The Power of food! Before fast food mega-chains and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) were even a twinkle in a future billionaire’s eye, in many parts of the world food was intentionally used for healing and medicinal purposes. For thousands of years certain types of foods have been known to have capabilities beyond their basic nutritional value.
This brings us to the world of fungi. Neither plant nor animal, fungi is a rare variety of food that we find in our cuisine as yeast to raise our bread , molds in some cheeses and wine ferment. With the kingdom of fungi containing over 1.5 million mushrooms and fungi varieties, one has to discern which are poisonous, which will create a psychedelic experience and which are functional mushrooms, a superfood which consuming in some form every day is optimal for your health in many ways (that was like an Oscar introduction Meryl Streep-worthy, get to the point already). Functional mushrooms have become a hot commodity whether it be white button mushrooms in a side salad or Lion’s Mane Mushroom Powder which is a fantastic superfood supplement.
The functional mushroom market has been exploding! The expected growth of the functional mushroom market is expected to double in the next 10 years, bringing it from around $8 billion to almost $20 billion by the year 2030. More consumers are seeking out natural products to heal health issues, which is a contributing factor to the seismic growth in the functional mushroom market.
Aside from the basic nutrition from a portobello mushroom, including riboflavin (vitamin B2) and selenium, an essential trace mineral that can improve cognition, immune system function and fertility, functional mushrooms contain a host of health benefits beyond their natural nutrition1. They might not be as tasty to the tongue as a roasted portobello, but this is why functional mushrooms can be purchased as a powder, extract and in raw form.
Functional Mushrooms Health Benefits
Most of the functional mushroom species contain a high amount of prebiotic fiber. Bioactive compounds from some functional mushrooms such as reichi, maitake and oyster mushrooms have been found to alter the gut microbiota. This growth of beneficial bacteria can promote a healthy gut and can improve digestion2.
Another huge benefit from functional mushrooms are their antioxidant properties. Some of the antioxidants which can be found in these superfoods are polysaccharides, polyphenols, beta-glucans among others. All of these properties help support your immune system if consumed in some form on a regular basis3.
Straying away from the idea of convenience, when choosing the foods we consume is one of the ways to start thinking about “healing the body with food.” This movement towards functional foods has to be backed with the intention of eating for the mind, body and spirit. Eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible will assist in your end goal of working toward optimum health.
Immune System Support
Although most functional mushrooms are known to support the immune system3, one functional mushroom in particular, known as “turkey tail” is especially powerful when taken on a regular basis, whether in your food, as a supplement or brewed into a tea. Turkey Tail is known to increase energy as well as give strength to specific body parts such as the lungs, spleen and stomach.
In Eastern cultures food is not thought of as an item to order off of Uber Eats but it usually obtains a symbolic meaning in the lives of those who consume them. Turkey tail, for instance, symbolizes health, spiritual awareness and infinity. Turkey tail is one of a long-line of functional mushrooms which improve immunity and fight free radicals. Other functional mushrooms in this category include reishi, chaga, shitake, maitake and lion’s mane.
Changing the Way We View Food and Its Role in Our Life
Holistic Nutrition is not some new “keto-atkins-south-beach-infused-smoothie craze” it’s looking at the role food plays in our life and thinking about eating not out of convenience, because it’s packaged to eat while driving, or because it is super-sized with a bucket of ranch. This type of nutrition is marked by making healthy food choices that are closest to their natural state. Moving away from processed foods and beginning to add foods to your diet that consist of one ingredient. For example, a banana, the ingredient in a banana is singular: a banana. The closer we can choose foods with less ingredients on the label, the better they will be to add to our optimum health and holistic wellness4.
Taking a look at the plentiful, diverse world of functional mushrooms is a powerful step toward feeding your mind, body and spirit with the foods it needs for holistic healing.
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**These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
- Selenium: What it does and how much you need, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287842.
- All the Questions You Have About Functional Mushrooms, Explained, https://www.eatthis.com/functional-mushrooms/#:~:text=%22Mushrooms%20are%20loaded%20with%20polyphenols,benefits%20of%20daily%20mushroom%20consumption..
- Everything You Need to Know about Functional Mushrooms and Their benefits, https://nulivscience.com/functional-mushrooms-and-their-benefits/.
- Holistic nutrition: Eating for mind, body and soul, http://www.lccbenefits.ca/downloads/banewslettermar13.pdf.