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Article: What makes functional mushrooms, functional?

What makes functional mushrooms, functional?

What makes functional mushrooms, functional?

If you've made it through 2023 so far without being tempted by the allure of functional mushrooms, we'd be surprised. Whether they've stealthily made their way onto the beloved coffee menu at your favorite café or flooded your social media feeds in the form of gummies and healthy snacks, we're all wondering, what actually makes functional mushrooms functional?

Functional mushrooms owe their name to advocates who believe they possess properties and compounds that go beyond their nutritional value and may offer various health benefits. This group of mushrooms that meets the criteria to be considered functional may belong to one of the most exclusive clubs in the world. In fact, only 0.00667% of the approximately 3 million mushroom species on Earth fall into the functional category. Here are some factors that make functional mushrooms "functional":

Bioactive compounds: Functional mushrooms are rich in bioactive compounds such as beta-glucans, polysaccharides, and triterpenes.

Traditional use: Many functional mushrooms have been used for centuries in traditional healing practices, particularly in Asian cultures. These traditions and practices have recognized the potential of mushrooms for promoting well-being and addressing specific health issues.

Adaptogenic properties: Some functional mushrooms are classified as adaptogens, meaning they can help the body adapt to stress and maintain balance. Adaptogens are believed to support the body's resilience and overall vitality.

Immunomodulating effects: Functional mushrooms are often studied for their ability to modulate or regulate the immune system.

Anti-aging properties: Functional mushrooms are sometimes associated with anti-aging benefits due to their potential to combat oxidative stress and inflammation, two factors contributing to the aging process.

Nutrient density: Functional mushrooms are rich in nutrients and contain vitamins, minerals, and other bioactive compounds that may contribute to overall health and well-being.

Non-psychedelic: Functional mushrooms do not contain mind-altering substances and do not cause disruptions to reality.

It's important to note that while functional mushrooms show promise in various areas of health and well-being, more research is needed to fully understand their mechanisms and effectiveness. When considering the use of functional mushrooms, individuals should consult with healthcare professionals and approach them as part of a holistic approach to well-being, not as standalone treatments.

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