How to Add Medicinal Mushrooms into Your Diet

Mushrooms may be one of the most powerful foods in your pantry. No, not your standard button mushrooms. We’re talking about medicinal mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms are renown for fighting inflammation, balancing blood sugar and hormones, boosting the immune system and even preventing cancer. If you’re not familiar with medicinal mushrooms, here are a few of the most popular varieties:

Reishi – Also known as Ganoderma lucidum, this incredible mushroom has been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth (in breast cancer) due to an increase in natural killer cell activity. It also enhances immune function by increasing the amount of active immune cells, acts as an adaptogen, improves hormones regulation and supports the liver, among other things.

Chaga – Another mainstream medicinal mushroom, chaga has proven itself to be a powerful food for cancer treatment and prevention, according to some studies. Additionally, it functions as a high source of antioxidants and a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.

Lion’s mane – Many studies have covered the neuroregenerative properties of this mushroom. It has exhibited exciting potential  in stimulating nerve regeneration. This means it may hugely influence and improve cognitive function, including memory and concentration. Additionally, lion’s mane is known to improve mood, anxiety and depression.

Maitake. This is a popular mushroom for women dealing with the symptoms of PCOS. It has been shown to help induce ovulation in women with PCOS. It also assists with diabetes, healthy body weight and cancer prevention.

Not only are these mushrooms supremely powerful when it comes to health, but they are also excellent sources of B vitamins, zinc, manganese, vitamin D, copper and antioxidants. Other medicinal mushrooms include cordycepts, turkey tail, chestnut, oyster, enokitake, zhu ling, and shiitake, among others.

The real issue with medicinal mushrooms comes in when you try to figure out how to add them into your diet. They are mushrooms, so they have a strong earthiness (and sometimes a slight bitterness), so the best bet is to pair them with other strong, yet complimentary flavors, like chocolate or black tea. Here are a few suggestions if you’re just jumping on the medicinal mushroom train:

Hot chocolate. Four Sigmatic makes a few blends of hot cacao mixes utilizing reishi or cordyceps. Cultures traditionally used reishi in teas or soups, so hot chocolate is a tasty modern take on a healing tradition. These packs also utilize a small amount of coconut palm sugar and stevia, making them a low sugar superfood treat. Naturally, you could replicate this hot chocolate at home if you’re willing to seek out all the ingredients.

Brownie bites. Brownies are the perfect place to sneak some mushroom powder into your diet. Simply add your favorite mushroom powder, raw cacao powder, a touch of salt, dates, a spoonful of coconut oil and cashews to a food processor and blend away until a smooth ball forms. Then, roll into bite-sized balls and toss in cacao and keep in the fridge. U-mami, that’s tasty!

Chaga coffee. Nothing more than a combination of arabica coffee beans and chaga extract, chaga coffee is becoming a more and more popular morning beverage. Again, Four Sigmatic makes an excellent product, but the door is open to experimenting for yourself. To enhance nutrient absorption, try mixing in a little grass-fed butter or ghee.

Mushroom blend tea. You can steep mushrooms and black tea in water to create a nourishing yet bold mushroom tea. Mushroom teas are a long standing tradition in Eastern cultures. Yes, they taste as healthy as they sound. Don’t expect a Starbucks caramel macchiato here. To enhance absorption and flavor, add a little ghee or coconut milk to your blend to make a tea latte or a Western take on Tibetan yak butter tea.

Take things one step further and try the ultimate tonic, a creamy health drink as proposed by McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN. It contains the power of cinnamon, turmeric, medicinal mushrooms, chia, flax, coconut and cacao all in one drink! That’s a real power-ade. 

Be sure to be cautious with medicinal mushrooms. They are quite powerful and may interact with medications if you are not careful. Be sure to start slowly and look out for any allergic reactions. Talk to your doctor, naturopath or trusted medical professional to learn more about how to add medicinal mushrooms to your lifestyle. Otherwise, mushrooms are an excellent addition to most health regimens. Share your favorite ways to consume medicinal mushrooms below!

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197 comments

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen1 months ago

Thank you

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Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen1 months ago

Thank you

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Jan S
Jan S1 months ago

thank you

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Carl R
Carl R1 months ago

Thanks!!!

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Christine J
Christine J6 months ago

Where would you buy these? Sounds intriguing.

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Jim V
Jim Ven10 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Jane R
Jane R11 months ago

I love mushrooms in spaghetti sauce or on top of a steak or chicken, but I never heard of any of these and wouldn't know where to buy them.

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Kristi M
Kristi M11 months ago

Ty!

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Richard A
Richard A11 months ago

Thank you for the mushroom tips.

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Sandra Vito
Sandra V11 months ago

Thanks

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