Mushrooms have been having their moment in the limelight, and it is high time we finally give them the recognition they deserve. Not only is the mycelial network in the earth beneath us a vast, powerful system that, at large, remains a mystery to us, but what we can access is incredibly medicinal. They are nourishing, beautifying, detoxifying, anti-inflammatory, and so much more. Author, registered dietitian, and nutritionist, Sarah Mirkin, briefed us on a few mushrooms we should be adding to our diet, like, yesterday.
Skip powders and tinctures—Mirkin says shiitakes should be eaten to reap the most benefits. “The whole shiitake mushroom has significant antiviral properties, and it has been shown to inhibit the growth of the influenza virus.” Studies suggest that the intake of shiitake mushrooms can significantly improve immune response. “What I love most about this amazing mushroom is that it can be found in almost all major grocery stores, and is delicious when eaten alone or in recipes.”
Another edible mushroom found in most major grocery stores, maitake mushrooms are also antiviral and shown to inhibit the replication of influenza viruses. Mirkin shares, “When the combo of the shiitake mushroom and maitake mushroom are eaten together, their antiviral properties are even stronger.” Similarly to shiitakes, these mushrooms can also be found in tinctures or dried in capsules, but Mirkin highly recommends eating them rather than supplementing.
Although they’re large and beautiful, you can’t simply cook and eat a reishi mushroom in your stir-fry. This one you can and should consume in powder, capsule, and tincture form. Mirkin tells us this is another powerful, medicinal, and antiviral mushroom. They are also stress reducing. The polysaccharides and triterpene compounds in reishi mushrooms both show significant neuroprotective effects against stress in the brain, which allows your adrenals to chill so you can regulate sleep cycles.
According to Mirkin, cordyceps have “amazing powers to increase natural killer immune cells and virus-killing cytokines. They also have anti-inflammatory properties that improve lung health, and protective antioxidant properties.” She explains that these mushrooms, albeit a little morbid, are actually a rare caterpillar fungus rather than a mushroom. You can find them in pills, tinctures, and powders, and in some farmers’ markets!