If we were to tell you that our human anatomy shares at least 50
Surprising to many, a mushroom shares over half of its genetic makeup with humans due to a shared common ancestor — one which branched away from plants some 1.1 billion years ago. This means that humans are more closely related to mushrooms than many plants are. And while this may seem like an unnecessary piece of trivia, it’s far more important than you could ever imagine. This genetic connection has led to mushrooms playing a pivotal role in medical research, with around 40
While the majority of us may believe that mushrooms are nothing more than a delicious accoutrement to pasta, pizza or steak, the humble fungi has so much more to offer. Said to be able to help with everything from immunity support and cognitive function to energy and relaxation, the broad applications of the recently anointed ‘superfood’ are vast and promising, and it’s largely due to how many species there are. The fungi family is extensive, with more than 1.5 million varieties discovered, of which a small percentage serve as mind-bending psychedelics and an even smaller percentage are lethal. The rest, however, exhibit a seemingly endless stream of benefits.
Helping us gain a better understanding of the idiosyncrasies of mushrooms is
Isokauppila grew up foraging for mushrooms with his brother and physiology professor mother in Finland (where his father was an agronomist) and when he decided to run a marathon, he used the knowledge he had acquired of wild foods and the human body to help in his training. It was during that time that he stumbled upon the cordyceps, a particular type of stamina-boosting mushroom that not only vastly improved his
While the newly-found mushroom was stimulating for the body, however, the same couldn’t be said for the tastebuds. So before long, the Finnish
But with so many different types of mushroom out there and an equally comprehensive number of products, it can be difficult to know where to start. Isokauppila’s advice?
Begin your journey with the main four: Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, Chaga, and Reishi. Reishi, often referred to as the ‘Queen of mushrooms,’ while still relatively unknown in the Western world has been used in the medicinal systems of Asian countries for years. Not only can it boost the immune system and help to reverse liver damage, but the fungi
Chaga, native to Isokauppila’s home country, “has incredibly high antioxidant elements,” while Cordyceps helps to support energy, stamina and athletic performance — but the list of mushrooms with magic properties doesn’t end there. Those on an aesthetic quest should acquaint themselves with the shiitake and the maitake — the first of which is believed to be a powerful skin booster, while the latter, proven to aid weight loss and digestion. The thick-bodied Porcini mushroom contains more protein than any other commonly consumed vegetable and can help to settle down inflammation, while the petite-capped Shimeji is used in some treatments for asthma. The Turkey Tail mushroom boosts immunity and fights disease and the long-stemmed Enoki contains a plethora of antioxidants. It’s clear that when it comes to the mushroom kingdom, no two are quite the same.
While there are many wellness-boosting fads that come and go
Mushroom Coffee Mix
Switch your morning beverage for a coffee infused with
Overflowing with antioxidant properties, this ‘tea’ is like a forcefield in a cup. Just add hot water and sip away to boost to your energy levels and immune system.
Reishi Cacao Mix
Swap your cream-topped sugar explosion for a guilt-free cocoa instead. Like a warm hug in a mug, this hot chocolate uses reishi mushrooms to subdue stress and support restful sleep.