Eat Empowered, Healthy Eating Tips

What You Should Know About the Incredible Health Benefits of Mushrooms

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Are mushrooms having a moment? Tero Isokauppila says yes, and even if he’s not entirely right, he’s definitely on a mission to make it happen.

As the founder of Four Sigmatic, Isokauppila has dedicated his career to promoting the health benefits of mushrooms via powdered mushroom packets and beverage mixes. Now, he’s taking that one step further with a new book, Healing Mushrooms: A Practical and Culinary Guide to Using Mushrooms for Whole Body Health, which is filled with mushroom history, facts, and recipes.

While Americans are finally learning to eat their veggies, he argues, they’ve been ignoring an entire kingdom that consists of about 1.5 million types of fungi. Other cultures have been using medicinal mushrooms for eons; Americans rarely get past grilling the occasional Portobello.

“Believe me, I have nothing against kale, but mushrooms are different from plants in a number of ways,” Isokauppila says, “as far as which nutrients they provide and as far as their functional and adaptogenic benefits.”

RELATED: What Are Adaptogens, and Are They Legit?

Ready for a little taste of what he’s talking about? Here are a few things he thinks you should know about the health benefits of mushrooms.

The Potential Health Benefits of Mushrooms

“Lack of sleep is a major problem in this country. I constantly read stories about how we need more sleep and better sleep,” he says. “Reishi is an excellent option for helping people relax and calm down before bed. Other compelling research-backed benefits are that mushrooms have been found to assist with strengthening the immune system, helping to heal the gut…and much more.”

RELATED: How to Strengthen Your Immune System Every Time You Eat

Where to Start

“My current favorite mushroom is Lion’s Mane, but that said, I always tell people to start with reishi or chaga,” Isokauppila advises. “The reason I suggest these is that unlike lion’s mane, which is more of a long-game mushroom, you can really see reishi and chaga working for you quickly. The other great one is cordyceps. If you are looking for energy without feeling jittery, it’s a great option. You can learn more about all of these mushrooms in my book.” (By the way, it’s unlikely you’ll find these particular varieties of mushrooms fresh at the local grocery store. Isokauppila is talking mainly about adding them to your diet in dried, powder form.)

What to Do With Them

“Mushrooms are versatile in every way, meaning from the way they taste to the way they can be prepared and cooked,” he says. “Our most popular recipe so far is the Mushroom Bacon, but the easiest recipe would have to be the Reishi Chocolate Almonds. All you need is dark chocolate, honey, cinnamon, almonds and our reishi mushroom extract.”

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