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The Playbook

This underutilized ingredient is key to boosting your immunity and workout recovery

Feeling a bit run down these days? You might need some mushrooms. And we’re not talking about the slices on your pizza or those mixed into your stir-fry. No, we mean the lesser-known shrooms that have been dried and pulverized - the medicinal mushrooms that have been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years and have now gained popularity stateside.

After all, nutrition is one of the most effective ways to improve your health and boost your athletic performance. Ask any nutritionist, and they’ll tell you that your diet impacts your immunity, inflammatory response, gut microbiome and your capacity to train hard and recover. It also plays a role in your stress hormone output as well as your concentration. Now can you imagine eating something that tackles all those concerns and makes you stronger, sharper and less prone to getting sick?

The list of health benefits mushrooms provide is lengthy because mushrooms are incredibly nutrient-dense, chock-full of protein, iron, B-vitamins and key antioxidants. A study published in the journal Food Chemistry found that nearly all mushrooms have measurable anti-aging properties, thanks to their concentration of two important antioxidants, ergothioneine (ERGO) and glutathione (GSH).



As for the types of fungi to have on your radar, there are a few to consider:

Reishi

This is one of the most popular varieties - and for good reason. It’s been found to aid in weight loss while strengthening the immune system. It also fights fatigue and keeps your energy levels steady. Known for its calming and mood-boosting properties, just think of it as nature’s Xanax without any side effects.

Find It In: Defend Mushroom Blend, $24 by Four Sigmatic

Lion’s Mane

A feathery pom-pom in nature, this mushroom is packed with antioxidants, but what really sets it apart is that it promotes the production of the bioprotein nerve growth factor (NFG) and myelin, a necessary insulation around nerve fibers - both of which are critical to brain health. Which is why lion’s mane has been shown to improve cognition and concentration

Find It In: Performance Mushroom blend, $16.95 by Laird Superfood

Chaga

This mushroom, which grows on birch trees, has been used for centuries in Siberia and other parts of Asia. It makes sense, considering how rich in antioxidants they are. Chaga combats oxidative stress which causes skin to age, lowers the “bad” LDL cholesterol and fights the long-term inflammation in the body that’s linked to conditions like heart disease and arthritis.

Find It In: Magic Mushroom superfood mix, $34.90 by Your Super 

Cordyceps

Anyone who could use more energy should consider this fungus. It’s been proven to help the body utilize oxygen more efficiently, which in turn, boosts your natural energy reserves. It also increases blood flow while speeding up post-workout muscle recovery, making it a great supplement for athletes.

Find It In: Spiced coffee blend with reishi, $40 by MUD\WTR

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