We eat mushrooms every week in my household. I love their versatility. I use them as side dishes and as main courses for our meatless dinner nights. They adapt well in any dish and there are so many varieties. Plus, did you know you could drink them for even more nutritional value? I'll get into that in a moment.
Mushrooms are one of the best foods for gut health and have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Mushrooms are rich in carbohydrates which make them great prebiotics to stimulate growth of probiotics in the gut. How do you know you need a gut healthy foods in your routine?
If you are suffering from gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, moodiness, skin rashes, abdominal pain, anxiety or stomach gurgling, you have an unhealthy gut. One way to help reduce these symptoms is to incorporate gut healthy foods like mushrooms into your routine. Unsure of how to use food to reduce your symptoms? I am here to help!
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Now here are 10 reasons mushrooms are amazing and gut friendly!
#1 STIMULATE THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Mushrooms rich in polysaccharides, especially beta-glucans, which stimulates the immune system. It does this by inhibit pathogen growth by supporting the good bacteria in the gut (Source: NIH) About 60 to 70% of our immune system is found in our gut so keeping the good bacteria healthy we have a stronger immune system.
#2 GOOD SUPPLY OF PROTEIN
Mushrooms are a good supply of plant based protein and low in calories. This supports a healthy lifestyle by filling you up and helping to keep you fuller longer.
#3 HIGH IN FIBER
Fiber is important for good digestive health. Fiber not only promotes regular and normal bowel movements, it contributes to keeping appetite, blood sugar levels and blood cholesterol under control. A cup of cooked mushrooms can help you get 9 percent to 14 percent of your daily fiber requirements. (Source: Healthy Eating)
#4 OFFERS A VARIETY OF HEALTH BENEFITS
Mushrooms improve gut health plus offer significant vital health benefits, including antioxidants, cholesterol-lowering properties, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, liver protection, as well as anti-diabetic, anti-viral, and anti-microbial properties. (Source: NIH) Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties help keep our digestive tract healthy.
Chaga mushrooms are high in antioxidants and helpful for GI health. Use it for overall wellness and disease prevention. Chaga can be taken as a supplement or found in mushroom drink mixes. (Source: Clean Eating Magazine)
#5 CALM ANXIETY
Mushrooms are high in pantothenic acid, which is vitamin B5. Pantothenic acid is responsible for preventing fatigue since it supports the function of adrenal glands, particularly in times of stress. (Source: World's Healthiest Foods) One of the root causes of digestive health is stress. By eating and/or drinking mushrooms, stress reduction occurs which promotes a healthy digestive system.
Reishi mushrooms supports the immune and cardiovascular systems and helps manage stress. Use it for overall health or to unwind after a stressful day. Reishi mushrooms are often found in mushroom drink mixes, like this one from Four Sigmatic.
#6 BOOST MENTAL FOCUS
The medical community widely recognizes the communication pathway from our gut to our brain. There was a 6 year study in Singapore that showed eating more than two portions of cooked mushrooms per week could lead to a 50 percent lower risk of mild cognitive impairment.
The cognitive support appears to be derived from a compound in mushrooms called ergothioneine (ET), which is a unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that humans are unable to synthesize on their own. However, it can be obtained from dietary sources, one of the main ones being mushrooms. (Source: Medical News Today)
Lion's Mane is a mushroom that is known to support brain cells and new cell growth in the body and impacts the enteric nervous system. Use it to enhance mental clarity and focus. Lion's Mane can be bought as a supplement or as part of a mushroom drink. (Source: Clean Eating Magazine)
#7 PROMOTES ENERGY PRODUCTION
Mushrooms are high in B vitamins which are necessary for energy production. They are an excellent source of riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacin. A very good source of thiamin and B6 and a good source of Folic Acid. All of the B vitamins are necessary for carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism. (Source: World's Healthiest Foods)
I drink Cordyceps mushrooms 4 days a week. The bag I buy on amazon is USDA organic certified and contains 1000 servings! There is a tiny scoop in the bag and one scoop is all you need. Add some hot water and 1/2 cup of warm nut milk for a tasty start to the day. Since cordyceps promotes energy, I drink it before going to the gym. I've definitely noticed a difference in my endurance since drinking it. Click on the picture to go to the amazon link.
#8 IMPROVES SLEEP
How is food and sleep connected? After we eat food, our blood sugar rises, which prompts the release of insulin in our bodies. When our brains detect the presence of insulin, they then permit an amino acid found in food called tryptophan to enter our brains more easily. This allows serotonin, a neurotransmitter important in brain functions related to sleep and mood, to release and lets us sleep. Mushrooms contain tryptophan, the building block of serotonin, as well as melatonin which help your body regulate your sleep cycle. (Source: One Green Planet)
I hope this post inspires you to eat more mushrooms! They are great for our digestive health, promote healthy sleep, give us energy, helps our brains function better and keeps us calm. The saying is true, food is medicine.
Do you think you will add mushrooms into your routine more often? Let me know by leaving me a comment below.