Mushrooms Have Amazing Powers to Heal People and the Planet

Mushrooms are a superfood, and one of the most health-promoting foods on the planet. An estimated 50% of edible mushrooms are considered functional foods, meaning that they have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition.

Countless scientific studies have revealed a variety of ways mushrooms can be useful in preventing and treating serious health conditions  — and in improving overall health.

In fact, research has identified more than 200 conditions that may benefit from mushroom consumption and more than 100 different beneficial effects they can produce for the body.

The nutritional value of mushrooms

Mushrooms are packed with nutritional value. They’re low in calories, are great sources of fiber and protein (good for plant-based diets).

They also provide many important nutrients, including B vitamins, selenium, potassium, copper, and (particularly when exposed to the sun) vitamin D. And even though they’re commonly white, they’re packed with as many antioxidants as more colorful fruits and vegetables.

A clinical study conducted at the University of Florida’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition found that eating shiitake mushrooms daily improves immunity — in a way that is not found in any currently available Rx drugs. And common white button mushrooms, as well as other mushroom types, may also have anti-inflammatory power.

Eating mushrooms may also help to prevent respiratory infections, according to a 2012 study published in Nutrition.

Plus, mushrooms may be able to alter gut bacteria for the better, which could also help treat obesity, according to 2015 study published in the journal Nature.


Boosting longevity with mushrooms

Antioxidants may help you live a longer, healthier life. A diet rich in antioxidants protects cells from free radicals, helping the body cope with the normal oxidative stress that damages healthy cells.

While almost any edible mushroom will give you a boost in nutrients, the following seven mushrooms top the list for having the most antioxidants and may help you live longer:

  • Porcini
  • Golden Oyster
  • Pioppino
  • Oyster
  • Lion’s Mane
  • Maitake
  • Shiitake

Improving digestion with mushrooms

Mushrooms are a gut-friendly food.

They are prebiotic, which means they nourish the good bacteria in your gut. They’ve also been found to balance the microbiome’s beneficial bacteria, such as Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium.