Having access to fresh produce throughout the year is the most important step if you want to live a healthy life, so why not invest in some mushroom growing kits and benefit from a personal stash of delicious and nutritious mushrooms in the comfort of your home? Here are some reasons why you should consider growing mushrooms and make room for them more in your diet.
The importance of mushrooms
Excellent source of proteins
Vegetal sources of protein are not many, and they often include soy, which is not exactly healthy in the long term. On the other hand, mushrooms are as nutritious as real meat and provide an excellent alternative for vegetarians, vegans, or those who are fasting.
Burgers made from mushrooms are as delicious as those made from beef but the proteins from mushrooms are easily broken down and assimilated by your body. This means they will boost your energy levels faster while also keeping you satiated for hours. Besides, there are thousands of great recipes for food lovers, from marinated mushrooms and dill salads to stews, burgers, soups, and more.
Boosted immune system
Season changes often leave us tired, moody, and with low energy levels, but instead of opting for artificial vitamin supplements, why not consider eating more mushrooms?
Growing your own mushrooms saves you time and money in the long term, aside from providing you an all-year-round crop to enjoy whenever you want. Next time you want to boost your immune system naturally, all you have to do is take some mushrooms from your garden or greenhouse and cook them.
Keep in mind that there are hundreds of mushroom types, and not all of them provide the same benefits. Reishi mushrooms are considered the kings of herbal medicines and even got the nickname “the immortality mushrooms”.
Several studies have shown that Reishi mushrooms promote longevity and boost your immune system by stimulating the T-cell action and Dendritic cell maturation.
Another type of mushroom, Chaga, is commonly grown and harvested in the mountain regions of Russia and it has been used for centuries due to its properties. A warm beverage made of this type of mushroom is used as medicine in curing fatigue, chronic tiredness, and flu-like symptoms.
Lower blood sugar
Mushrooms are also linked to insulin regulation and lowering the blood sugar level, which is beneficial, especially for people who have diabetes. The fungi contain beta-glucan compounds which are soluble dietary fibers that help reduce blood sugar levels.
Hen-of-the-woods is probably the best type of mushrooms for people with diabetes because it has been shown to improve insulin activity and prevent stickiness and blockages in the blood vessels, which may lead to further health complications for patients with diabetes, including blindness and kidney failure.
Improved athletic performance
Apart from being a potent source of proteins, mushrooms also contain other great compounds that increase oxygen in the blood and stamina. The best type of mushroom to benefit from if you’re an athlete is Cordyceps as it contains adenosine, a molecule in charge of carrying energy within cells, and increasing stamina.
Even though you can’t grow this type of fungi in your home, you can still buy tinctures and introduce them in your diet, especially if they are combined with juice, water, tea, or coffee.
Improved brain health
If you didn’t know already, mushrooms are also good for your brain. One kind, in particular, Lion’s Mane (a very popular home-grown type of fungi) contains certain compounds that have incredible brain-boosting effects.
These special compounds stimulate neurons to re-grow, repair neurological traumas, increase cognitive abilities, and even enhance muscle/motor response pathways. These results are extremely encouraging for doctors and patients alike, especially those who deal with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Although additional research is still in place, mushrooms could prove an important ingredient in next-generation treatments for patients with all kinds of neurological traumas and diseases, including Parkinson’s and dementia.
Potential effects against the development of cancer
Over 100 species of mushrooms have been tested in Asia to be used alone or in combination with other cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. Hen-of-the-woods and Shiitake are two of the most popular types of mushrooms that can be easily grown on your own that contain a sugar named lentinan.
This compound has been attributed to slowing the growth of tumors and anti-metastatic properties, inhibiting the spread of cancer. However, as with many other potential benefits, these mushrooms need to be further tested to be able to synthesize their compounds and use them in creating new, improved cancer medicines and treatments.
Why should you grow your own mushrooms?
Aside from the benefits of integrating mushrooms in your dietary plan, there are also many people who are pondering the gains of growing their own produce, including fungi. If you’re in the same situation, here are the main reasons why you should consider it.
Fresh and delicious mushrooms all-year-round
The first and most important benefit of becoming a mushroom grower is that you will benefit from the crops first-hand, which means you’ll always have access to fresh products, no matter the time of the year. In other words, you won’t have to wake up every Sunday morning and drive to the nearest farm or farmer’s market to pick your favorite fungi.
Dozens of mushroom types require minimum maintenance and knowledge, suitable for beginners or those who are looking to grow them for personal consumption.
Although the process is a little different from growing fruits and veggies, mushroom growth kits come with all the necessary tools, accessories, and instructions to smoothen the experience and help you enjoy rich crops.
As we previously mentioned, mushrooms can be grown year-round but they are especially great during the winter months when other local fresh produce is minimally available unless grown in industrial greenhouses. Cooler temperatures are perfect for growing most types of mushrooms and, since their growing cycles take 1-3 months, mushrooms are the perfect superfood for winter.
A complete diet
Apart from the important source of proteins they provide, mushrooms can offer all the missing nutrients from our bodies to help them properly function and stay healthy. Varieties such as Shiitake or oyster mushrooms provide many nutrients that other vegetables and fruits are lacking.
Vitamins B and C can be found in almost all types of edible fungi but they also have ergosterol, a compound called the Vitamin D precursor. If you place dried or fresh mushrooms in direct sunlight, this compound naturally converts to vitamin D in just a few hours, which means they can provide complete nutrition for your body.
Apart from vitamins, you will also get macronutrients like potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium, selenium, and phosphorus, which are known to fight free radicals and boost your immune system.
Improved animal feed
Mushroom agricultural waste is a powerful and natural soil fertilizer, as well as a healthy food for your farm animals. The agricultural waste left behind after mushrooms are harvested can be fed to many animals, including chickens, cattle, lamb, and even fish. According to research in the field, animals showed significant improvements in overall digestion, health, as well as disease resistance after they ate mushrooms.
So, if you’re looking for a way to make your farm animals more resilient and increase their lifespan naturally, mushroom waste could prove a powerful and natural alternative to some supplements and vitamins.
Fungi can also improve the nutritional quality and health of your crops. Mushrooms can connect with the roots of around 95% of the world’s plants, providing specific nutrients that plants cannot get on their own, especially phosphorus.
In the long term, farmers who use mushrooms as a way to support their crops will use significantly less fertilizer without affecting the quality or quantity of the crops. Besides, mushroom waste is 100% natural and organic which will enhance the taste and smell of your vegetables and help you grow sustainable crops.
In conclusion, growing your own mushrooms will help you benefit not only from their delicious taste all-year-round but also from their curative properties, boosting your immune system, and even helping your crops and animals grow stronger and healthier.