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Lion’s Mane Mushrooms : Benefits

October 7, 2022

Have you heard of lion’s mane mushrooms ? It’s always an added bonus when delicious ingredients also happen to be functional foods. They bring more benefits to your meal than just an expansive flavor profile. Lion’s Mane Mushrooms rightly contribute to a balanced and nutritious diet, but it’s worth exploring the more niche variations to spice up your meals and inject your cooking with some unique health benefits.

What are lion’s mane mushrooms?

Lion’s mane mushrooms are large white mushrooms that, according to registered dietitian Molly Knudsen, M.S., RDN, have a “shaggy, mane-like appearance.” Often used in salads, sauteed as a delicious side, or steeped in tea, as you can guess, these mushrooms get their name entirely based on their appearance. But just like many other forms of mushrooms, lion’s mane can also provide some significant benefits for your body.

4 health benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms.

There’s a pretty good breadth of research on the benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms, and while the studies largely involve cell or animal trials rather than human studies, the impact of this ingredient appears to be wide-reaching. “Hericium erinaceus, or lion’s mane, have a long history in Chinese medicine and Oriental medicine due to their myriad of nutritional benefits,” notes Leah Johansen, M.D., staff physician at Lifeforce:

1. Stimulate brain cells.

Supporting brain health through your diet is not a new concept, and lion’s mane mushrooms may actually be able to aid in keeping your mental function up to par. “Animal, test tube, and human studies have shown supplementation with lion’s mane mushroom extract or powder may benefit brain health by stimulating growth of brain cells and nerve cells by protecting those cells from damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease, boosting mental functioning, and promoting recovery from nervous system injuries,” explains mbg Collective member and registered dietitian Jess Cording, M.S., R.D., CDN

This stimulation is due to the compounds hericenones and erinacines found in lion’s mane mushrooms. It is notable, however, that the majority of these studies have been conducted on animals, so more research on humans is needed before coming to a definitive conclusion. 

2. Support mental health.

Along the lines of supporting brain health, other studies have been conducted regarding the potential benefits of this mushroom for levels of anxiety and depression.  Read more:

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