When fine-tuning their wellness routines, busy women often look for actions that have multiple benefits. Aerobic exercise, for example, helps you maintain a healthy weight, keeps your heart, bones, and muscles strong, and increases the delivery of oxygen to the cells within your body. Time allocated for exercise is time well spent—an investment in your present and future health.
Mushrooms are another healthy habit that can bring multiple benefits to your wellness routine. They contain protein, vitamins, and minerals, but very little fat. Functional mushrooms, those valued as medicinal mushrooms for centuries, have additional benefits due to their unique bioactive compounds. Besides their nutrients, these mushrooms support a variety of wellness goals. Here are six mushroom benefits for women you probably didn’t know about.
6 Surprising Mushroom Benefits for Women
In the classification system for living things, mushrooms belong to the fungus kingdom. As such, they have some unique and beneficial attributes not found in plants or animals. One of the common compounds found in mushrooms is beta-glucan polysaccharides. These macromolecules have antioxidant and prebiotic properties. They also support the body’s immune functions and response to inflammation.‡ Women in particular can reap six unique benefits from mushrooms, including:
1. Metabolic Health‡
Preserving metabolic health means maintaining healthy blood sugar and lipid levels and preserving healthy blood pressure. This is critical for cardiovascular and overall health. If your glucose and cholesterol are in a healthy range, functional mushrooms can help keep them there. The fiber from mushrooms aids digestion and may help limit the absorption of sugar and cholesterol. A maitake mushroom powder blend can be used to support metabolic health.‡
2. Gut Flora‡
In addition to beta-glucans, mushrooms contain a variety of different polysaccharides, including hemicellulose, chitin, alpha-glucans, mannans, xylans, and galactans that act as potential sources of prebiotics. The prebiotic fiber contained in mushrooms can support gut health by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. Since many physiological functions depend on a healthy balance beneficial to pathogenic bacteria, promoting a healthy gut flora can have big rewards for overall health. Besides culinary mushrooms, a functional mushroom supplement can help you achieve a balanced gut flora.‡
3. Brain Support‡
Cognitive changes like memory lapses and brain fog are common. They may be caused by hormone fluctuations or exacerbated by the extreme multitasking in which many women engage on a regular basis. Mushrooms can benefit women plagued by minor cognitive changes in a variety of ways.‡
Two mushroom species offer specific benefits for brain health.
- Lion’s mane mushrooms contain bioactive compounds, including erinacines and hericenones, that can stimulate the production of nerve growth factor, a chemical that contributes to brain and nerve health.‡ To receive the benefits of these compounds, it is necessary to supplement with a product containing the whole mushroom—both the fruit body and the mycelium.
- Reishi is another mushroom that supports the brain. It’s a powerful adaptogen that helps the body handle stress that can negatively affect both your mood and cognition.‡
You may have seen skin moisturizers and serums containing functional mushrooms. That’s because mushroom powder supplements can also support beauty from the inside out. The antioxidants in functional mushrooms can support healthy aging and help the body respond to inflammation. In addition, their vitamin and mineral content can help protect against oxidative damage.‡ A daily dose of a beauty blend that combines the power of chaga, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, and king trumpet mushrooms and other minerals can support healthy skin, hair, and nails.
5. Immune System‡
It seems many people are focused on trying to fine-tune and support their immune systems to stay healthy these days. A well-functioning immune system reacts to infectious pathogens to keep you healthy but does not overreact to allergens or your own tissue. This is where functional mushrooms can help.
The lectins, terpenoids, proteins, and polysaccharides in mushrooms can support the immune system as immunomodulators. They support your body in making appropriate responses to immune challenges. Though different types of mushrooms contain their own unique bioactive compounds, turkey tail is one species that is well known for its immune support.‡
Life can be stressful, but adaptogenic mushrooms can help the body adapt and respond. By making them part of your daily routine, you can help your body maintain its equilibrium even when physical and mental stressors challenge you. Ending your day with a high-quality reishi powder stirred into warm tea or golden milk latte can help you shut down the day’s stresses and relax for a good night’s sleep.‡
Finding Quality Mushroom Products
You can feel good about adding functional mushroom supplements to your wellness routine. Look for a whole-food mushroom powder product that is grown in safe conditions and excludes pesticides, heavy metals, and other environmental toxins. To maximize the impact and take advantage of multiple benefits, choose a supplement with a multi-species blend. For a busy woman with several wellness goals, consistently taking functional mushrooms is a good way to get started.
‡These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Functional mushroom products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.