There has been a lot written and talked about when it comes to mushrooms—some good, some bad, some wild. They have served as a backdrop to countless fairy tales and supernatural accounts; been the harbingers of death when poisoned varieties are maliciously offered up as food or eaten by mistake; opened up a gateway to psychedelic adventures when certain types are consumed; and become the focal point of forest “gold miners” and high stakes financial shenanigans when rare edible shrooms like Yartsa Gunbu, white truffles, matsutake and even morels are involved. Maybe this shouldn’t be surprising when considering there are at least 10,000 different types of mushrooms popping up worldwide, including almost 40 edible varieties. The munchable kind are treasured not only for the taste but also their nutritional value, which not surprisingly can differ widely from one type to another. It also shouldn’t be a shock that WellWell is ready to break down the differences between seven of the top shrooms.
As its name implies, Lion’s Mane mushrooms are strong when it comes to nutrients and compounds. These include beta-glucans, which can deliver many benefits but take primary pride in immune system modulation. Other compounds like hericenones and erinacines may help with neuroprotection by stimulating the production of the nerve growth factor. Some limited trials have even shown promise that they can help the elderly battle depression, anxiety and cognitive decline.
These shrooms are often referred to as Birch mushrooms and Chaga Conk because they often grow on birch trees. More importantly, some of their inherent compounds may help as antioxidant polyphenols, which are associated with anti-cancer effects.
Reishi are loaded with the active compound triterpene, which helps reduce stress, improve sleep, boost mood and improve mental focus. The triterpene found in Reishi may also enhance immune system response by generating more white blood cells’ activity that can help ward off infections.
Cordyceps are a natural energy-boosting mushroom thanks to their ability to support ATP production. ATP is the compound that gives cells energy. Little wonder Cordyceps shrooms are used to aid physical performance. They also help with lung-related issues such as asthma and seasonal allergies.
Oysters are stuffed with good things. This includes being rich in protein (30 percent by dry weight), stuffed with B vitamins and filled with high levels of the cholesterol-lowering molecule lovastatin.
Lots of people know about this popular edible mushroom because of its texture and rich flavor. But it has also long been a medicinal fungus. Shiitake mushrooms contain immunoprotective properties, while also supporting healthy blood sugar levels and inhibiting the development of tumors in the body.
Researchers have been looking into the benefits of Turkey Tail mushrooms for some time, in part because they are rich in beneficial polysaccharides, beta glucan and other nutrients. Polysaccharides, for example, boost immune systems, while beta-glucan can be thought of as a dietary fiber that also promotes heart health, among other things.
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