A healthy diet component that many people might overlook are mushrooms. Certain varieties of mushrooms have a place in a healthy diet, but not everyone is a fan of them. Fortunately, some of the healthiest mushrooms are made into an oral supplement. Here is a look at what certain mushroom supplements can do for your immune system, and some of their other benefits as well.
Mushrooms and a Healthy Diet
A number of different types of mushrooms are prepared and consumed as foods, usually alongside vegetables. This is a notable contrast, considering that mushrooms are fungi and not vegetables. Mushroom species that are most commonly consumed in prepared dishes include button (or, white) mushrooms and portobello mushrooms. Other types of mushrooms that are less universal in food dishes, but are just as healthy, include the maitake, shiitake, and crimini varieties. Mushrooms have essentially healthy qualities, such as being low-calorie, cholesterol-free, and low in sodium. Edible, safe-to-eat mushrooms often bear a resemblance to other mushroom species which are poisonous. For this reason, you should only consume mushroom products purchased in store or from a supplement provider. The texture and taste of mushrooms do not appeal to everyone. For this reason, an oral mushroom supplement is an excellent replacement.
Healthy Mushroom Supplements
Supplementing with an oral mushroom supplement has a range of potential benefits, depending on which supplement you choose. A common factor to most of them is that they benefit the immune system in some way. Here is a look at the benefits of some mushroom supplements.
- Chaga mushrooms are considered the king of medicinal mushrooms. They are native to many countries, most notably Japan. Supplementing with chaga mushrooms can bolster the immune system and help white blood cells work effectively. It also has anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce psoriasis, and long-term conditions linked to inflammation. Chaga also supports heart health, and gastrointestinal health.
- Cordyceps refers to a variety of mushrooms, of which cordyceps sinensis is one of the most common. Animal studies have shown that cordyceps has properties that could treat or prevent hyperlipidemia, which is high levels of fat in the blood. This means a decrease in cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and this benefit is thought to carry over to humans. Cordyceps is also touted for its ability to bolster stamina and energy in athletes, but studies on this point are conflicting. Cordyceps is recommended for short-term use, as long-term use can potentially have mild side effects, such as an upset stomach.
- Reishi mushrooms, like chaga mushrooms, are believed to help bolster the immune system. They can do so by increasing the effectiveness of white blood cells, and by reducing inflammation in these cells as well. It is thought to be of particular help for those with certain health conditions, but it might also be useful for healthy individual, too. Reishi also has antioxidant properties, and could help control blood sugar and support healthy cholesterol. Shiitake mushrooms contain a variety of compounds that have immune-boosting properties. Compounds known as centinamycins, as well as lentinan, have immune-boosting properties. The antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties of these compounds help combat infections. Reishi supplements have been shown to have a particular benefit on the activity of NK and T cells, which are part of the immune system.
Mushroom supplements can potentially be of great benefit, both for your immune system and for other aspects of your health as well. They are an excellent additive to a healthy diet. Talk to your doctor about how one or more of these supplements might benefit you.