A line of functional food products that pack a mighty health punch with minimal effort, thanks to their star ingredient: mushrooms.
This post comes from our dear friend and beauty contributor, Allie White.
Superfood is a term that seems to get tossed around with abandon these days. There’s always something new on the market that promises to change your life, to heal your body, to improve this, that or the other, to make you immortal.
Fifteen years ago, we all got swept up in the pomegranate craze. Then we got obsessed with acai and goji berries and coconut water and chia and quinoa and kale and kimchi and kefir and algae and turmeric. That’s a crowded pantry.
This isn’t to say these foods won’t benefit your body and health in some way. But what makes a food super? What magical powers does something need to possess to be considered a member of this pantheon of food? And where do you possibly find the time and stomach space to eat all of this stuff every single day?
Instead of crossing our fingers and hoping that certain foods are imbued with super powers, why not just eat things we enjoy and that we know are good for us? Foods that serve a purpose, that help our bodies perform at their optimal levels. Foods that are, in a word, functional.
All of these questions and frustrations around what to eat, when and how are at the core of Four Sigmatic, a line of functional food products that pack a mighty health punch with minimal effort thanks to their star ingredient: mushrooms.
You may be thinking, “mushrooms?!” Listen, I feel you. Mushrooms seem too ubiquitous, too common, too easy to come by to really be that good for you. But if Four Sigmatic wants you to know anything, it’s that these humble fungi are the real deal as far as health is concerned, especially when we’re talking about medicinal ‘shrooms.
Among the world’s most studied foods, mushrooms have proven time and again that they’re packed with the the stuff of superfood legend. They’re immunity- and metabolism-boosting, chock full of vitamins and minerals, laden with antioxidants, have the ability to kick cancer-causing pathogens in the nuts, and are potent stress and fatigue fighters.
Imagine how many supplements and smoothies and juices you’d have to take every day to check each of these things off your health list. (Hint: It’s a lot.) Which is why Four Sigmatic’s products are such a revelation. Not only do you get all this good stuff in one fell swoop, but they’ve made it stupid-easy to do so by supplying your daily dose of mushroom magic in powder form.
To get technical and science-y for a minute, the active part of these medicinal mushrooms are compounds called polysaccharides and triterpenoids. Generally accepted as biological response modifiers (BRMs), these compounds have been linked to everything from protecting against cancer cells and fungal infections to increased liver function breaking down bad cholesterol. (They’re linked to a heck of a lot more, but we’ll get to everything else in a bit.)
Whether your mushroom tonic of choice is lion’s mane-infused coffee, hot cocoa with cordyceps or a potent reishi tonic, it’s as easy as ripping a packet open, dumping the powder into your carrier liquid of your choice and drink up. Health in mug!
Let’s explore the powerful mushroom varieties that make up these elixirs, shall we?
Can you think of a food off that top of your head that naturally improves respiratory health? If cordyceps was on your short list, give yourself a pat on the back. Since oxygen is pretty much the most important component of life, cordyceps’ ability to increase the amount of oxygen taken in by the lungs with every breath is — as you can guess — pretty amazing. A body with an increased oxygen intake is one that is better armed to fight respiratory distress and weakness. Better oxygenated blood also means that good red stuff is traveling through your vein highway with greater power, all but ensuring your organ systems near and far run efficiently.
Thanks to the mushroom’s range of chemical components and compounds, cordyceps is also an undeniable energy booster (more oxygen = more energy!), anti-inflammatory, anti-ager and detoxifier. And as a supporter of thyroid, lung and brain functions, there are very few parts of the body this adaptogenic mushroom doesn’t touch.
As one of the most antioxidant-rich mushrooms in the world, it’s no surprise chaga is known as the “king healer mushroom.” Used in traditional and modern medicine alike, it’s a healer like no other. Protecting against DNA damage by strengthening the body’s cells, its high levels of B vitamins, flavonoids, enzymes, minerals and phenols is a full-body immune booster. Chaga also works to flush toxins and pollutants from the body so all your systems can work efficiently and effectively.
It may have a cute name, but don’t underestimate this powerful mushroom. Used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, lion’s mane mushrooms are best known to boost cognitive function, focus and concentration. A big help to the regeneration of the nervous system, lion’s mane also has the ability to regrow damaged nerves. That’s right: a mushroom that makes your brain work better. Who woulda thunk?
“Queen of the mushrooms” is an apt name for reishi, a mushroom variety that’s been used in medicine and healing for more the 4,000 years. As one of the strongest adaptogens available, reishi is known for its nourishing, immune boosting and energizing properties. It jumpstarts your brain, kicking creativity and energy into gear, while simultaneously working as a powerful inflammation tamer.
What’s more, reishi works wonders on stress and anxiety, naturally calming the body and mind by regulating hormones and lowering cortisol levels. When it comes to mind, body and spirit balance, reishi is hard to beat.
So remember kids, for a long, healthy life: drink your mushrooms!