How to harness the health benefits of this functional mushroom
Along with florals and superfoods like maca, functional mushrooms were predicted to be a dietary mainstay in 2018. While East Asian cultures have been taking advantage of these mushrooms’ health benefits for generations, they’re increasingly showing up in U.S. grocery stores. Each variety has its own strengths: Lion’s mane, for example, has been shown to improve cognitive function and chaga is full of antioxidants that are good for your immune system.
Another popular type, reishi, have a bitter flavor thanks to the triterpenes, a powerful anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, says Kelly Hogan, RD, clinical nutrition and wellness manager at the Mount Sinai Dubin Breast Center in New York City. Traditionally, reishi mushrooms were steeped in water to make an intense tea and are said to help reduce stress, aid with sleep, and strengthen the body’s defenses against certain autoimmune diseases, heart problems, and cancers.
However, with the modern-day availability of quality reishi powders, you can now incorporate it into your everyday cooking. “The key is to look for an organic brand like Four Sigmatic or Sun Potion that has gone through a hot water extraction process so that it retains the most nutrients,” says Denver-based recipe developer Julia Heffelfinger.
Here, she shares three recipes to try now.Photography by Robert Bredvad