I spoke with Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, cofounder of Ancient Nutrition and founder of DrAxe.com, to better understand the health benefits of mushrooms. Dr. Axe is the author of the best-selling books Keto Diet and The Collagen Diet and his upcoming book Ancient Remedies, and host of the podcast, The Dr. Axe Show.
Rona Berg: Mushrooms—in teas, powders, elixirs and supple- ments—have become so popular. What are the benefits of mush- rooms in general?
Josh Axe: Mushrooms are loaded with beneficial compounds, such as polysaccharides, beta-glucans and glycoproteins. These compounds promote healthy immune system function, help to reduce inflammation and have antioxidant activity. They also support the body’s ability to adapt to stress and rebound appropriately, and mushrooms support healthy energy levels, so can be useful for people dealing with fatigue.
RB: How do you know which to take?
JA: Each type of mushrooms has a unique nutrition profile that contributes to its potential benefits:
Cordyceps is best known for supporting healthy energy and stamina. It’s revered as a vitality mushroom and has been used holistically for centuries to support healthy energy and stamina.
Reishi is known for its ability to help the body to naturally adapt to stress. It also supports immune system balance.
Lion’s Mane features antioxidants that help to support healthy cognitive function and energy levels. When combined with the adaptogenic herb ashwagandha, the two ingredients promote mental clarity, concentration and a positive mindset, while reducing fatigue.
Turkey Tail mushroom has been used in traditional herbalism to promote longevity and health. It’s known to support immune defense and immune system balance.
Each one of these mushroom varieties has its own impressive benefits and can be valuable to people looking for a more triggered approach. For people looking to support healthy energy and mental clarity, cordyceps and lion’s mane are great choices. Reishi is ideal for anyone looking to help his/her body rebound from stress, and turkey tail is useful for supporting immune system defense and balance. A supple- ment blend is an excellent way to reap the benefits of the most popular mushrooms for a multifaceted approach to wellness.
RB: How beneficial is it to just eat a lot of mushrooms? Should that be a dietary focus? Best way to incorporate mushrooms into the diet?
JA: It’s becoming easier and easier to add mushrooms to your diet, with beverage powders incorporating the superfood so that it can be added to smoothies, coffees and more. And there’s no doubt that eating mushrooms also provides a range of important nutrients, including B vitamins, selenium and phosphorus, plus antioxidants, fiber and protein. Mushrooms are filling and nutrient-dense, so they make a great addition to many meals, like soups, stir fries, casseroles and sauces. They can be sautéed, grilled and oven roasted.