The Reishi mushroom, known scientifically as Ganoderma lucidum and popularly as lingzhi, is a fungus native to various humid and warm parts of Asia. This mushroom has long been revered for its potential health benefits, especially in boosting the immune system. Here are five significant benefits of the Reishi mushroom that make it a must to include in your diet:
1. Maintains Immunity
Reishi mushrooms have shown considerable potential in boosting immune health. Lab studies reveal that Reishi can interact with white blood cells' genes, critical components of your immune system. Furthermore, some studies indicate that Reishi mushrooms may modulate inflammation pathways in these white blood cells. Moreover, research has shown that Reishi may elevate white blood cell count in individuals battling colorectal cancer, enhancing their immune health. However, further research is necessary to establish these claims definitively.
2. Potential Anti-Cancer Properties
Another reason why Reishi mushrooms are increasing in popularity is their potential anti-cancer properties. Several lab studies suggest that they can lead to cancer cell death. Some research has also focused on their potential benefits for prostate and colorectal cancer, given their effects on inflammation and specific cancer development signaling pathways. An additional advantage is that when used with traditional treatments, Reishi mushrooms may enhance white blood cell activity and improve cancer patients' overall quality of life. More research on humans is still required to confirm these benefits.
3. Helps With Fatigue and Depression
Although known primarily for their immune-boosting benefits, Reishi mushrooms may help alleviate depression and fatigue. Studies have shown that Reishi supplementation can reduce fatigue and improve well-being in individuals experiencing neurasthenia, a condition characterized by dizziness, headaches, and irritability, among other symptoms. Additionally, Reishi powder has been found to reduce fatigue, anxiety, and depression while improving the quality of life in breast cancer patients.
4. Supports Heart Health and Blood Sugar Control
Reishi mushrooms may aid in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and promoting heart health. Several studies suggest that compounds found in Reishi mushrooms could decrease blood sugar levels. However, all studies have inconsistent results, and more research is needed. Regarding heart health, some studies indicate that Reishi might increase good cholesterol (HDL) and reduce triglyceride levels, which is beneficial for heart health.
5. May Improve Antioxidant Status
Reishi mushrooms are believed to improve antioxidant status, potentially protecting cells from damage. However, studies have yielded inconsistent results, with some showing no change in critical antioxidant enzymes in the blood after consuming Reishi for a few weeks.
Possible Side Effects
Despite the potential benefits, it's essential to remember that, like all things, Reishi mushrooms must be consumed in moderation. Certain groups, including those taking medications such as anticoagulants or immunosuppressants, should probably avoid them. Thus, it's always advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before adding new supplements to your routine.
Reishi mushrooms provide various potential health benefits, from boosting immunity to offering anti-cancer properties. Further research is needed to understand their potential, but initial findings look promising.