What if, on top of being delicious, your next dinner could also help cure whatever ails you? That is the added benefit of cooking with medicinal mushrooms.
Read on to find out what are the five most popular medicinal mushrooms to include in your meal, their health benefits, and how to best prepare them.
Lion’s mane have a reputation for being one of the top medicinal mushrooms for brain.
Their biggest claim to fame is the ability to improve cognitive function for individuals suffering from any number of cognitive diseases, including Alzheimer’s and dementia.
But they don’t stop there.
Lion’s mane mushrooms have excellent neuroprotective properties too, keeping your brain healthy in the long run. They can also reduce the symptoms of irritability and anxiety and help fight depression.
While most of us prefer to use lion’s mane supplements to get the benefits, if you can find the mushroom fresh, cooking with it is surprisingly simple.
Lion’s mane is best when you sautee it in a pan over medium heat. Because the mushroom is high in water content, it’ll make its own liquid as it cooks.
I like to add butter as well as some salt and pepper once a good amount of the natural moisture has evaporated and keep the mushroom on the pan until both sides are golden brown.
Shiitakes are popular and very common in traditional Japanese cuisine. They have a distinct, complex, rich, and savory taste. It’s a flavor you have to experience yourself to understand fully.
In fact, if you indeed haven’t yet tried shiitake mushrooms, it’s high time you do.
Shiitakes are easy to work with. You can, for example, simply throw them into a soup. It’s an excellent way to give the broth a little extra umami. And if soups aren’t your thing, shiitake mushrooms are also a great addition to stir-fries for a bit of added crunch.
Another reason to eat shiitakes? It turns out they’re something of a superfood.
Shiitake mushrooms are indeed medicinal. They’re known to help control and even lower your weight (so go ahead and indulge with zero guilt). If you or someone you know suffers from a hardening of the arteries, they can help with blood flow too.
And, if those benefits aren’t enough, shiitakes are also excellent for your skin.
Cordyceps are the most exotic medicinal mushroom on this list, mainly because of where they come from – you’ll find them growing on the back of bugs throughout eastern Asia.
As you can imagine, it’s hard to harvest cordyceps in larger quantities. That is the reason why they’re a mushroom that is most definitely on the pricier end of the scale.
Cordyceps make a delicious addition to soups and stir-fries, something many people use them for despite the higher cost. Though, in my opinion, the real reason to cook with cordyceps are their amazing health benefits.
Through research and much anecdotal evidence, cordyceps are known for boosting athletic performance, improving sex drive, and helping to manage type 2 diabetes. They can slow down cognitive decline, improve your mood, and give your memory a boost.
Thanks to their high antioxidant content, cordyceps also fight inflammation, have anti-aging benefits, and even help fight cancer.
If you don’t want to cook with them or can’t justify the expense, cordyceps are also a very popular (and much more affordable) supplement.
The meaty and hearty portobello is a tried and tested favorite of many. Big on flavor, they’re arguably the best mushroom to throw on the grill like a steak.
You can, of course, be somewhat traditional and just cut them up for a tasty addition to a casserole, soup, or stir fry.
But, you can get quite creative with portobellos too. How about slicing them thinly and adding some liquid smoke and barbeque sauce to make your own delicious mushroom bacon?
There is so much you can do with them.
That said, few of us realize that portobellos are medicinal mushrooms too.
They’re bursting with nutrients and vitamins. Including portobellos in your diet is an excellent way to ensure your body stays healthy and strong. They’re even suspected of having the potential to fight cancer.
What is one of the most exciting things that can happen to a mushroom hunter in the wild? Stumbling across a morel.
There are good reasons why morels are so cherished. Their taste is unlike anything else.
Morels are easy to cook and have a delicious and unique earthy flavor that’s not too overpowering. They’re meaty but not too thick. When you sautee them with a bit of butter, cream, oil, or even wine – my personal favorite – you’ll get to enjoy the tastiest of meals.
But, morels are not just all about taste. They’re beneficial to your health too.
Morels contain a large amount of calcium. That’s perfect for shoring up your bones and preventing future bouts of osteoporosis.
And they don’t stop there either. Morels are also chock full of other essential minerals and vitamins, including plenty copper and vitamin B12.
Of course, ever-reliable and common mushrooms, like the white button, have a place at every table. I eat them all the time. But, if you want to cook a meal that’s on a different level, give one of the medicinal mushrooms on this list a try. They’ll both satisfy and keep you healthy.