If you think mushrooms are the new superfood on the block, think again. Mushrooms have been used for decades for their healing properties; from their ability to support the immune system to their impact on the heart, mighty mushrooms are the perfect example of using food as medicine.
The amount of research on medicinal mushrooms (get your head out of the clouds; not those mushrooms) is growing daily. So, let’s dive into it, shall we?
Shrooms with Benefits
Mushrooms are one of the few plant-based sources of Vitamin D, a vitamin deficient in almost 1 in 4 Australians.1-2 Vitamin D is essential in keeping our bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Plus, Vitamin D plays an integral role in the immune system.
Mushrooms have been at the forefront of pharmaceuticals for decades. From penicillin to statins, mushrooms are a significant component of modern medications.3
Natural Immune Boosters
Mushrooms contain a type of soluble fibre called beta-glucan, which assists the immune system in fighting infection and stopping the growth of harmful bacteria. Shrooms also offer a potent source of selenium, which is a major immune-boosting antioxidant.4
It wouldn’t be a supercharged blog without mentioning gut health, would it? A compound within mushrooms is known to act as a prebiotic, boosting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and promoting a healthy environment within the gut.5 Mushrooms get the supercharged gut-kick tick from me! Speaking of a healthy gut environment, our brand new Love Your Gut Synbiotic Formula contains 20+ Billion probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes and dietary fibre.
Mushrooms have therapeutic properties, which may help lower cholesterol and reduce plaque build-up; this means mushrooms may protect the heart by maintaining healthy blood pressure and good circulation.6
Are All Mushrooms Equal?
All mushrooms offer health benefits, but these benefits vary from shroom to shroom. Here are just a few common and unique mushrooms and how they may benefit health. It’s essential to remember that mushroom research is growing, so some of this is based on traditional use and anecdotal evidence.
White Button Mushrooms
Let’s start with the standard variety you find in the supermarket and on your avo toast in your local café. White button mushrooms are rich in phytochemicals that may aid in the prevention of prostate cancer in men.7 Button mushrooms are also rich in protein, great for the immune system, and offer an incredible amount of fibre antioxidants and vitamin D.
Portobello mushrooms are a favourite among vegetarians, often acting as a burger substitute, but that’s not all they’re good for. These shrooms have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that reduce free radicals, plus it offers a great source of selenium and plant-based vitamin D.8
Reiki mushrooms may assist energy, increase memory, support the immune system, reduce stress, regulate blood sugar levels, and even help the heart.9
Cordyceps mushrooms have traditionally been used to support kidney and liver health, improving the body’s ability to remove toxins, improve energy and potentially control blood glucose levels.10
Who doesn’t love oyster mushrooms? They are delicious in soups or with steamed veggies. Oyster mushrooms are known for reducing inflammation, containing an antioxidant called ergothioneine which helps protect DNA in cases of chronic inflammation. These mushrooms also show promising results in reducing the common flu. Oyster mushrooms contain B vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc and potassium.11
Where can you find mushrooms?
I believe every single person can benefit from increasing their shroom intake. While portobello mushrooms and smaller button mushrooms can be found in supermarkets, more unique mushrooms like reiki and cordyceps can be found in powder form in health food stores.
My favourite way to have mushrooms in the cooler months is in soup. I believe mushroom soup stands out from all other soups because it’s oh so flavoursome and earthy. This soup is full of immune-supporting button mushrooms and protein-rich quinoa, making it the perfect recipe for a night in.
Mushroom with Red Quinoa Soup
This soup screams love and attention like a big protective hug. Warming and hearty, the mushrooms and quinoa muddle together, combining earthy and bold to bring your soup bowl alive with outstanding flavours.
- 1 tablespoon cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
- 1 brown onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves
- 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 750 g (1 lb 10 oz) button mushrooms, sliced
- 1.25 litres (44 fl oz/5 cups) vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons tomato passata (puréed tomatoes)
- 50 g (13/4 oz/1/4 cup) red quinoa
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes, to serve
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the onion, garlic, carrot, rosemary and seasonings and sauté for 7 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Add the mushroom and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the stock, tamari, apple cider vinegar, tomato passata and quinoa and cook for 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is soft.
- Ladle into bowls and serve sprinkled with the nutritional yeast flakes.