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Why You Should Add Mushrooms- Yes, Mushrooms- to Your Smoothies

Mushrooms, the latest buzzword in the wellness world-much like kale before it; are receiving praise from seemingly every juice bar and lifestyle blog for their health benefits.  Mushrooms are an excellent source of potassium, antioxidants, and B vitamins; as well as an immunity and endurance booster.  Sounds good, right?  Here is what you need to know about mushrooms and why you should consider adding mushrooms to your protein smoothie.

Adaptogenic Mushrooms Chaga Mushrooms

Medical or adaptogenic mushrooms like reishi, cordyceps, and chaga can improve your body's response to stress and help with focus, clarity, and energy levels. Although mushrooms have been used as medicine since ancient time; modern research on adaptogenic mushrooms is still in the early stages especially with cancer related claims; however, a recent study shows adaptogenic mushrooms help with recovery and that cordyceps mushrooms were able to improve endurance, diminish fatigue, and facilitate lactate clearance during exercise of animals.

Immunity and Mushrooms

All mushrooms contain beta glucans; which help fight inflammation and aid the immune system.  A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences study found mushrooms increased immunity in people. The participants ate one 4-ounce serving of cooked shiitake mushrooms every day for four weeks. Through blood tests before and after the experiment, researchers saw better-functioning gamma delta T-cells and reductions in inflammatory proteins.

Potassium and MushroomsPortabello mushroom

Did you know mushrooms provide more potassium than a banana? That's right; one medium Portabello mushroom contains more potassium than a banana. Potassium is an essential mineral that helps your body maintain its fluid and electrolyte balance. It also helps control blood pressure and protects blood vessels from oxidative damage. Boosting your potassium intake can cut your risk of strokes by 23%!

Antioxidants and Mushrooms

And antioxidants?  Mushrooms contain more antioxidants than tomatoes, green peppers, pumpkins, zucchini, carrots, and green beans. Antioxidants are molecules that fight damage from free radicals, the unstable molecules that can harm cellular structures. Free radicals may play a role in serious illnesses like heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease. Mushrooms contain unusually high amounts of two antioxidants, ergothioneine and glutathione. In a study, Porcini mushrooms had the highest concentrations of both ergothioneine and glutathione. Common varieties, like white button mushrooms, contain lower levels of antioxidants, but still more than most other foods.

Vitamins and Mushrooms

Mushrooms provide high levels of several B vitamins including vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), and B9 (folate). Although each B vitamin is unique, they have closely related functions. B vitamins are a class of water-soluble nutrients that help to provide energy by breaking down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. B vitamins also play a vital role in the nervous system.

Adding Mushrooms to Your dietIced Mushroom Mocha made with BiPro

From the common white button to more exotic adaptogenic, mushrooms have a wide variety of health benefits and are easy to incorporate into your diet. They be eaten as a side dish or added to foods like soups and risottos. Cooking or lightly steaming them does take away some of the vitamin b nutrients though.

But mushrooms in your smoothie? Yes, and it may be even easier than you think.  Many adaptogenic mushrooms like agarikon, blazei, chaga, cordiceps and maitake mushrooms are available in powder form, an effortless addition many foods including your favorite smoothie. If mushroom powder isn’t quite right for you, try adding a small amount of fresh or dried mushrooms of the reishi, shiitake, or oyster varieties. 

Bonus: Try our Iced Mushroom Mocha Recipe 

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