No not that kind of mushroom! These fun guys (sorry, we couldn’t resist) are the latest wave taking the wellness world by storm. Whether it’s mushroom coffee, mushroom supplements or the hot ingredients in a new recipe, you’ve surely seen an increase in their mainstream presence over the last year.
While human beings have turned to mushrooms since ancient times for their health benefits, scientists have been researching the species in depth. Neither a plant nor animal, the fungi kingdom is full of versatile species that have different benefits for the human body- beyond tasting great!
Mushrooms are packed full of umami, the Japanese “fifth taste” that defines savoriness. Beyond tasting great, the kingdom is full of different species that have versatile benefits for the human body.
Their rich flavor adds substance to any meal, and can act as a great meat substitute!
“Fungi have the ability to soak up and escort waste from our cells, and have a digestive system almost identical to that of humans,” says Liz Smithers, who studied Ayurvedic medicine and herbal sciences.
We break down our favorite medical mushrooms to include in our dishes:
Benefits: Enhancing concentration, memory and mental clarity. This species helps build new neural networks to create new ways of thinking.
Preparation: The mild taste blends into many flavors and is fantastic sautéed in butter!
Benefits: This guy invigorates the immune system with it’s active compound called lentinan. It also contains significant levels of vitamin D, selenium and zinc, which help to maintain skin health.
Preparation: Add to a curry, a risotto dish or on top of a burger. Try them in anything! the tender flavor compliments nearly any dish.
Benefits: There are a few different varieties of oyster mushrooms, each with a slightly different set of benefits. But in general, they are full of vitamins d, niacin and iron. They support your immune system, help lower cholesterol, and are full of amino acids that help prevent disease.
Preparation: Because of the heartiness and abundance of iron, this is one of our favorite meat-replacements. They’re great in pastas, stir-fries, etc.. but our favorite way to prepare is pan fried. So, they’re crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
Benefits: The properties of these mushrooms help improve physical acuity, reduce fatigue, boost energy and may contain anti aging properties.
Preparation: The stems often resemble Cheetos in both shape and color! We love to add fresh cordyceps in a broth or add the powder form to dark chocolate desserts.
Benefits: Known as the queen healer. It reduces stress and fatigue, helps regulate rest cycles and in general, helps chill you out. “They contain immune-modulating compounds called beta-glucans that help boost the immune system or dial it down as needed, and they have anti-cancer, liver-protective and blood sugar-balancing properties.”
Preparation: This mushroom is tough and bitter, our favorite way to prepare is to add reishi powder to an indulgent latte, delectable smoothie or sizzling stir fry.
Benefits: Chaga is known as the king of mushrooms, and like reishi, it’s a powerful immune-booster that has anti-oxidant properties. Great for fighting inflammation and lowering blood pressure.
Preparation: A culinary chameleon, add to savory or sweet recipes. This is another species that is best to prepare into a powder or tea before adding to a dish.