Mushrooms have been a staple in cuisines in many parts of the world. Advanced cultivation methods have made some mushrooms very popular around the world. But, contrary to popular belief, mushrooms aren’t just used as a food source. There are some strains of mushrooms that have proven to be beneficial for a variety of health conditions. These mushrooms are more commonly known as medicinal or functional mushrooms.
What Are Functional Mushrooms?
Functional mushrooms aren’t the variety you find in your grocery store, but rather, they are those mushrooms that are generally found growing on fallen logs in dense forests. While all mushrooms serve a practical function, which is being a food source, functional mushrooms are packed with antioxidants and other nutrients in much greater quantity as compared to the regular grocery store variety.
Packed with vitamins and other essential minerals, functional mushrooms are also commonly used as a dietary option that’s rich in protein and low on calories.
Like their regular cousins, functional mushrooms have been used for many hundreds of years, but only for their medicinal properties. It’s only until recently that functional mushrooms have been given the status of a superfood because of the many research studies that have proven their health benefits.
One of the most common health benefits that has been cited in many of the recent studies on functional mushrooms is their anti-inflammatory properties. This means that functional mushrooms can be beneficial for the treatment of those medical conditions where inflammation is the main symptom or one of the symptoms.
Apart from its well documented anti-inflammatory properties, functional mushrooms are also beneficial for the immune system, which helps ward of disease and illnesses.
Packed with vitamins and other essential minerals, functional mushrooms are also commonly used as a dietary option that’s rich in protein and low on calories. Other benefits of using functional mushrooms include skin-enhancing benefits such as glowing skin, which is an indicator of a healthy immune system.
Another major advantage of functional mushrooms is that they’re adaptogenic. What this means is that the functional mushrooms can be beneficial for the body for fatigue and stress. One of the main selling points of functional mushrooms is that they have an impressive ability to help you get back on your feet if you have low energy.
What Are Some Functional Mushrooms?
As mentioned, not all mushrooms can be classified as functional mushrooms. That said, due to their popularity, there’s a huge variety of functional mushrooms that are easily available in the market. Some of the most commonly used functional mushrooms include; Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, Shiitake, Turkey Tail, Maitake, Enokitake, Oyster Mushrooms, and Tremella are just some of the varieties of functional mushrooms that you can use.
But, like everything else in life, not all functional mushrooms are made equal. Out of all the different varieties of functional mushrooms that are available in the market, Chaga, Lion’s Mane, and Reishi are considered to be the most effective when it comes to their medicinal properties.