Last week, I talked about the cancer fighting purple potato and why I am all about incorporating more purple foods into my diet. This week I want to talk about fungus! Yes, fungus. I’m about to get super “hippie mojo” as my husband and brother-in-law call it when I start talking about medicinal mushrooms, but please be patient with me. Mushrooms are POWERFUL and if you are not already supplementing your diet with the almighty fungi, you may want to start.
So why are mushrooms so powerful and why should you be eating them daily? And why am I all about eating fungus on the regular?
Well, my mushroom obsession started a few months ago when I learned from the doctor that I was vitamin D deficient. And saying I was shocked is an understatement. I am in the sun daily. I garden. I go on long walks with my kids. I practice yoga on my deck. I am constantly in the sun. I have the melanin in my skin to prove it! I’m a shade darker than I have even been in my life because of all my outdoorsy, under the sun activities. It didn’t make any sense to me as to why I would be vitamin D deficient. And all my doctor said was to start taking a vitamin D pill.
I was telling my mother-in-law about it and she started laughing. She explained to me she surprisingly has a surplus of vitamin D. Her lab work for vitamin D is considered excellent. Y’all… my MIL has very fair skin. She doesn’t tan. She shades herself every time she steps outside. She pretty much avoids the sun (and I must say, her wrinkle-less face shows how well she takes care of her skin). Before that conversation I was under the impression that we could only get vitamin D from the sun. And if that was the case, how could my MIL have more vitamin D than me?!?
Turns out that some people, especially those who are fairer skin, absorb the sun more efficiently than those who are darker. All my melanin and pigmentation actually reduce vitamin D production in my skin. I started researching and learned that many people of color are vitamin D deficient and completely unaware. I can spend HOURS in the sun whereas someone lighter in skin tone can spend 15 minutes in the sun and they may absorb more vitamin D than I have, despite the quantity difference.
After learning I couldn’t win with the vitamin D fight, I decided to follow my doctors orders and get some vitamin D pills. However, I’m always on the search for adding more value to my diet and life as naturally as possible, so I started down the research rabbit hole and stumbled on medicinal mushrooms. I learned that mushrooms are the only food we can get vitamin D from and instantly became intrigued. I read more and more and then, well, I started eating more mushrooms. I scouted Saint Louis and Springfield for medicinal mushroom powders and elixirs. I started adding mushroom powders to my smoothies. I started making mushroom tea. I’m probably going to turn into a mushroom soon. But before I turn into a mushroom, I want to share the benefits of mushrooms and a few ways to add their healing powers to your diet.
When we think of antioxidants, we often think of foods bright in hue like blueberries, purple potatoes, red peppers and other vibrant colored foods. However, crimini and portobello mushrooms have the same amount of oxygen radical absorbance capacity as red peppers.
High levels of selenium lowers the risk of bladder cancer and several types of mushrooms are rich in this mineral.
Mushrooms are the sole food we can get vitamin D from. Mushrooms produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight like humans do. Three ounces of D- enhanced mushrooms can provide 400 IU of vitamin D!
Mushrooms are a great source of dietary fiber. Mushrooms provide insoluble chitin and soluble beta glucans. Insoluble fiber is important for proper digestion and soluble fiber can slow the rise in your body’s blood sugars after a meal, and can help control your blood pressure and cholesterol.
Mushrooms promote the maturation of bone marrow dendritic cells which may help enhance the body’s immunity leading to better defense systems against invading microbes.
Mushrooms contain loads of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B3 (niacin). B vitamins are vital for turning carbohydrates into glucose, which the body burns to produce energy. Vitamin B also helps the body metabolize fats and protein. Many varieties of mushrooms have upwards to 44 percent of the daily recommended amount.
Mushrooms have been used for hundreds of years as medicine in many Asian cultures. There are at least 270 species of mushroom that are known to have various therapeutic properties. I just recently started adding medicinal mushrooms to my diet and honestly there is no going back. I currently use two mushroom extract powders: reishi mushroom and lion’s mane mushroom. I start my day with lion’s mane and end my day with reishi.
This is the Lion’s Mane I use. I had to order it from Amazon because I could not find a single store that sold it near me in powder form.
I found the Reishi powder in stores but if you cannot find it near you, I recommend this one based on reviews and I like this brands other products a lot!
Lion’s mane is good for brain health, memory boosting and aids in concentration. Reishi is good for calming the mind, relaxing the body, and aids in deeper sleep. I have been using these powders for a little over a month and really enjoy them. I even take them with me when I travel. I highly recommend trying these and other mushrooms. If you do not like to eat mushrooms for whatever reason, I recommend investing in the powders and adding the powders to smoothies, shakes, teas and so on. Getting creative and having fun with fungi has been an enlightening experience. I look forward to adding more mushroom varieties into my diet.
This Wednesday, I’ll be sharing my favorite memory boosting morning tea and my go to calm nights elixir. I have been drinking these for a 3 weeks straight and LOVE it. Be on the look out- you won’t want to miss it. They are a powerhouse of nutrition!
I look forward to seeing you then.
How do you feel about mushrooms? Was this convincing enough to add more to your diet?