From National Geographic reporting on using mushroom enzymes for super-effective, environmentally-safe detergent to Whole Foods’ prediction that mushrooms will be one of the year’s trendiest items, mushrooms are inarguably stealing the current spotlight.
And is it any wonder? Linked to increased immunity and assistance with weight management, mushrooms deserve every inch of their moniker as a superfood. Here are five savvy ways to start reaping their potential benefits.
1. Grill Portobello mushrooms in lieu of hamburgers
Few things shout summer like the smell of hamburgers on the barbie. But replacing that patty with a Portobello may help you thrive all season. Why? Portobello mushrooms are a terrific source of selenium—a vital but easy-to-miss nutrient that naturally supports heart health and optimal thyroid function. What’s more, Portobello mushrooms supply a third of your daily need of copper—another essential nutrient, which organically encourages healthy bones, nerve health, and increased iron absorption.
For a luscious grilled Portobello mushroom burger, clean caps and remove stems, marinate the mushrooms in garlic, balsamic vinegar,and olive oil, and grill for roughly 10 minutes. Serve on a slice of focaccia with arugula, sundried tomatoes, red onion and a dab of goat cheese. Bonus points: The International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found that grilling mushrooms is one of the top methods for maintaining their nutritional value.
2. Weave some mushrooms into your skin care
A decade ago and the idea of using skincare products like caviar and charcoal seemed strange, if not a wee bit suspicious. But with leading brands touting ingredients that range from bee venom to Greek yogurt, it seemed only a matter of time before others would discover mushrooms’ potential boons for the brain, body and skin.
Used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 7,000 years, mushrooms have long been equated with immortality. And with The Independent reporting on benefits that include the power to “reduce visible redness, calm sensitivity and irritation” and leaving skin “looking fresh and feeling strong and hydrated,” is it any wonder? While a number of new products feature mushrooms, look for those that specifically include shitake, snow or songyi—all boast the potential to encourage elasticity, more even skin tone and smoothness.
3. Brew a cup of reishi tea
In traditional Chinese medicine, reishi mushrooms are listed as a “superior tonic” by Shen Nung Ben Cao Jing. Highly regarded—and used by Chinese and Taoist royalty—reishi mushrooms were believed to bolster overall well-being and prevent the signs of aging. Modern research has centered on reishi’s pharmaceutical and nutritional benefits, with the National Institutes of Health affirming its potential to naturally support liver health—and detailing its notable inclusion of minerals (including phosphorous, silica, sulfur, potassium, calcium, and magnesium).
Available as a powder and a supplement, reishi mushrooms can also be experimented with—and enjoyed—in a cup of reishi tea. Smoothies more your thing? Try a scoop of Red Reishi mushroom powder in your next blend—its mix of amino acids and polysaccharides may promote precisely what ancient Chinese asserted: longevity and wellness.
4. Bulk up your favorite recipes
At 20 calories per cup and packed with vitamin B, mushrooms are a nutritional powerhouse and excellent for the waistline. But getting your child—or significant other—to eat them can be a challenge (they’re a fungus, after all). To that end, sneak in their nourishing qualities to your top recipes. Making quinoa? Add in yams for a touch of sweetness and mushrooms for an element of depth. Include chopped marsala mushrooms on your family’s favorite pizza, toss shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms or oyster mushrooms into spaghetti sauce, omelets and crepes; and use enoki mushrooms as a basis in lettuce wraps. Or join one of the biggest trends of the year by relishing a mug of mushroom coffee. (Yes, it’s a thing.)
5. Spruce up that glass of water
Drinking adequate amounts of water is central to overall health. But even the most virtuous among us will admit that always opting for water—or at least 98% of the time—can grow a bit monotonous. While slices of citrus and cucumber always add brightness to a glass of H20, you can now reap the benefits of mushrooms in nutrient-boosted water that’s eminently sippable. SoTru Organic Fermented Medicinal Mushroom Drink Mix blends six types of mushrooms—cordyceps, reishi, agaricus blazei, shitake, maitake and turkey tails—to naturally support immune health, sound digestion and optimal vitality. Magic, indeed.