lions mane mushroom Mushrooms are more than just a pizza topping or a salad ingredient. In fact, some species of mushrooms possess a host of nutritional benefits that might surprise you- one of which is the fascinating Lions Mane mushroom, also referred to as Hericium erinaceus.
Lions Mane mushroom is native to countries in Asia, Europe, and North America. They form strings of white cascading spines, resembling a lion’s mane, hence the name. The spongy fruiting body feels like jelly and has a mild, earthy flavor.
This mushroom has several health benefits. For starters, it packs a punch with its biology composition- it’s a rich source of antioxidants, beta-glucan, polysaccharides, erinacines, and hericenones that help to enhance the immune system. Many health professionals believe that the strong immune system fuels the body’s potential to resist diseases. This means that consuming Lion’s Mane mushroom can help in boosting the immune system, which, in turn, helps your body fight off viruses, infections, and other illnesses.
One of the remarkable properties of Lions Mane mushroom is its effect on the brain. The mushroom contains a compound called erinacines, which is said to stimulate nerve growth in the central nervous system, as well as the peripheral nervous system. Research has revealed that this compound could play a critical role in the regeneration of damaged nerve cells. Currently, Erinacines are being studied as potential treatments for multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Furthermore, some research shows that Lions Mane mushroom might help to boost cognitive function. In point of reference, a study conducted in Japan on men aged between 50 and 80 reported that those who consume Lions Mane mushroom for four months experience significant cognitive improvements. The result of another study showed that Lions Mane mushroom increases neuron growth in a part of the brain known as the hippocampus.
Additionally, Lions Mane mushroom has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation is the body’s response to injury, infection, or illness, and extended periods of inflammation can be harmful to the body. Some researchers believe that inflammation might lead to the growth of tumors, diabetes, and even depression. Although there is a need for more research, some experts believe that consuming Lions Mane mushroom could lessen inflammation in illnesses like pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and liver injury.
Lions Mane mushroom is also believed to possess anti-cancer properties, and one of the compounds associated with this activity is Beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is a polysaccharide needed to support the immune system, which has been shown to help cut off tumors and bring about apoptosis- that is, the destruction of cancerous cells. Preclinical studies suggest that polysaccharides extracted from Lions Mane mushroom can help prevent cancer cells from growing and multiplying, which makes Lions Mane mushroom a nutrition powerhouse to include in the diet.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road on Lions Mane mushroom: how can we get it into our diets?
The good news is Lions Mane mushroom is widely available in the market- both fresh and dried. It can be prepared as a tea or cooked in a variety of dishes. Some people even take it in supplement form. Dried Lions Mane mushroom can be added to stir-fry, soup, pasta, and sauce as a flavor booster. Ready-to-eat Lions Mane mushroom extract is also available, making adding it to your diet easier.
But, despite the health benefits, Lions Mane mushroom should be taken with some caution as it is, after all, a unique food. It is important to note that people who are allergic to mushrooms should steer clear of it. Also, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, children under five years old, and people with certain health conditions should consult their healthcare providers before consuming Lions Mane mushroom.
There’s more to discover about Lions Mane mushroom. From stimulating brain growth and cognitive function to boosting the immune system and reducing inflammation, Lions Mane mushroom is a health wonder. Consider adding this unique mushroom to your diet as a simple way to support a healthy lifestyle.