You might have seen mushrooms having a big moment in the health and wellness scene right now, and for damn good reason. With brands like Four Sigmatic, Superfeast and EMPOWdER offering mushroom blends that pack a powerful punch when it comes to health benefits, now is the time to add amp up the nutritional value of any meal with a simple sprinkle of mushroom powder.
We caught up with Amelia Phillips, one of the nutritionists behind EMPOWdER, to get the low down on exactly how mushrooms are bursting with health benefits. Here’s what she had to say.
Q: What do you believe to be the main health benefits of mushrooms and mushroom blends?
A: Mushrooms pack a powerful punch when it comes to health benefits. They contain antioxidants, amino acids, proteins, digestive enzymes (that help us absorb more nutrients), prebiotics (that feed our gut microbiota), and a powerful enzyme called beta-glucan (helps balance blood sugar and cholesterol, boost the immune system and protect against obesity).
What does this mean for our overall health? A diet rich in mushrooms or mushroom blends will help fight against disease-causing inflammation, will boost your immune system, helping protect against sickness, it will improve skin health, boost energy and aid digestion.
Q: Who should try incorporating mushrooms into their wellness routine? Is there any particular health concerns that mushrooms work particularly well for?
A: If you’ve been feeling tired, foggy in the head, run down or have dull skin, mushrooms can help. Different varieties have varying benefits. For example, the powerful Mushroom of life (Agaricus Blazei) is used for anti-ageing, immunity, and reducing blood sugar levels. Shitake mushrooms are adaptogenic (naturally occurring substances, that protect your body from stress). They have been used in Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine for thousands of years. The Turkey tail mushroom (Trametes Versicolor), is one of the most researched medicinal mushrooms in the world and is ideal for improving gut health, boosting nutrient absorption, aiding digestion and reducing inflammation.
Q: What is it about the nutritional profile of mushrooms that make them so good for gut health?
A:The combination of prebiotics, digestive enzymes and beta glucans make mushrooms your gut’s best friend. Prebiotics are the non-digestible parts of fibre that our healthy gut bugs love. They feed off these, breaking down cell walls which releases more nutrients for our gut to absorb. Digestive enzymes also help break down the food we eat. If you’ve ever suffered gut issues, a practitioner may have put you on digestive enzymes as a way to help your body extract more nutrients from the food you eat. Mushies contain these naturally!
Q: How would you suggest implementing them? Are there any delicious recipes you can share?
A: The challenge is finding good quality organic mushrooms. Mushrooms are natures filter, therefore it’s important to source them from organic farms with minimal heavy metals in the soil (hint; never buy mushrooms imported from China!). Buy fresh mushrooms from local farmers or your local organic coop. Alternatively, try a mushroom blend which are organic fermented mushrooms, that have been dried and milled in a manner preserving their nutrient benefits. The subtle Umami flavour goes really well in a smoothie, breakfast bowl, sprinkled on a salad or brewed with certain teas (such as ginger tea). You can find three delicious recipes here.
Amelia is a nutritionist, exercise scientist, online health coach, and the consulting nutritionist to Set The Bar, who has helped thousands live a healthier life through optimised nutrition and targeted supplementation.