I was watching an interview with Tim Ferris about his new book – “Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World” – which by the way I’ve started reading this week (about 20% through the book) and is absolutely awesome! Highly recommend you go pick up a copy. It’s basically a compilation of a few hard hitting questions to an eclectic group of “successful” people in various areas of expertise … an easy read. You could read a couple of interviews a day. It’s a book you can pick up for a few minutes and put down and still having learned something.
Anyway, what does this have to do with the health benefits of mushrooms? Well one of the interviews is with someone I had never heard of … Samin Nosrat. She is a chef and wrote a New York Times bestseller called Salt Fat Acid Heat. I haven’t read it, but it’s on my “to read” list. Anyway, one of the questions was what the best recent purchase was under a $100. She replied it was an immunity boosting supplement. Now, I tried quite a few vitamins, pills and supplements and found that none of them worked. She recommended Paul Stamets’s Host Defense MyCommunity mushroom complex, which is apparently an incredible immunity supplement. I haven’t tried it yet, and will be posting here with my review of the Host Defense MyCommunity mushroom complex once I’ve had a chance to test Samin’s claim that this is the best immunity supplement on the market right now. But it did make me wonder why mushrooms?
… And how can something that is part of a fungus be good for you!? Well let’s take a look at the science behind it before I purchase a box of these supplements.
Do Mushrooms Really Boost Health?
There are literally thousands of mushroom species globally, but only a handful (well around 20) are used in cooking. I know Shiitake mushrooms are supposed to be very good for us, but why? And is this the best one to be eating, or is there a super mushroom we should all be eating this winter to protect ourselves for the cold weather?
There’s lots of claims Shitake mushrooms are great for you, but the science actually backs this up. In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. It was shown that eating shiitake mushroom daily could boost the immune system, and reduce inflammation in our bodies.
Another mushroom which gets a lot of press is Maitakes. This Japanese mushroom has been recognized by the American Cancer Society. This is another mushroom that could be ingested as part of say a mushroom risotto. Another Japanese mushroom called Reishi, has again been shown to boost your body. However this is usually found in supplement form.
Apart from the health benefits discussed here, mushrooms like Lion’s Mane have been shown to boost brain function.
Should You Start Eating Them Or Popping Pills?
So does taking mushroom (either fresh or supplements) make you a super-human? I don’t think anything does. But the research does seem to suggest they can give you an edge when it comes to brain power, and boost your immunity. That’s enough to convince me to at least start eating some of the mushrooms mentioned in this post. I will also be looking at the best supplements to test out, which I of course will list here.