We often use mushrooms as a bulking addition to our meals without thinking too much about any health benefits they may have. The common white mushroom we slice into our cooking has a high water content, but not too much nutritional value. However, there are species of mushrooms that have been used in many cultures for centuries due to their medicinal properties, and they are known as having adaptogenic properties.

This means that these varieties support body harmony and bring balance to areas of the body that need it, so next time you go shopping for mushrooms, try one of the varieties listed below.

1. Chaga

The benefits of chaga are being researched currently, and the results are showing that chaga could help with several health issues. The phenolic compound in chaga makes it a powerful tool to fight free radicals to reduce cell oxidation and give you glowing skin.

Chaga is also an effective antiviral agent against flu, and has been shown to give the immune system a boost, as well as rebalancing it. Consuming chaga has also been linked with a decrease in lung, brain and liver cancers too.

2. Cordyceps

Cordyceps is the mushroom of youth, and it works by increasing the antioxidants glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase, while also reducing lipid peroxidation and inflammatory compounds, which help accelerate signs of aging.

Cordyceps is also beneficial in rebalancing hormones and restoring energy.

3. Lion’s Mane

Lion’s mane is a mushroom that has brain supporting benefits, and neuroprotective properties. If you suffer from brain fog, this is the mushroom for you. One study showed that those who took a lion’s mane supplement for 16 weeks had significantly higher cognitive function than those who didn’t.

4. Himematsutake

This mushroom is also known as Royal Sun Agaricus, and is renowned for fighting cancer thanks to its levels of blazein, which is a cancer-killing protein. A study showed that himematsutake began to kill lung cancer cells after only three days, and stomach cancer cells after only two days.

5. Maitake

There have been several studies that have shown that maitake can reduce the growth of cancer cells and also suppress tumor growth, due to its ability to give the immune system a boost. Consuming maitake can increase your glucose tolerance and help stabilize blood sugar levels in those who have diabetes.

6. Oyster

Oyster mushrooms are great for those suffering from systemic inflammation, and they have been found to reduce inflammation and help in healing health problems such as cancer and heart disease.

7. Reishi

Blood sugar-related health problems are becoming worse in our society, and 50% of Americans are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. Mushrooms are a valuable low-carb addition to the diet, and they are very low in calories too.

Several studies have shown that reishi mushrooms can lower blood pressure in these with diabetes, and can help improve kidney function and wound healing, both of which get worse with diabetes.

8. Shiitake

Shiitake mushrooms are a good option to support brain health and a healthy adrenal system. Shiitake has also been found to shrink tumors, and has antimicrobial and cholesterol-reducing properties.

9. Turkey Tail

If you suffer with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or candida yeast overgrowth, turkey tail mushrooms can really help you. It also helps to fight cancer by boosting the immune system with polysaccharides. A study showed that the polysaccharide known as PSP in turkey tail improved the immune system in 97% of cancer patients.

How to Add More Mushrooms to Your Diet

It’s simple to add more mushrooms to your meals, either by adding sautéed mushrooms to your recipes, or by having them as a side dish or salad topping.

Try to buy organically grown mushrooms, as their porous nature means they will absorb any pesticides or chemicals used in growing or processing. It may be difficult to find some of the varieties in your local store, so you can buy dried ones online, or buy a kit to grow your own.

Not everyone likes the texture or taste of mushrooms, so you can buy powdered mushrooms, mushroom extracts or supplements instead.

Try eating mushrooms three times a week to start with, and see how your body reacts to them before increasing the dosage.