Do these little fungi possess powers we are only just discovering? Collectively they contain powerful, healthy nutrients which benefit our bodies and also this Earth. Yet each mushroom type or fungi has its own unique benefits. Chaga differs from Reishi and Turkey Tail differs from Cordyceps. Their reemergence is growing and is gaining momentum proving once again they are magical in ways we know and ways that are on the verge of discovery.
Eating mushrooms from the store or farmers market is one way to power up their magic.
Common forms are white cap, Shitake or Portabella; slightly more exotic are Reishi, Maitake and Chantarelle. Lightly chopped and sauteed in butter or olive oil with a pinch of salt is delish.
But what if you don’t like mushrooms or want to enjoy them as a super food for the health benefits?
What to Look for in Your Mushroom Supplement
There are important components are found in mushrooms. Mycelium is an essential part of the mushroom that lives underground. Picture it like the tentacles of an octopus or squid. The fruiting body is the cap that we see above ground, the mycelium is under it doing all sorts of important jobs. These roots feed the mushroom but also act like communicators for the whole forest enhancing the ecosystem, ensuring its health. It develops enzymes and nutrients to defend the mushroom and its surrounding environments against environmental stressors, pathogens and other detrimental threats ensuring its ability to thrive. Therefore the mycelium is blessed with vitamins, minerals, prebiotics, polysaccharides and enzymes making the mushroom a superfood. Some mushroom companies provide full spectrum mushrooms that include the mycelium.
Another important component is beta glucans which are polysaccharides that occur naturally in certain mushrooms. As a soluble fiber they allow carbs to digest more slowly, then you feel full longer. They contain antioxidants and help maintain healthy gut bacteria. They also act as immunomodulators and help a weak immune system or can help balance an overactive one.
Popular Functional Mushrooms
Some of the most popular and health beneficial are Reishi, Maitake, Turkey Tail, Cordyceps, Chaga and Lions Mane. Many of which are found in supplement form. Check out my other mushroom article for details about these superfood magical mushrooms and which ones to select based on your own health needs and issues; brain, skin, energy, mood, immune. Mushroom supplements come in powder or capsule form. Some are specific and others are a blend of mushrooms. It depends on what benefits you are looking for.
Earth Benefits by Their Existence
And as far as Earth is concerned, wild mushrooms and their mycelium play an important role in the soil’s nutrients, water, carbon and communication amongst trees and other plants. They can even take carbon out of the atmosphere and store it in the soil and clean up oil spills. So let’s not pull out those mushrooms on our lawns or kill them with pesticides. Let them be because they are doing their magic. Check out Fantastic Fungi for more amazing info on that.