You are currently viewing Everything You Need to Know About Functional Mushrooms

Everything You Need to Know About Functional Mushrooms

What are Functional Mushrooms?

You’ve probably heard of the popular Netflix documentary “Fantastic Fungi” or seen functional mushrooms popping up in everything from protein bars to coffee. Not just a popular trend, mushrooms have been around for millions of years, and have been used medicinally for thousands. These natural healing fungi are low in calories and sodium and have little to no fat or cholesterol.

Often classified into two categories as either adaptogenic or medicinal, functional mushrooms are naturally packed with nutrients and fiber and offer a myriad of health benefits, from enhancing performance and mood, to protecting against illness. The bioactive compounds found in functional mushrooms are polyphenols, polysaccharides, beta-glucans, and antioxidants.

These support the immune system and help you achieve optimal wellness. Adaptogenic properties help you to manage stress, balance hormones and enhance cognitive function.

While there are over 2000 species of mushrooms and fungi, about fifteen are classified as “functional”. Like most mushrooms, functional mushrooms come from mycelium, a fungus that is formed with groups of hyphae. The hyphae are the branches that form the sprouting spores of the mushrooms. Mycelia are often found in forests, caves, wooded areas, fallen trees, and in fields. The part of the mushroom most consumed is called the fruiting body.

What Are They Not?

The white button mushrooms that you commonly see in your local produce department aren’t the same as functional mushrooms. People often confuse “hallucinogenic” or “magic” mushrooms with the term as well. Functional mushrooms don’t contain psilocybin and don’t cause any psychedelic effects or hallucinations. They are a 100% legal class of mushrooms that help you live a healthier lifestyle.

Here is a breakdown of the benefits and uses of functional mushrooms, and why we’re committed to using them in our delicious dumpling recipes.

Bioactive Compounds and Nutrients Found in Functional Mushrooms

  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Phosphorus
  • B Vitamins
  • Vitamin D2
  • Proteins
  • Selenium
  • Heteropolysaccharides 1,3-D and 1,6-D
  • Beta-Glucans
  • Alpha Glucans
  • Polysaccharides
  • Prebiotic Fiber
  • Antioxidants
  • Amino Acids
  • Digestive Enzymes
  • Lectins
  • Peptides

Health Benefits of Functional Mushrooms

Antioxidative properties, immune support, cognitive benefits, and adaptogenic properties, are the main reasons functional mushrooms are gaining in popularity.

Here are some of the reported health benefits of these natural superfoods:

  • Nutrient Rich
  • Immune Support
  • Digestive Health
  • Sports Performance
  • Stress Management
  • Cognitive Health
  • Healthy Aging
  • Skin Health
  • Inflammation
  • Bone strength
  • Energy And Vitality
  • Mood
  • Recovery

With the health benefits of functional mushrooms, it’s no surprise that they’re being incorporated into so many new food and health products!

Different Types of Functional Mushrooms and Their Health Benefits

  • Lion’s Main Mushrooms: Supports neurological functioning, cognitive health, memory, focus, and mood
  • Reishi Mushrooms: Regulates immune system, lowers blood pressure, offers stress, mood, and cardiovascular support
  • Turkey Tail Mushrooms: Supports immunity
  • Maitake Mushrooms: Supports immune functioning and blood sugar regulation, as well as reduces insulin resistance
  • Antrodia Mushrooms: Enhances immunity and offers liver protection
  • King Trumpet Mushrooms: Helps with cholesterol management, antioxidants, and bone health
  • Shiitake Mushrooms: Boosts immune system and brain functioning, offers energy, therapeutic properties, liver, and cardiovascular support
  • Himematsutake Mushrooms: Helps with cholesterol management
  • Chaga Mushrooms: Strengthens immunity with high antioxidant qualities, and offers gastrointestinal support
  • Cordyceps Mushrooms: Strengthens the immune system, supports energy and vitality, helps with circulation and respirations, boosts libido, and supports overall sexual functioni

How to Use Functional Mushrooms

  • Mix into Smoothies
  • Blend into yogurt parfaits, oatmeal, or hot cereals
  • Infuse in tonics or teas
  • Stir into hot cocoa or a latte
  • Take capsules
  • Stir into drinks
  • Use in sprays
  • Add to your favorite recipes
  • Use in prepared foods and meals
  • Purchase products with functional mushrooms already added

Safety of Functional Mushrooms

Always consult a healthcare provider before using any supplements, including functional mushrooms. Improper use can lead to adverse side effects or reactions with certain medications.

Getting Started with Functional Mushrooms

Before selecting where you should purchase your mushrooms and how you should use them, consider a few things.

  • Where and how are they sourced?
  • Are they grown and produced organically?
  • Are they GMO-free?
  • Are they third-party tested? They should be checked for mold, yeasts, bad bacteria, and pesticides.
  • Are they grown sustainably?

Leave a Reply