Plant-based health isn’t limited to the world of flora. The mushroom kingdom is made up of millions of diverse organisms that play an equally important role in nature’s cycles. One of those cycles, nutrition, plays a vital role in our health.
When it comes to edible mushrooms, the list is in the thousands, and those are just the ones we know about. Today, however, we’re looking at two that stand out for their health properties – lion’s mane and reishi mushrooms.
Nutritional benefits of mushrooms
Edible mushrooms have been a staple in food and medicine for millennia, but not all effects are created equal. Some are prized for their flavor, others for their function. Every species is unique, even the ones that share a lot of properties.
Below, we’ll look at lion’s mane and reishi mushrooms separately. Many of the benefits they offer overlap, but they interact with the body in different ways that complement each other. It’s a case of diversifying the benefits to strengthen the result, and it helps to know where they excel.
Let’s break them down.
Health benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms
Known for their rich, seafood-like flavor, lion’s mane mushrooms are a staple in Southeast Asian cuisine and health supplements globally.
- Cognitive function
Lion’s mane is a rich source of hericenones and erinacines, two compounds that support the growth of brain cells. Because cell growth slows as we age, these stimuli can help the brain form new connections and maintain healthy function.
Studies suggest it can reduce cognitive impairment in adults when taken as a supplement. There are even signs that it may slow the onset of brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, although human studies on this are limited. Still, the known positive effects make lion’s mane a powerful supplement for brain health.
Depression and anxiety
Stimulating the growth of brain cells isn’t just good for memory and other mental functions, either. The brain is also responsible for processing and regulating our emotional responses. Lion’s mane mushroom may also reduce a lesser known cause of depression – chronic inflammation.
Its anti-inflammatory properties reduce inflammation and its disruptive effect on neurotransmitters. While depression and anxiety have various social and biological causes, lion’s mane greatly limits the severity of a leading one.
Lower risks of heart disease
From the mind to the heart, lion’s main mushroom can limit risk factors that lead to heart disease. As an extract, the mushroom increases fat metabolism and keeps oxidized cholesterol from entering the bloodstream.
One of its compounds, hericenone B, reduces both the rate of blood clotting and the risk of stroke.
High blood sugar levels have a negative impact on organ health. Diabetes can also lead to complications like nerve damage if levels aren’t managed correctly. Lion’s main mushroom is an effective blood sugar stabilizer; it blocks the enzyme responsible for digesting carbs, limiting how much sugar enters the bloodstream.
Protecting the nervous system
Damaged nerve cells aren’t just painful, they can affect the body’s ability to coordinate all its systems. Studies suggest lion’s mane extract can speed up nerve cell recovery while stimulating the growth of new ones.
Health benefits of reishi mushrooms
Dubbed “the king of mushrooms”, reishi mushrooms are as popular as they are stunning. But they aren’t prized for their flavor or look. They’re mostly used as a powder or extract to bring out their medicinal benefits.
Reishi mushrooms support the immune system through their effect on white blood cells. They’ve shown an ability to stimulate a specific type known as natural killer cells. These are the white blood cells responsible for fighting infection.
This is most beneficial when you’re already sick. While the immune-boosting effects aren’t as noticeable in healthy people, reishi mushrooms provide immune support when the body truly needs it.
Of course, fatigue can affect even the healthiest people if not properly managed. More severe forms like cancer-related fatigue can have a major impact on not just energy but quality of life. Researchers found that reishi powder had a significant fatigue-fighting effect on 48 breast cancer survivors.
After taking the supplement for 4 weeks, patients reported lower fatigue, less severe anxiety and depression, and improved quality of life.
Where lion’s mane stimulates brain cell growth, reishi mushrooms can improve cell regeneration in the liver. Given its role in flushing toxins, the liver needs to be able to heal quickly to remain healthy. The faster cells can regenerate, the better this vital organ can function while supporting other systems throughout the body.
Reishi mushrooms even show promising signs in the fight against allergies. Their anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties improve the body’s immune responses and oxygen supply. Paired together, these two effects offer relief against allergy and asthma symptoms.
Rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants are essential for cell protection and rebalancing. They neutralize free radicals, the main cause of oxidative stress and cell damage. Reishi mushrooms are a great source of antioxidants, supporting healthy cell function and maintaining homeostasis throughout the body.
Cohesion in holistic health
Mushrooms are fascinating organisms, and not just for their health properties. In nature, they can sprout in tiny crevices or spread across entire ecosystems. What makes them special is how they interact with the world, forming intricate mutually-beneficial networks with the world.
Our relationship with them is just like stories. The more we learn about the effects of lion’s mane and reishi mushrooms, the better we understand ourselves. While most superfoods tend to be vegetables, mushrooms have proven to be as beneficial, and sometimes in unique ways.
Their bioactive compounds support everyday health but also show powerful effects in disease treatment and prevention.
Mushrooms for health and wellness
Nature’s Substance provides key nutrients from over 20 superfoods, including reishi and lion’s mane mushrooms. Packed with 100% plant-based extracts, each capsule supplies your body with the right natural compounds for physical and mental performance.
Vegan-friendly and sustainably made, this supplement supports your health and the planet’s wellbeing – just like our favorite mushrooms.