The magical world of mushrooms. Are they plant or an animal? They are the most unique species on earth, with over 5,000,000 different species of mushroom making them the largest species on earth. Whether it is shitake, oyster which you would find in your local Sainsburys or Reishi and Lions Mane which you would find at superfood store or psilocybin mushroom you would find in a forest. The diversity of these magical beings is profound and has fascinated me all year. I'm religious too my shrooms. I take Lion's Mane mushroom for brain health, Chaga mushroom for immune system support and Cordyceps mushroom for muscle growth and oxygenation. Let me tell you why...
This series in my blog is all about me sharing with you the greatest things I have learnt whilst recovering from my stroke and brain injury. I explored a lot over the last year when it came to superfood supplements and nutrition. I suffered extreme levels of fatigue in my mind, body and brain when I first left the hospital. Some days, I couldn't leave the bed as I felt so much pain in my head and nerves around my neck. This was tough. I remember I would lay there, with near tears in my tears telling myself these days would soon pass. They did, as you may know. I realised I needed to learn about how I could optimise my diet and body and kick-start my immune system. I went on to train for an Ironman, so I certainly put myself to the test. As I was interested in human health I knew I want to explore more around nutrition. This allowed me to explore the world of high-potent, superfoods as they say.
Mushrooms became very prevalent as something to explore as there was so much research around them and this fascinated my enquiry. I was curious, could mushrooms support the process of regenerating the nerves in my brain, help me improve the blood flow to my muscles and build up my weakened immune system.
The answer is YES.
The science has backed this up and my own experience has backed this up even further. Let's dive deeper into this world of Mushrooms and what exactly makes mycelium so unique.
The use of Mushrooms dates back thousands of years. They are one of the most ancient healing medicines that we used to use as human beings.
Mushrooms are nutritional powerhouses with a load of health benefits including the following:
I did a lot of research and found my 4 favourite mushrooms, which I have now been using on a near-daily basis to help my body and mind become stronger;
Lion’s Mane: The Mushroom for the Mind
Reishi: The Mushroom of Immortality
Cordyceps: The Muscular Mushroom
Chaga: The Immune Mushroom
However, above all the health benefits that are supercharged in mushrooms, the actual species of mushrooms are so fascinating. They are all made up of Mycelium, but what exactly is mycelium? Mycelium is the root system of the mushroom. Mushrooms can communicate with each other and they are as much a living organism as we are in a very abstract Alice in Wonderland kinda way. They are more living than plants because of the way they communicate and grow, which makes them so unique in their design. However, there is so much out there about mushrooms and I a highly recommend watching Fantastic Fungi to help you get a deeper understanding of their incredible-ness.
Okay, now you have a better understanding of what superfood mushrooms are and how they can impact you, let me get geeky and tell you a bit about the science:
The key active compounds found in mushrooms that research has linked to health benefits are beta-D-glucans, triterpenoids and ergosterol.
Beta-D-glucans have been identified as primary sources of medicinal activity; they are a naturally occurring structural component of the cell walls of mushrooms that can activate or potentiate both innate and adaptive immunity. Triterpenoids play a complementary role with beta-glucans in immune system activation; primary activities include liver protection, antioxidant activity, reduced histamine response and reduced inflammation. Furthermore, a sterol called ergosterol is present in all fungi which have recently been discovered to also have immunomodulating and antioxidant properties. Ergosterol in fungi is similar to cholesterol in humans.
So, next time you are looking for something to experiment with. I highly recommend you explore the fascinating world of medicinal mushrooms. They are incredible, and I honestly swear by their daily use. My recovery journey has been so complex and it is still going and I am learning more and more every day. I look forward to sharing more insight and learning with you in the coming weeks. As always, if you found this useful or have any further questions then let me know.
Till next time, Leyth
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates
Disclaimer: I am not medically certified, I am just obsessively intrigued in human optimisation. I advise doing all your own research and finding what is best for you and your body. The information in this article is intended for educational purposes and not intended to replace medical advice.