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Mushrooms are Nature’s Superfood for your immune health and so much more

Wow! What a great time to talk about mushrooms! Now that we are all back in our routine of school, teaching, and “NO VACATIONS” and are attending public events, it is time to think about helping our immune systems while maintaining our nerves, stress, and brain health. We are all worried about the Covid variants and if it could severely affect us or someone close to us. We do not know what can happen, but what we can do is prepare our body’s immune system to fight off any kind of attack, and at the same time, help our cognition and memory.

One easy way to take care of our immune and mental health is by supplementing mushrooms in our diet. So what are mushrooms? Are they just fungi? What makes them so nutritionally condensed? Did you know that a certain variety of mushrooms fights both viral and bacterial infections? (Antibiotics can only fight bacterial infections.) Also, did you know the mycelium of the mushrooms breathe in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide just like we do? Mushrooms begin developing from the mycelium; they are the fruit that results from the mycelium, much like an apple on an apple tree.

Mushrooms are the fruiting body of Mycelium, a complex network made of fine white filaments. The mycelium network is nature’s recycling system of the natural deposits of decaying plants, animals, food, and even plastic and petroleum. Yes, I did say plastic and petroleum – according to Paul Stamets, an American Mycologist, who shared information about a study on the best way to clean up oil spills. In the study, there were four piles of oil spills: one was a control pile; one was treated with bacteria; another was treated with enzymes, and the fourth pile was treated with mushroom mycelium. All sources were covered with tarps. After removing the tarps weeks later, researchers found that the three not treated with mycelium ended with a black stinky residue on the ground – and the one treated with mycelium resulted in a future residence for mushrooms which attracted insects, larvae, then birds who transported seeds, leading to the beginning of a new ecosystem.

Mushrooms are nature’s superfood, packed with B vitamins, prebiotic fiber, L- Ergothioneine (which is a powerful antioxidant), and beta glucans – more powerful than those in yeast or oats and considered to be the most effective immune enhancer known to science.

There are tons of varieties of mushrooms with varying medicinal properties and scientifically proven to enhance our nervous system, memory, immune health, and longevity. For example, studies show that Lion’s Mane improves the condition of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Other commonly known varieties include Reishi, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, Shiitake, Maitake, Turkey Tail, and Chaga – each one offering life enhancements such as immune wellness, energy /vitality, improved endurance (especially in seniors with COPD), longevity, calm and relaxation. Additional benefits include balancing an overactive immune system, such as in the case of autoimmune disorders (avoid Reishi if you are taking immune modulator prescriptions.)

More specifically – Lion’s Mane enhances the functions of our nervous system and brain. It helps us to cope with anxiety, depression, and focus. It helps with memory and cognition. It also increases the release of the nerve growth factor, a protein that can increase the length of nerve cell processes. Turkey Tail has been the most researched mushroom and was used in cancer research for both humans and animals, showing positive results. Maitake is considered a culinary mushroom. It supports blood sugar and balances insulin levels. Chaga is the king of mushrooms, as it is rich in antioxidants and promotes healthy aging. Shiitake mushrooms can help to fight cancer, specifically breast cancer. It reduces cholesterol levels in the blood, reduces inflammation, and high doses of Shiitake can lower total fat deposition.

While we have always carried mushroom supplements at Freshlife, we are excited to share that we have expanded our selection with a new line of products from OM. OM makes it easy to enjoy the benefits of mushrooms, even when we do not choose to eat them, allowing us to increase our nutritional resources. We can add their powders to smoothies, coffee, tea, or water. There are also two coffee options, Matcha Tea, and even a hot chocolate choice! In addition to powders, OM products are also available in pill form. With single mushrooms and combination formulas, OM offers remedies for sleep, beauty, stress, energy, immunity, fitness, restoration, breathing, brain fuel, and Zen. Some blends contain additional adaptogens to help with overall balance. OM also has vegan and non-vegan broths containing 7 to 10 grams of protein, which can be used alone or added to recipes. As always, we are here to guide you toward your personal health and wellness. So please come in, ask a Wellness Coach for assistance, and enjoy trying our selection at hand. We know you won’t be disappointed!

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