IU this same amount has after being exposed to ultraviolet light. Mushrooms also support nervous system health with their B vitamins riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. Beta glucans, also found in mushrooms, are beneficial for lowering cholesterol, metabolizing fat, and are supportive of white blood cells that fight off infections. With their immunosupportive agents, they can help protect you from viruses, bacteria and even yeast.

Edible Mushrooms For Health
Among the mushrooms being researched and found to be the most beneficial for health are cordyceps, reishi, maitake, shiitake, agarikon, Lion’s Mane, and Turkey Tail. The properties of various mushrooms have been found useful in killing off bacteria, viruses, yeast and even in fighting cancer. One type of mushroom, polypores, seem to be the most effective as an antiviral. There are polypores that have been found to be useful in fighting smallpox and Agaricon mushrooms have been found effective against the flu virus. Other benefits from these types of mushrooms include improved blood flow, stabilizing blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels, regenerating nerves, kidney and liver support, improved immune system functioning, and a reduction in the risk for heart disease. They also have antioxidant properties that are important for immune system health and that fight off free radicals that damage cells in our bodies.

Mushroom Supplements
While whole foods are the best way to get nutrition, there are times when a whole food supplement can be useful. You may not have the time or be in a place where you can cook up some tasty mushrooms. Don’t worry, you can still get the benefits of mushrooms from supplements that use whole food ingredients organically grown from wild spores and harvested from old growth forests. Here are some of the whole food supplements available when you need a mushroom boost to your regular diet. And even better, they all have the nutritional benefits of AFA bluegreen algae.

1. This medicinal mushroom and algae supplement combines six of the most extensively researched mushrooms that show positive immune system support: reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei, with astragalus, beta glucan and Wild Bluegreen Algae.

2. Mushrooms such as cordyceps, reishi, maitake, wild black trumpet, and Poria cocos are thought to be among the most powerful and beneficial foods on earth and can all be found in this whole food supplement for a rich source of proteins and antioxidants.

3. This supplement not only has the power of cordyceps mushrooms, but also a blend of bluegreen algae, wheatgrass juice, bee pollen, turmeric, noni, and green tea as a whole food source for physical energy.

4. Another supplement created especially for high-performance athletes and active lifestyles, combines organic wild bluegreen algae, eleuthero, Ginkgo biloba, Lion’s Mane, bee pollen, wheatgrass juice, and noni designed to promote maximum concentration and mental clarity.

5. Ubiquinol is an active antioxidant form of coenzyme Q10 which is important for stress relief and improved daily energy and is good for the heart. You’ll find it in this supplement¬† that also has reishi and oyster mushrooms, polyphenols from olives, and AFA bluegreen algae.

While more research is being done on the thousands of varieties of mushrooms that exist, there has been extensive research done to show the nutritional and health benefits of many already identified mushrooms. Try substituting some of these mushrooms for some of the meat in the meat recipes you currently make and see if you can tell a difference in the taste. You’ll certainly be able to see the benefits in other ways. And when you can’t get your benefits straight from mushrooms themselves, know that you have an alternative with a wide variety of wholefood supplements.

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