Did you know that different mushroom varieties have specific health benefits? There are thousands of edible mushrooms besides your typical supermarket varieties, including the strange-looking Lion’s Mane mushroom variety. And Lion’s Mane mushroom benefits range from increased brain health to diabetes management!
The Lion’s Mane mushroom is chock full of healthy vitamins and nutrients, leading to an overall healthier you. Keep reading to learn about its specific health benefits and how to incorporate these fungi into your diet!
What is a Lion’s Mane Mushroom?
A Lion’s Mane mushroom, or Hericium erinaceus, is a type of fungus like every other mushroom variety. This means it is an organism that likes to feed on dead or organic matter to grow. It will also spread by releasing spores rather than seeds like plants and flowers.
This type of mushroom looks different from other mushroom varieties, as it doesn’t have the familiar cap. Instead, it has these long tentacle-looking spines, which look similar to the flowy hair in a lion’s mane.
Hence the mushroom’s name! It typically has a white or cream color to it and grows in odd cauliflower-like shapes.
Where Does it Grow?
Before taking advantage of Lion’s Mane mushroom benefits, you need to know where to find them! The edible mushroom stems from places such as Europe and Asia, with roots in areas of North America as well. You’ll often find it growing in northern areas of the United States.
Spotting this mushroom variety is easy due to its unique look. It likes to grow on dead and decaying trees. Think along the lines of fallen trees, stumps, and logs.
Nutritional Value of Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Lion’s Mane mushroom benefits start with the food’s nutritional content. According to the USDA, you can expect the following nutrition facts inside a 100-gram serving of this mushroom:
General Nutrition Facts
- Calories: 35
- Total fat: <1 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Carbohydrates: 7.6 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 2.5 g
Vitamins and Minerals
- Sodium: 0 mg
- Potassium: 443 mg
- Phosphorus: 94 mg
- Magnesium: 11.7 mg
- Selenium: 1.8 mcg
- Niacin: 1.63 mg
- Biotin: 16.9 mcg
- Folate: 30 mg
- Calcium: <2.5 mg
- Iron, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Thiamin, B6: <1 mg
Another Lion’s Mane mushroom benefit is that they have multiple amino acids. These are essential molecules that can help repair your body and aid in breaking down your food.
Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
You can expect improved brain, heart, immune, and digestive health when consuming Lion’s Mane mushrooms often. Eating them once won’t produce any results!
Here are some specific Lion’s Mane mushroom benefits you can get.
Reduces Anxiety and Depression
Another brain-related Lion’s Mane mushroom benefit is that it can help you with mental disorders like anxiety and depression. It does this by reducing oxidative stress, which is an imbalance of molecules that leads to cell damage. This damage causes inflammation within the neuron pathways, causing nervous system issues like mental disorders.
A reduction of this stress can lead to reduced anxiety and depression symptoms, as they are directly linked.
Reduces Chances of Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Your brain goes through a lot of changes if you happen to fall victim to dementia or Alzheimer’s. As these things progress, your neurons begin to degenerate. And this is why your brain doesn’t function properly.
But, with regular ingestion of Lion’s Mane mushrooms, your risk for this degeneration reduces. The carbohydrates within them can increase the survival of your brain’s neurons, ultimately preserving your neuron networks and memory.
Aids in Nervous System Repairs
As mentioned before, this type of mushroom is rich in amino acids, which are essential in cell production and healing. Along with this comes an increase in brain cell production, which can help heal nervous system damage.
Things like a lack of oxygen, car accidents, and aneurysms can all cause damage to your nervous system. But Lion’s Mane mushrooms might help speed up your nervous system’s recovery, ultimately speeding up your overall recovery. It’s also possible that these mushrooms can slow down nervous system diseases like Parkinson’s.
Reduces the Spread of Cancer
While this Lion’s Mane mushroom benefit still needs more research, this mushroom shows possible anticancer effects. Two of its compounds prove that the mushroom can reduce and possibly kill cancer cells. This could be a revolutionary aid in future cancer treatment if scientists continue to study it!
One of the Lion’s Mane mushroom benefits is that it might be able to aid in reducing unnecessary inflammation! Many mushroom varieties, including this one, have some great antioxidants within them.
These antioxidants can reduce oxidative stress, which in return will calm your body’s inflammatory response. Oxidative stress makes your body go a little haywire, making it overly sensitive. So, the antioxidants in these mushrooms can almost level it out. Antioxidants will also help boost your immune system by neutralizing and fighting off harmful compounds.
Other Health Benefits
Improves Overall Heart Health
Generally, two important factors that can lead to heart disease include high triglycerides (fat) in your blood and being overweight. Luckily, a Lion’s Mane mushroom benefit is that it has the power to lower these fat levels and almost pause weight gain.
Another cause of heart disease is high blood pressure, which prevents your heart from pumping blood efficiently. A build-up of cholesterol is what usually causes this. Eating these mushrooms can help decrease this build-up, reducing your chances of heart disease and keeping normal blood flow.
Stomach ulcers are often due to a type of harmful bacteria called Helicobacter pylori. Antibiotics are usually one of the top treatments for this. However, a bacteria study proves that the Lion’s Mane mushroom can stop the growth of Helicobacter pylori. So, regular consumption of these mushrooms has the potential to reduce stomach ulcers and prevent them from forming.
Can Keep Diabetes Under Control
A great Lion’s Mane mushroom benefit is that it can lower high blood glucose levels. This is especially helpful to people with diabetes, as their blood sugar is usually high without treatment. Since this mushroom can aid in nervous system repairs, you might even notice reductions in diabetes symptoms like nerve pain.
But eating this mushroom can get a little tricky if you’re on diabetic medication. The combination can sometimes make your blood sugar levels drop too low. So, you should talk to your doctor about this.
Side Effects of Eating Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Potential side effects are always something to keep in mind, especially if your body is sensitive. Luckily, this mushroom doesn’t carry many side effects.
Fresh Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
If you forage or buy Lion’s Mane mushrooms for meals, you should be completely fine after eating them. Like supermarket mushroom varieties, they are easily digestible and tolerated by many people’s bodies.
You should only feel concerned if you have an allergy to mushrooms.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Supplements
Many people like to take capsule supplements to get Lion’s Mane mushroom benefits, as they are more potent. But, with this higher potency comes a few possible side effects. You might notice things such as the following over time:
- Abdominal pain and discomfort
- Skin rashes if you’re allergic
- Interactions with diabetes medications, which can lead to low blood sugar
These symptoms usually aren’t life-threatening and tell you to lower your dose or stop taking the supplements completely. Talk to your doctor if you get these side effects.
How to Incorporate Lion’s Mane Mushrooms Into Your Diet
You can get Lion’s Mane mushroom benefits by incorporating the mushrooms into your meals a few times a week. The taste of these mushrooms is very mild, and their texture is similar to seafood.
They can make great meat replacements or a simple additive to your meals. Lion’s Mane mushrooms will taste delicious in things like:
- Sauteed or roasted vegetable medleys
- Stews, soups, and sauces
You can also take a Lion’s Mane mushroom supplement if you don’t want to eat them.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Health Benefits FAQs
Can Lion’s Mane Mushrooms give you energy?
Due to this mushroom’s carbohydrate and antioxidant contents, a Lion’s Mane mushroom benefit is an increase in energy. Carbs get converted into energy. And antioxidants reduce cell damage, allowing you to be at your best. Your body needs both of these things to perform its daily tasks and keep you healthy!
Are Lion’s Mane mushrooms a probiotic?
No, Lion’s Mane mushrooms aren’t probiotics. However, they do contain prebiotics, which feeds the probiotics (healthy bacteria) in your digestive tract. So, it can promote the growth of your existing healthy gut bacteria. You’ll need to rely on other food sources like yogurt if you need more probiotics.
Can I eat Lion’s Mane Mushrooms every day?
Yes, you can eat Lion’s Mane mushrooms every day if you want to! These mushrooms are very safe to eat, and you can even eat them multiple times a day if you’d like. In fact, you’ll only notice Lion’s Mane mushroom benefits if you eat them regularly.
Enjoy the Health Benefits of the Lion’s Mane Mushroom!
While the Lion’s Mane mushroom can look intimidating, it’s a mild and delicious food worth a try! They also have plenty of health benefits from cell repair all the way to keeping ulcers out of your stomach. So, try them out for yourself and see how Lion’s Mane mushroom benefits make you feel!
Are you interested in learning more about mushroom varieties? Check out our mushroom page for more information on these edible fungi!