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7 Reasons to Make Mushrooms a Staple in Your Diet


Mushrooms have been growing in popularity over the last several years, but did you know that they’re as healthy as they are scrumptious? Mushrooms have been used in Eastern traditional medicine for thousands of years, providing benefits that include, but are not limited to, supporting the immune system, promoting healthier skin, and enhancing mood. Read more to find out mushroom benefits, how mushrooms can promote your overall health, and how you can incorporate these fungi into your favorite recipes, including desserts!


It has long been known in Eastern cultures that mushrooms have incredible medicinal properties, but only recently have scientists been digging into those purported benefits. In fact, most ancient civilizations have used mushrooms for their health-promoting benefits! Over 200 conditions have been identified as potentially benefiting from mushroom consumption. Mushrooms are able to affect many of your physiological systems and their function, meaning the benefits are seemingly endless! From giving your immune system a boost to balancing blood sugar,  the results have been astounding.


Here are seven reasons why you should you be hanging out with these fungi: 


1. Mood-Boosting Stay balanced with three B vitamins, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, that help regulate your mood. Reishi mushrooms, in particular, are great for this benefit because of their mood-boosting compounds! These relaxing mushrooms have been studied to reduce both anxiety and depression thanks to their richness in the compound triterpene. Reishi can also promote better sleep. Having better rest can lead to an enhanced mood for the following day! Mushrooms, in general, contain B vitamins, which are great for converting nutrients into much-needed energy. B vitamins are able to prevent you from experiencing, for example, “brain fog” and some other conditions that may occur due to stress.


2. Great for skin B vitamins and master antioxidant, ergothioneine, are anti-inflammatory!  Many skin care products use mushroom extract for this reason. Antioxidants are incredibly helpful in reducing skin irritation as well as inflammation. Mushrooms that have these antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, such as shiitake mushrooms, have been studied to contain phenolic veratric acid, which can reduce wrinkles.


3. Antiviral Natural antiviral effects bind to viral cells and prevent them from replicating. Inhibiting viruses helps prevent you from contracting a disease, and mushrooms are additionally able to decrease how severe illness is for those who had already become sick! Some mushrooms, for instance, have been studied to show that they increase the production of B and T lymphocytes. These immune cells are what help manage our body’s response to dangerous bacteria called pathogens, but also includes viruses too!


4. Blood Sugar Stabilizers Mushrooms help to regulate glucose levels so they are beneficial for diabetics and hypoglycemics. We like to point to Cordyceps mushrooms for this example because of how great they are when it comes to managing blood sugar levels that are safe for your body. Studies have shown that these caterpillar-fungi hybrid mushrooms are able to lower blood sugar as well as triglyceride and cholesterol levels naturally.


5. Immune System Boosters Mushrooms are one of the only natural food sources of ergosterols, a compound that creates Vitamin D, which alongside beta-glucans stimulate your immune system. Research has revealed that mushrooms are actually quite rich in vitamin D2. Shiitake mushrooms in particular produce vitamin D2, vitamin D3, and vitamin D4.! Because mushrooms, in general, are so high in antioxidants like germanium and ergothioneine, they are able to help prevent damage caused by free radicals. As we said before, the B and T lymphocytes’ increased production due to mushrooms can not only protect you from pathogens and viruses but also toxins and other substances that could cause disease and illness!

Get ready to combat diseases – mushrooms provide you with so many important vitamins, enzymes, and minerals that can help support your body’s overall health!


6. Cancer Prevention Mushrooms provide us with nutrients like potassium and selenium, which help to combat prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease. Antioxidants may also be effective in helping to treat cancer and AIDs.

In fact, mushrooms have been come to known for some as a natural cancer remember because of their ability to increase those natural killers (NK) cells, which are immune cells that find and kill cancerous cells. This can be accredited to the beta-glucan molecule called lentinan; this molecule basically “wakes up” natural killer cells and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha activity, to lead to tumor cell death.

Impressed yet? One study showed mushrooms as crucial components of many anti-cancer processes, including the induction of reactive oxygen species, the inhibition of mitotic kinase, and apoptosis, which is merely a fancy term that refers to the death of cells as a part of the natural order of the body. Mushrooms are here to prevent cell mutations and protect your precious DNA!


7. Low-Calorie Solution Want to know just how low-calorie mushrooms can be? Let’s take a look at raw white mushrooms! 1 cup of sliced white mushrooms equals a mere 15 calories (8). With calories as low as that, don’t be afraid to toss some delicious chopped mushrooms into your next meal! Mushrooms are additionally low in sugar (that same cup only has about 1.39 grams of sugar total). They also have less than 1 gram of fat! We particularly love the varieties shiitake and maitake (aka hen of the woods).

As a side note, because mushrooms are also very low in carbohydrates, they are great to consider implementing into your low-carb or keto diet!


Delicious Recipes Using Mushrooms!


There are so many different kinds of tasty mushrooms that can be great for your health. Here are 5 amazing recipes that are some of our personal favorites!


Sunflower Shiitake Pho


Lentil and Mushroom Walnut Veggie Balls


Mushroom and Cabbage Miso Stir-Fry



Vegan Summer Risotto

Vegan Summer Risotto


Simple Miso Soup with Salmon, Tofu, and Mushrooms


BONUS RECIPES: Incorporate mushrooms into your desserts, too! Mindful Matcha is a sneaky way to reap the benefits of mushrooms in even the sweetest treats!


Creamy Green Tea Avocado Popsicles


Keto Matcha Superfood Ice Cream


Superfood Chocolate Coconut Butter Cups


Adding a mere ½ cup of mushrooms to your diet daily could be enough to enjoy their benefits. Now isn’t this list reason enough to jump off your computer right now and get some?


Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.





Want to read more?

Health Benefits  of Adaptogenic Herbs and How to Reduce Stress

60 Anti-aging Recipes: Your Ultimate Anti-Aging Diet Guide

How My Mother Survived Stage-4 Breast Cancer from Dr.  Josh Axe’s “Eat Dirt” 


Try our Mindful Matcha with Cordyceps Mushrooms!


  • Recents Posts
Lillian Zhao Administrator
I’m thrilled to welcome you to Further Food.
I started Further Food because I believe in the power of food - to nourish, to prevent disease. But... what happens when we get sick with a chronic illness? Or when someone we love gets diagnosed? How can food and diet changes help the healing process? Help better manage symptoms - naturally?
These were the questions I was struggling with when I started Further Food.
Last year, my father was diagnosed with diabetes II. We were shocked because my mother cooks very healthfully. But my dad sneaks in a lot of processed, unhealthy foods while he was on the road, which is much of the time.  Sound familiar?
Around the same time, one of my best friends was struggling with IBS and another was going through a bad Ulcerative Colitis flare. I wanted to help, but didn't know how. So I turned to the internet to do research. But what I found was scattered, disorganized, and often depressing.  I got sucked into these forums, but couldn't easily find the information I was looking for. And that's when I thought  - there must be a better way to help people discover how to use food to combat various an easy-to-use, beautiful, and fun way!
And that's how Further Food was born. In my research, I have helped my dad change his diet. He is now 15 lbs lighter, has cut back on processed foods, and decreased his total daily carbs. The journey isn't over, but he's doing so much better! #winningdad. I've showed him Tiffany's inspiring story of how she reversed her diabetes and shared her "Phase I" meal plan with him.  My friend has changed her diet to dramatically to reduce her IBS symptoms, and I have recently introduced her to the FODMAP diet - one that I discovered from the contributors on Further Food!  With my urging, my other friend with Ulcerative Colitis, tried going gluten-free and found that his 'pain-level' dramatically reduced within a week of making the dietary changes!
These powerful experiences, along with the stories I hear daily from Further Food's Health Heroes, inspire me to keep going further.  I am so deeply honored to be spear-heading this important work of using crowd-sourced data to find food-based solutions for a variety of health conditions. I believe in the wisdom of your stories, the strength of our community, and in the power of celebrating food as we get healthy together.
Help us spread the word about what we're doing, because we're just getting started!
Bio: I have dedicated my career to building and funding mission driven companies, specifically in the health and wellness space. Further Food is the culmination of my experiences, and reflects my belief that companies should do well and do good. I am also a certified yoga teacher, and love to surf, run, tango, travel and cook. My BA is from Brown University and my MPP from Harvard University. 

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