Porcini mushrooms, chanterelles, shiitake or chanterelles, raw or cooked: mushrooms have been used for thousands of years by ancestral Asian medicines, and their virtues have recently been confirmed by Western science which is showing increasing interest in them. They are low in carbohydrates and calories, but are an excellent source of B vitamins, trace minerals, fiber and even protein. Find out why consuming mushrooms is interesting, how to choose them and how to integrate them into your daily routine for maximum benefits!
Their main therapeutic virtues
They strengthen immune function
Mushrooms contain complex substances with antimicrobial, antiviral, antitumor, antiallergic, immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties. However, long-term maintenance of high levels of inflammation has been shown to contribute to the development of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Mushrooms also have the natural ability to fight bacteria and viruses, and are therefore very good allies of our metabolism. This is because they require powerful antibacterial and antifungal compounds to survive in their own natural environment, and it is these same compounds that protect us against certain bacteria and other microorganisms responsible for a multitude of health problems. Be aware that some substances found in common antibiotics – including penicillin, streptomycin and tetracycline – are derived from mushroom extracts.
They protect the cardiovascular system
Mushrooms contain sterol compounds that interfere with the production of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) in the liver, and at the same time increase levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL). They also contain powerful phytonutrients that prevent cells from sticking to and blocking blood vessel walls, helping improve circulation and maintain normal blood pressure.
They are a powerful ally against stress and depression
Certain types of mushrooms are considered adaptogens. This means they play an important role in helping your body deal with stressful and demanding situations, and reducing levels of cortisol, the ultimate stress hormone.
They are also the only plant capable of producing vitamin D, which plays an important role in the proper functioning of the immune system and bone density, but also and above all to improve mood and reduce the symptoms of stress and depression. In fact, they contain a "pro-vitamin", or precursor, called ergosterol, which is converted to vitamin D when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, the same way your skin synthesizes the vitamin in response to solar exposure.
They improve energy levels
Mushrooms are an excellent source of B vitamins, which help support adrenal function which helps us effectively combat stress, and transform nutrients from food into energy. B vitamins also support neurotransmitter function, which is why they improve memory, attention and concentration.
Which varieties to favor?
Reishi is a mushroom recognized worldwide for its anti-carcinogenic and anti-tumor properties and is widely used as a complement to traditional oncological treatments, the effects of which it improves. It is also an excellent adaptogen capable of supporting our adrenal glands, responsible for producing and secreting stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol in particular). It is therefore very interesting in helping the body to better adapt to stressful situations, which is why it is particularly appreciated by athletes who seek to improve their physical performance and their emotional management during competitions or by hypersensitive subjects. seasonal depressions.
How to use it ? In Europe, they are almost never found in their natural form. We will then favor capsules or capsules, or better, we will buy reishi powder which we will dilute in our favorite hot drinks!
Shiitake is a tasty mushroom renowned for its ability to provide great long-term vitality and energy, as well as for its remarkable antiviral, antiparasitic and antibiotic properties. It is a bomb of antioxidants (selenium, zinc, copper and B vitamins) and also has immunostimulating and anti-inflammatory properties which help inhibit the growth of tumor cells and reduce the risk of degenerative diseases. Finally, it is an excellent support for the nervous system and soothes anxiety disorders.
How to use it ? Most of the time, these black mushrooms are eaten fried or in soup. It can be found fresh or in its dried form in Asian grocery stores. To consume them, simply immerse them in water to rehydrate them.
Cordyceps is nicknamed “Tibetan Viagra”! It is a powerful mushroom with aphrodisiac properties since it stimulates blood circulation in the genitals and increases libido. Furthermore, it is also an excellent adaptogen which provides better resistance to the effects of stress by pushing back our fatigue threshold and increasing our physical and mental performance. Finally, it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, helps improve kidney function and helps fight urinary infections.
How to use it ? As with reishi, we recommend diluting cordyceps powder in your favorite hot drinks.
- Willard, Terry. Reishi Mushroom, Sylvan Press, Seattle – Washington, USA, 1990.
- Winston, David and Maimes, Steven. Adaptogens, Healing Art Press, Rochester – Vermont, USA 2007. pp. 186-187.