Is There Magic in Mushrooms?

Jul 21, 2019
Ashley Lawrie

Author: Riley Pearce
Social Media Director

We have likely all heard about magic mushrooms, but is there another kind of magic in regular, edible mushrooms? The kind of magic that puts mushrooms and other fungi into the coveted club of superfoods?

There are several cultures across the globe that have been harnessing the healthy powers of mushrooms for years, and The West has finally taken notice. With brands like Four Sigmatic offering several varieties of mushrooms in powder form, these powerful plants are making their way into the kitchens of the curious and health conscious.

Is there any real health benefit and should you jump on the mushroom bandwagon? Read more to find out!

Mushrooms are not some new health fad designed by the diet industry. Mushrooms have been used since 3000 BCE and are popular for their antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, heart and blood vessel-protecting, antidiabetic, and anticancer properties. These are essentially another one of mother nature’s natural medicines.

You may be surprised to know that mushrooms are actually closer to humans than any other kingdom of species. We have been eating them for so long now that our bodies now depend on specific molecules found in mushrooms.

Common mushrooms such as shiitake mushrooms and white button mushrooms are so powerful that one study found, when they are eaten regularly, that they have a greater anti-inflammatory effect than any available pharmaceutical.

Remember our blog about gut bacteria and its effect on weight? Well turns out mushrooms are an effective prebiotic that could potentially help treat obesity by keeping blood sugars low, and the right gut bacteria well fed.

What about those anticancer properties we mentioned before? This is due to mushroom’s high antioxidant content which keeps free radicals low. Although all mushrooms will have this effect, there are 7 in particular that are very good at this. They are:

  1. Porcini
  2. Golden Oyster
  3. Pioppino
  4. Oyster
  5. Lion’s Mane
  6. Maitake
  7. Shiitake

Their ability to protect the body from inflammation and free radicals is likely why a study out of Australia found that women who consumed a ⅓ oz of mushrooms every day were 64% less likely to develop breast cancer.

Okay, so mushrooms obviously possess a pretty magical set of medicinal properties. But how are they for simple nutritional value? How will they affect our macros and can they help us get our crucial vitamins and minerals? 

After all of the health benefits that have already been discussed, it should come as no surprise that these little forest fungi have an impressive nutrient profile. Mushrooms are one of the only non-animal sources of vitamin D. They also contain B vitamins, and minerals like selenium. 1 Cup of shiitake mushrooms (used as our example as they have been mentioned a few times in this article) is just 24 calories, 0.3g of Fat, 213g of Potassium, 4.8g of carbs, 1.8g of fiber, 1.7g of sugar, and 1.6g of protein.

It is safe to say that mushrooms are pretty magical. The simple fact that they have been used for thousands of years is evidence that they are a tried and true natural medicine. If their medicinal properties are not enough to convince you to consume more mushrooms, then their light caloric load, and high vitamin concentration are great reasons to add these to your grocery list.

Still not convinced? Check out this TED talk on 6 ways mushrooms can save the world!Resources used for this article.

Consuming Lentinula edodes (Shiitake) Mushrooms Daily Improves Human Immunity: A Randomized Dietary Intervention in Healthy Young Adults.

Ganoderma lucidum, a new prebiotic agent to treat obesity?




How eating mushrooms may improve blood sugar control

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