I’m sure most of us love the earthy flavour of mushrooms added to a savoury dish. However, are you aware just how beneficial mushrooms can be for our health? Mushrooms have been found to contain some amazing therapeutic benefits and have been used for centuries in Chinese medicine. There’s estimated to be around 140,000 species of mushroom-forming fungi found in the world, although there’s only about 100 species being studied for their possible health benefits. Reishi Mushroom is one of the better known mushrooms. It is often included in Traditional Chinese Medicine formulas, particularly immune formulas as it has been found to be helpful in boosting white blood cells, and in turn boosting the immune system. This means it can be helpful in fighting viruses and other infections. Just as importantly, Reishi Mushroom is known as an immune modulator, which means it can not only boost the immune system, when necessary it can also reduce an overactive immune system. This means it may be helpful in treating autoimmune diseases, allergies and asthma. It is also thought to be helpful in reducing fatigue and is also being acclaimed for its potential for cancer prevention and treatment. Shiitake Mushroom is another well known mushroom once again believed to contain antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties as well as immune boosting properties. This mushroom contains a variety of chemical compounds. These compounds are considered to prevent our DNA from undergoing oxidative damage which is obviously extremely beneficial for our health. One of these chemical compounds known as Lentinan may help heal damage created by anticancer treatment. There is also some belief Shiitake Mushroom may help fight cancer cells. Snow Fungus also known as White Fungus is known in Chinese medicine as the ‘longevity tonic” because it is considered to help nourish our body. Once again it is believed to support our immune system by maintaining white blood cell counts. In Japan it is also consumed to maintain healthy blood vessel walls, lower cholesterol and support the cardiovascular system. Cordyceps also known as Caterpillar Fungus is also acknowledged as a powerful immune booster. It has been found to be beneficial for treatment of bronchitis, asthma, coughs and even emphysema. By boosting our cells’ ability to utilise oxygen. Cordyceps is known to protect the lungs, improving respiratory function and thereby making it easier to breathe. Because of this ability to utilise oxygen, Cordyceps has been reported to enable the enhancement of athletic performance particularly by Chinese athletes. Cordyceps can also increase cellular ATP levels. This is the molecule which releases energy into the cell. It’s logical therefore, if we have the dual benefit of utilising oxygen more effectively at the same time as increasing the ATP levels, energy and stamina is going to increase. Turkey Tail Mushroom named because it looks like a plume of turkey feathers, is also known for its immune boosting benefits. Once again it is an adaptogen herb which means it is also an immune modulator. As with the previous mushrooms, Turkey Tail is being researched for the health benefits relating to prevention and treatment of cancer. Obviously, these mushrooms aren’t readily available in our supermarkets and of course to gain the best results we would need to eat a substantial number of mushrooms. They are available however as a combination in a capsule which is promoted to specifically relieve symptoms of colds and mild upper respiratory tract infections as well as strengthen the lungs for relief of coughs. Reishi and Cordyceps mushrooms are available in a powder. We now stock at Go Vita a range of mushroom coffee, latte and hot chocolate. The mushroom coffee contains certified organic coffee together with cordyceps and chaga mushroom extract. The tasty hot chocolate contains organic cacao, reishi mushroom, cinnamon and cardamom whilst the latte contains organic lion’s mane mushroom extract, maca, vanilla powder and carob power. Our Nourish on North café has also come on board by making available reishi mushroom powder in your coffee, hot chocolate or smoothie if requested.
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