Believe us when we say it! Functional mushrooms are some of the greatest untapped natural foods around. Too often, mushrooms have gotten a bad rap in North America, either as the hallucinogenic 'shrooms or the "not-a-fruit but not-a-vegetable" with the somewhat unusual taste and texture.
We’re talking about something entirely different, though. We’re talking about the ones that (while not necessarily edible) offer immense health benefits and are often consumed in elixirs and powder blends. This medicinal and functional variety of mushrooms have been beloved elsewhere on the planet and in eastern traditional medicine for thousands of years. It’s time we learn a little more about them, and see how easily they can be incorporated into our wellness routines.
Let’s break down why these mushrooms are starting to gain more attention in the west and why people are so excited to add them into everything from morning coffee to smoothies and protein shakes to no-bake goods.
Here are 5 reasons for why you should consider adding them into your daily routine:
1. Warding off Sickness
Tired of getting seasonal colds every few months? Body aches and sore throats setting in at all the worst times?Supplementing with functional mushrooms could be your friend. Many people are starting to use them to help ward off colds and boost and support their immune systems.
Why? Because mushrooms contain molecules called beta-glucans that are contained in the fruiting body walls that support and protect the immune system. This allows your system to get ahead of the game and ward off sickness before it takes root. Sounds badass, doesn’t it?!
2. Improved Concentration & Mental Clarity
Even when we’re doing all the right things, sometimes we still want and need to kick it into another gear of focus and mental clarity. Without chugging cups of coffee and getting anxious jitters, mind you. That’s where these guys come in because some of the most commonly reported advantages of using mushrooms is that they increase mental energy and promote outstanding mental clarity. Most of all to thank for that, Lions’ Mane. This legend is vital in stimulating NGF (nerve growth factor) and more generally supporting nervous system health.
3. More Energy
Who wouldn’t want more energy!? Not to be confused with the Cordyceps sinensis, the zombie fungus that takes over insects’ brains, Cordyceps militaris is a functional mushroom that has been used by everyone from bodybuilders and ultra-athletes/marathoners to more casual gym rats, to boost stamina and endurance. It works by raising VO2 max and increasing energy levels, by enabling more oxygen to get through to your cells. No more skipping workouts because "we're just not feeling it"!
4. Better Sleep
One of the deceptively hardest health routines to achieve, sleep is something that matters just not for its quantity but also its quality. Beyond practicing an enviable bedtime routine (look here for some tips), you can get some help from mushrooms too, especially Reishi and Chaga.They both help bring on the zzz’s like a boss. Including these mushrooms in your nightly routine is a simple yet powerful way to get a quality night's sleep that has you waking up refreshed and ready to take on the next day.
5. Banish Stress and Anxiety
This is one of our favorite benefits of these functional mushrooms, since stress is a silent killer that’s too easy to have seep into all facets of one's life. Functional mushrooms are adaptogens, which work to promote equilibrium our body and strengthen our capacity to adapt to stressors. Hence the name. Adaptogens operate in not too different a way than exercise does to positively affect our bodies and minds. They work to fortify our stress response and train it to be better prepared against warding off the effects of anxiety and external stressors.
Most importantly, functional mushrooms help us feel amazing, every single day. If you’re already feeling like a beast - never tired, feel like your mind is in tune at all the right moments - them maybe these aren’t for you. But seriously, who feels all of those things! We sure don’t. So get a little help from these fungal legends and add them easily into your daily routine, in a simply delicious cup of mushroom coffee.