3 Mushrooms To Support Your Immune System
These days we probably don't need to explain why supporting the immune system is important...butwe do maybe need to elaborate on just how some mushrooms are capable of completing that immuno-mission though!
As we explore today, mushrooms can benefit & boost our immune system in several ways. In some cases, mushroom can directly increase our natural immune fighting cells. This includes cytokines, as well as specific types of white blood cells like lymphocytes & natural killer cells.
A healthy immune system is the result of other factors such as such as lifestyle, stress, & sleep. Thus, mushrooms indirectly benefit the immune system by assisting with some of these tangential immune factors, with some...
- Boosting adaptogenic benefits to help your body 'adapt' to new stresses & new environments
- Increasing restorative sleep
- & Reducing stress (some of our more audacious fans call Reishi 'Nature's Xanax'😆😮)
With fall right around the corner, incoming are shorter days, chillier weather, and the dreaded cold and flu season. Soon you may need to stock up on your favorite cold remedies such as chicken soup, cough drops, and herbal tea. Although there’s another powerful remedy you should consider adding to your list – superfood mushrooms.
Although, not all fungi are created equal and some are better equipped to defend your immunity. Below we’ve listed our 3 favorite medicinal mushrooms for staying healthy year-round (full disclosure...it may or may not extend to an additional 4) After you read this, you’ll see why mushrooms are one of the best foods that strengthen your immune system.
When you just need to chill out, turn to Reishi. Reishi has earned its reputation as nature's Xanax. But it may be one of the best foods that strengthen your immune system as well.
Reishi is chock-full of a unique compound called triterpenes. Not only does this compound have calming properties that can help you fight stress, but it’s also anti-inflammatory. In studies, the triterpene in reishi has been shown to speed up the healing time of wounds. (6,7)
Reishi’s calming effects may be able to promote the health of your mind as well. In animal studies, reishi’s triterpenes have been shown to reduce... (8,9)
Other compelling studies have shown that reishi may be able to increase the activity of specific types of white blood cells called natural killer cells and lymphocytes. Both types of white blood cells have been shown to ward off infections and cancer in the body. (10,11,12)
Mālama Mushroom’s makes it easy to unwind and strengthen your immunity with reishi. Try taking a few droppers of our Hawaii-grown, dual-extract Reishi tincture or one to two teaspoons of organic Reishi Extract Powder or cacao mix, always made with 100% fruiting-body mushrooms so you’re always getting the most medicinal benefits from your fungi.
Chaga is a funky-looking mushroom that’s often found growing on the side of birch trees. It doesn’t look like your typical mushroom, but don’t let its strange appearance fool you. Chaga is one of the best foods that help boost immune system function.
When your immune system needs reinforcement, turn to Chaga. This mighty mushroom is an antioxidant powerhouse that’s excellent for fighting free radicals that cause inflammation. Studies suggest that Chaga can also preserve your immunity by fighting off harmful bacteria and viruses. (6, 13)
Chaga encourages the formation of specialized proteins that regulate the immune system called cytokines. Promoting cytokines activates white blood cells which are crucial for fighting harmful bacteria, viruses, and preventing illness. (14,15)
Turkey tail is one of the best foods that boost immunity. It earned its name from its reddish-brown rings that fan out kind of like a turkey’s tail. It’s been used around the world for centuries for immune-strengthening benefits.
Like other mushrooms, turkey tail is high in polysaccharides and has been used in traditional medicine to treat cancer, AIDS, and fungal infections. (22) Modern research in animal breast cancer studies suggests that turkey tail has anti-tumor effects that may prevent the spread of cancerous growths. (23)
Turkey tail stands out from other mushrooms because it contains a unique compound called polysaccharide-K (PSK). This compound can be very effective at protecting the immune system.
PSK is so effective that it’s already been approved as an anti-cancer treatment in Japan. (24) When used in combination with modern cancer treatments, turkey tail has shown to… (25,26,27)
- Boost immunity in people receiving chemotherapy
- Fight leukemia cells
- Increase the survival rate of people with certain cancers
Nourish your body with the immune-boosting effects of turkey tail. You can find it in Malama’s 8 Mushroom Superfood Powder Mix along with every other immune-protecting mushroom listed in this article.
Okay, I know we said "3 Mushrooms" but we we're on a roll and turns out there are many many more that are beneficial for supporting the immune system. Thus, feel free to bow out if you're satisfied with your new learnings orrrrr continue on if you want to learn about 4 more mushrooms to keep your immune defenses at an all time high!
Fun fact! Maitake means “Dancing Mushroom” in Japanese. Some say it earned its name from its clusters that resemble a group of dancers. But we think it’s because people dance for joy when they find this tasty and medicinal mushroom.
It’s easy to understand why one might get excited about maitake. After all, it’s one of the best foods that strengthen your immune system. Maitake is an adaptogen – a substance that helps you fight mental and physical stress. Adaptogens also help your return to a balanced state of homeostasis. (19)
Maitake mushrooms contain a high amount of polysaccharides which makes them anti-inflammatory. In animal studies, the polysaccharides in maitake have activated anti-viral activity against HIV and hepatitis B. (20)
They also contain a compound called proteoglucan which is credited with maitake’s immune-boosting effects. In animal studies, proteoglucan has been shown to slow the growth of mammary tumor cells. (21)
Reaping the anti-inflammatory effects of maitake and all the other mushrooms listed is simple. Just add one or two teaspoons of Malama’s 8 Mushroom Superfood Powder Mix to your coffee, tea, or smoothie, and enjoy!
Delicious shiitake mushrooms have long been used in traditional Asain dishes and medicine. In traditional Chinese medicine, they’re believed to improve your circulation, longevity, and overall health. Recent research suggests there’s some validity to this.
Shittake mushrooms are high in polysaccharides, which can reduce inflammation and the diseases it causes. In one study, participants ate two dried shiitake daily for 30 days. At the end of the study, their inflammation levels dropped and their immune markers significantly improved. (6, 16, 17)
As we age, our immune systems naturally start to weaken, making us more susceptible to colds and illness. Studies suggest that reishi may be able to help keep our immune systems younger, longer. In a mouse study, shiitake helped reverse some of the age-related decline in immune function. (18)
Want a delicious way to get more immune-boosting shiitakes in your diet? This is one of the medicinals that is also widely available at most grocery stores & tastes delicious when sautéed. However, if you're looking for a Mālama version, you can find it in our 8 Mushroom Superfood Powder Mix or Superfood Mushroom Chocolate. It contains all the mushrooms listed here today, and let’s face it, we could all use an excuse to eat more chocolate.
Cordyceps are fantastic for when you need an energy boost. It’s no wonder they’re considered nature’s pre-workout.
This fungus can promote blood flow and help your body utilize oxygen more efficiently. This is beneficial for athletes or anyone who regularly exercises. Not only does this lead to improved performance, but it can also help you recover faster. (28, 29,30)
Cordyceps may be able to give your immune system some extra stamina as well. A two month study in healthy individuals found that supplementing with cordyceps daily increased the activity of natural killer immune cells (NK-cells). This also led to enhanced immune regulation. (31)
If you want to give your immunity some extra pep in its step, try supplementing with an organic mushroom powder like Malama’s Cordyceps Mushroom Extract Powder. It’s only made from the fruiting cordyceps, never myceliated grain filler.
Be honest, how many times have you misplaced your phone or keys this week? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Brain fog affects all of us every now and again. Fortunately, lion’s mane can help keep your mind clear so you can be alert and focused.
Like other medicinal mushrooms, lion’s mane is packed with antioxidants that can help strengthen your immune system. But this shaggy mushroom also has unique properties that can keep your brain healthy and strong too.
Lion’s mane has the rare ability to promote the production of the bioprotein nerve growth factor (NGF) and the insulation around nerve fibers called myelin. NFG and myelin both play a critical role in the health of your brain. An imbalance of them can lead to some serious neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. (1,2)
Studies have shown that lion’s mane can help… (3,4,5)
- Boost cognitive function
- Improve memory
- Enhance concentration
- Alleviate anxiety
That makes this mighty mushroom some serious brain food!
Clear away those mental cobwebs with Malama Mushroom’s Lion’s Mane Mushroom Extract Powder. Your immune system and your brain will thank you!
Stay Healthy This Cold Season With Immune-Boosting Fungi
When looking for foods that strengthen your immune system, turn to fungi. They’re packed full of polysaccharides, antioxidants, and other compounds that can help keep your immune system in tip-top shape. Plus, some have some impressive properties that can help fend off other serious diseases too.
Mālama Mushrooms makes it easy to protect your immune system this cold season and year round. Nourish your body with all the immune-boosting mushrooms mentioned here today with their organic 8 Mushroom Superfood Powder Mix. Mālama only makes their mushroom powders for 100% fruiting body mushrooms, never myceliated grain-filler. So rest assured, you’re always getting the most medicinal benefits from your mushroom powder. Mahalo!