Embrace the Lion's Mane

Embrace the Lion's Mane

Mushrooms have excellent health benefits. Depending on the specific variety, they can offer powerful nutrition and side benefits. The lion’s mane mushroom, named for its shaggy appearance, is one of these powerhouses.

Lion’s mane can be eaten raw or cooked. Its flavor is often described as mild and seafood-like—perfect if you miss the taste of seafood and shellfish but cannot consume them. These mushrooms have been used in eastern cultures for both nutrition and medicinal purposes, and are also available in dried or tea form.

However you choose to consume lion’s mane mushrooms, it’s time to consider adding them to your diet. Here are the health benefits of eating lion’s mane mushrooms:

  • Banish ulcers: If you’ve ever had an ulcer, you’re not likely to forget that burning, gnawing pain anytime soon. Good news: in addition to being delicious, lion’s mane mushrooms can inhibit the growth of H.pylori, a bacteria which causes ulcers. The mushrooms protect the stomach lining from damage, and may even be more effective that prescription acid-reducing medication.
  • Boost your immune system: Lion’s mane helps fight off illness by boosting the disease-fighting activity in your intestines, nose and mouth. If the pathogens are unable to enter your body through either of these tracts, you’re less likely to come down with an illness.
  • Fight off cancer: Studies have shown that lion’s mane mushrooms cause cancerous cells to die at a faster rate. The mushrooms can also slow the spread of cancer in mice. However, more studies on humans are needed before the mushroom can be declared an effective cancer treatment.
  • Lower your risk of heart disease: Lion’s mane can help reduce your risk of heart disease by reducing instances of contributing factors. For example, these mushrooms lower triglyceride levels and improve fat metabolism. They also reduce oxidated cholesterol in the bloodstream, which can harden arterial walls. It also reduces unnecessary blood clotting, and your risk of stroke.
  • Manage diabetes: Stabilizing blood sugar levels is one key way to manage the symptoms of diabetes. It primarily works by blocking an enzyme in the intestines which can break down carbs. The body can’t process and digest the carbohydrates as easily, leading to lower blood sugar levels. It’s also shown to lower diabetic nerve damage in the hands and feet.
  • Nervous system recovery: When your brain, spinal cord and nerves are injured, it can result in loss of physical and mental function. Because lion’s mane mushrooms stimulate the growth of brain and nerve cells, they can actually aid in speeding up recovery. Some studies have shown that it can reduce the severity of brain injuries after stroke.
  • Prevent dementia: If dementia and cognitive decline run in your family, lion’s mane is a smart dietary addition. They contain hericenones and erinacines, two compounds that stimulate brain cell growth. These mushrooms also reduce the symptoms of memory loss and cognitive decline in rodents. However, more human-based studies are necessary.
  • Reduce inflammation: Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress cause and contribute to diseases like cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disorders and more. Lion’s mane is packed with antioxidants and inflammation-busting compounds. If you suffer from inflammatory diseases, getting more lion’s mane in your diet can be a great help.
  • Relieves depression and anxiety: When you suffer from mild depression and/or anxiety, these mushrooms can help relieve symptoms. Lion’s mane has an anti-inflammatory effect, which can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. It also affects the hippocampus, which is responsible for storing and processing memories. One study even suggested that it can relieve irritability in post-menopausal women.

Fortunately, there are no known side effects associated with lion’s mane mushrooms. Unless you’re allergic to mushrooms, they should be safe to consume, even in large amounts. If you’re not sure whether you may have a bad reaction, consult a medical professional before adding these mushrooms or supplements to your diet.

Ultimately, lion’s mane mushrooms are a delicious and delicately flavored way to ward off various diseases, improve your overall well-being and get plenty of nutrition all at the same time. They can be used as a substitute for seafood with pizzas, pasta and plenty of other dishes, but they’re also great on their own. If you haven’t tried this tasty treat, look for it at specialty stores or farmer’s markets. Otherwise, your regular health food supplier should be able to recommend a good supplement or tea.

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