Unlocking Cognitive Potential: Discovering the Best Mushrooms for Brain Health

Best Mushrooms for Brain Health

The brain is an essential and one of the most mysterious organs in the human body. How the brain works has intrigued scientists, philosophers, psychologists, and doctors for thousands of years. The best mushrooms for brain health are emerging as one of the most powerful and scientifically backed ways to boost brain health and mental well-being. Curious to know what they are and how they work? Continue reading till the end.

In this article, we’ll be exploring some of the best mushrooms for brain health along with additional information. But before we get into how mushrooms can help improve brain health, we’ll need to know what are common brain issues and how mushrooms work on the brain. So, let’s dig a little deeper.

Understanding Common Brain Issues

When we discuss the differences in cognitive impairments, neuroinflammation, and brain conditions, the three most common conditions that are prevalent in the world today are:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • And sleep disorders

Each of these brain conditions has underlying problems with neuron functions. Luckily, we can improve these brain conditions through a holistic approach and simple lifestyle changes. This is where consuming mushrooms works wonders to support and boost overall brain health.

How Do Mushrooms Work on the Brain?

Some mushrooms have incredible medicinal properties that also work on the brain as well. These mushrooms are considered superfoods today. They can help boost brain health through several ways, including:

  • Reducing neuroinflammation
  • Increasing the release of nerve growth factors (NGFs)
  • Enhancing the neuron repair
  • Lowering oxidative stress
  • Improving cognition and memory

Best Mushrooms for Brain Health

Mushrooms have long been valued across different cultures for thousands of years worldwide. Medicinal mushrooms have remarkable healing properties, particularly, when it comes to brain health. From promoting mental clarity to enhancing cognitive function and reversing age-related cognitive decline, medicinal mushrooms offer a natural solution to nurturing the brain, our most vital as well as mysterious organ.

But not all mushrooms are medicinal. Medicinal mushrooms contain higher amounts of biologically active compounds known as secondary metabolites like polysaccharide beta-glucans that have been shown to offer next-level healing and therapeutic qualities. Some of the most common medicinal mushrooms may include:

  • Lion’s mane
  • Reishi
  • Cordyceps
  • Chaga
  • Maitake
  • Shiitake
  • Turkey tail
  • Oyster
  • Wood ear
  • Enokitake

Let’s discuss some of them in a little bit more detail:

1. Lion’s Mane

When it comes to the best mushrooms for brain health, lion’s mane comes first on the list. It can promote the release of nerve growth factors (NGFs) which are highly valued as neuroprotective qualities. Nerve growth factors play a critical role in the growth, survival, and maintenance of nerve cells in the brain for enhanced memory and cognitive function.

A 2013 study published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms showed that the aqueous extract of lion’s mane has neurotrophic activities. Another study published in 2019 in Nutrients showed that lion’s mane can improve memory and cognitive function.


2. Reishi

Reishi or Ganoderma lucidum is a red mushroom that has long been revered in traditional medicines for its excellent medicinal qualities and its favorable effect on brain health is no exception. It has tremendous antioxidant properties that can help reduce oxidative stress in the brain. Oxidative stress is caused by large chain reactions caused by free radicals, unstable oxygen-containing molecules.

In a 2017 study published in the Neural Regeneration Research, researchers have shown that reishi mushrooms have neuroprotective properties.


3. Cordyceps

Organic cordyceps mushrooms are uniquely known for their growth on insect larvae. For their potential brain-enhancing effects, they have gained quite a lot of recognition today. Researchers believe they can serve as powerful antioxidants and support brain function.

A  2018 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine showed that cordyceps can improve learning and memory by preventing oxidative damage caused by free radicals and protecting the nervous system. 


4. Chaga

Chaga mushrooms are one of the best mushrooms for health. They are botanically known as Inonotus obliquus. Chaga mushrooms are recognized as a top choice among mushrooms for gut health and have also exhibited promising effects in bolstering brain health. They can help lower oxidative stress in the brain, which in turn can protect nerve cells from oxidative damage.

In a 2011 study published in Food and Function, researchers have shown that chaga mushroom is a medicinal mushroom and has the potential to enhance brain function.

Best Mushrooms for Brain Health: Final Words

The brain benefits of medicinal mushrooms are impressive. Although only a few are clinically established so far, experts believe the potential of medicinal mushrooms is very strong. Lion’s mane, reishi, chaga, and cordyceps are some common of them. However, it’s always best to consult with a certified naturopath prior to adding any supplement to the daily diet regimen.

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