The Magic of Mushrooms
The Magic of Mushrooms
It is easy for me to say that mushrooms are amazing. As a nutritionist I have seen and felt the miracles that they can provide. As an Anthropologist, I’ve been able to see how these amazing fungi have been used throughout time. In fact there is a theory that claims, our human ancestor, hominids, ate psychedelic mushrooms which sparked neurogenesis, causing new neurons to form, opening new pathways of knowledge. Some say this is how the brain triggered such large growth during early human evolution. Those who consumed larger amounts of the mushroom would have triggered their language forming region of the brain, which manifested as music and visions, making way for the early use of language and arts. But of course this is only a theory.
I am the type of person that sees a new mushroom and wonders, what does it taste like? What meals can I add to it to? In how many ways can this mushroom benefit me?
Mushrooms can boost the body's defense against microbes, help aid weight loss by speeding up the metabolism, it can be important for bladder health, lower cholesterol levels, boost iron intake, strengthen bones, aid in diabetes, cancer and so much more.
When I talk about mushrooms people often make that face, as if I’m a parent forcing them to eat their veggies, before they are able to have a yummy piece of cake. So let's get some things straight about mushrooms:
What are mushrooms ?
Mushrooms are somewhat the fruit of a plant, created by millions of microscopic spores that form in the gills or pores underneath the mushroom's cap. The spores blow away into the wind, spreading their “seed spores”. If they land on something such as wood or soil, the spores will create a network of microscopic rooting threads called Mycelium. There are over 50,000 species of mushrooms, most are edible and safe to eat, while others pose a great risk of harm if consumed or touched, and approximately 2% are poisonous. The rest of these miraculous fungi have amazing medicinal properties that can be used for prevention, alleviation, or healing of multiple diseases.
There are three main kinds of mushrooms
- Saprotrophic mushrooms. These mushrooms feast on dead and decaying matter while they aid in the decomposition process. Saprotrophic mushrooms release special enzymes that encourage the deterioration of organic matter. Shiitake, morels, oyster, and button mushrooms all belong to the saprotrophic category of mushrooms.
- Parasitic mushrooms. Some fungi are designed to feed off other plant life. Detrimental to the host plant, parasitic mushrooms provide no benefit to its host. Examples of parasitic mushrooms include chaga and lion’s mane.
- Mycorrhizal mushrooms. This type of mushroom gives and receives benefits from other plants. The mycelium is often supported by and dependent upon the roots of other plants for structure. Mycorrhizal mushrooms also help hydrate a plant that provides sugars to return the favor. In this symbiotic relationship, both the mushroom and plant can grow stronger and larger. Mushrooms in this group include porcini mushrooms and truffles.
What do mushrooms do ?
There are numerous studies to answer this question, and the popularity of mushrooms is being supported by more and more research funding for everything from reducing cancerous tours to relieving depression.
Here are a few benefits studies say mushrooms contain or provide:
- Aid in Health and Wellness
- Cancer-fighting, antibacterial and antifungal properties are well-documented
- Relieve Depression, Anxiety
- Improve Gut Health and Immunity
- Kill Bacterias and Infections
- When threatened by bacteria or other pathogens, fungi produce powerful defensive enzymes called secondary metabolites.These are enzymes packed full of unique antibacterial and antifungal compounds. Called “co-culturing”, where penicillin, among many other life saving medicines come from.
- One day you may “feed” a fungus to your strep throat culture, for example, and the fungus would produce a medicine designed precisely for you and your illness—a patient- and disease-specific antibiotic. This is coming in the very near future.
- Replace Plastic
- By using mycelium—the mushroom version of a root system—to “mold things like you do in the plastics industry,” people can create materials that do many, if not all, of the same jobs as plastic. Because they are made of natural materials, they are 100-percent compostable in your own backyard.
- Assist in Agriculture
- Certain cordyceps mushrooms can be cultured in such a way that the offending pest will consume the fungi and become infected. It finally kills the pest, and then produces a mushroom of sorts whose spores will seek another similar host. The remaining colony or pests will either move away or also become susceptible to the fungi.
- As more and more of these fungi are discovered and their preferred bugs are identified, there’s much potential to employ them as a way of eliminating particular pests without collateral damage to other beneficial bugs—an important component these fungi would possess over many current biopesticides.
- evidence that suggests psilocybin mushrooms, when taken under supervision and in the right doses, can help correct PTSD, alcoholism, cluster headaches
Clean the Environment
- mushrooms have the ability to deconstruct oil and petrochemicals through mycoremediation
- mushrooms have the ability place the carbon into the soil through their waste after digesting it as food
Are Mushrooms really good for my health?
Short answer: YES.
Mushrooms are very high in important nutrients. They contain a long list of powerful nutrients that make them a GREAT source to add to your daily diet for your overall health!
-What is vitamin B good for?
-energy levels, brain function, and cell metabolism
Riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. The combination helps protect heart health.
-Riboflavin is good for red blood cells.
-Niacin is good for the digestive system and for maintaining healthy skin
-Pantothenic acids-Selenium and erogothioneine. Anti inflammatory benefits
-Mushrooms contain a large amount of potassium. Potassium is great for
diabetics, nerve signals, muscle health and hydration.
- Mushroom is the only non-animal product that creates Vitamin D!
Vitamin D facilitates the immune system, keeping teeth and bones strong, helps with weight loss, fights depression and improves the absorption of calcium.
- Beta glucan is believed to enhance immune response, improve cholesterol, and support heart health. Mushrooms are a good source of beta glucan.
-phytochemicals have been shown to impart anti-aging and anti-cancer benefits. Some of the phytochemicals found in mushrooms include alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides, and phenols. It is believed that these phytochemicals help the body ward off toxins, recover from illness, and alleviate pain.
Not to mention, each mushroom has its own adaptogens to support the body in so many ways. Adaptogens are plants that help support balance in the body, whether in relation to stress, poor sleep, poor diet, or overwhelming moments. Some are used for calming, stimulation, immune response, mental focus, and so much more.