Chaga Mushroom For Weight Loss
Weight is an issue many people are dealing with, and understandably so. People are leading sedentary lifestyles with little physical activity.
This is compounded by poor nutritional choices with fast foods and sugary beverages fast replacing wholesome, healthy food. The results have been dire. In the U.S., for example, over two-thirds of adults have weight problems!
So, if you are concerned about your weight, then it's time you learn about chaga and how this wonderful mushroom can help you lose weight.
What is Chaga Mushroom Used For?
In ancient Asian societies, chaga mushrooms were used as a medicinal food. It was believed to boost the immune system, promote good health, and prevent cancer. Chaga's numerous health benefits are attributed to its high concentration of antioxidants.
These compounds may help combat oxidative stress and repair cells, lower cholesterol in the blood, fight infections and cancer, reduce blood pressure, and slow down aging.
In recent years, researchers have identified other compounds in chaga mushrooms that they believe could confer more health benefits to people. Specifically, researchers now think these new compounds could help people lose weight.
Keep reading to learn how chaga mushrooms can help you lose weight.
Does Chaga Help with Weight Loss?
People gain weight when they consume more calories than they burn. So, one way to avoid piling on the pounds is by eating less. Chaga infused in tea or tincture can act as an appetite suppressant. Chaga in tea or tincture contains lots of fiber and makes you feel full quicker, reducing the impulse to eat and reducing your overall calorie intake.
The antioxidants in chaga mushrooms are beneficial to humans. These antioxidants are useful in helping your body recover faster after workouts. They help sustain your energy levels so you can have longer workout sessions.
A good immune system and a network of well-functioning blood vessels are often the results of an active lifestyle, which is a critical component of weight management. Chaga's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties are touted to be the reason behind its ability to promote weight loss.
Further, chaga's immune-boosting properties have also been noted to help keep the blood vessels healthy.
The effect of chaga's antioxidative properties on oxidative stress is well known. Chronic stress can lead to weight gain. Researchers have shown that stress promotes the release of cortisol and adrenaline. Adrenaline in the blood leads to glucose production.
Interestingly, stress increases sugar cravings in some people because the body needs energy. Sometimes this can lead to overconsumption of sugary foods, broken down and stored as fat. As such, it is easy to see how prolonged stress causes some people to gain weight.
For every stress cycle, their bodies release more adrenaline which increases their sugar cravings leading to a higher intake of sugar and more fatty deposits, and the cycle continues.
However, chaga's antioxidative properties help combat oxidative stress. By lowering your stress levels, chaga prevents you from entrapping yourself in the weight-gain cycle described above.
What are the Benefits of Chaga Tea?
In Eastern Europe, chaga tea is a favorite beverage, thanks to its many health benefits. But the popularity of this medicinal fungus has grown beyond eastern Europe, and today, it is consumed in many parts of the world.
Most chaga lovers prefer to take it in liquid form, so it's only proper to discuss some of the benefits you can derive from chaga tea.
Many studies have shown that compounds found in chaga mushrooms can effectively prevent and fight cancerous tumors. Since these compounds are activated by heat, a study showed that hot chaga tea could inhibit the growth of cancerous cells.
For this reason, chaga extracts are increasingly used in developing anti-cancer drugs thanks to these properties.
In another study, a hot water extract of chaga mushroom was shown to kill colon cancer cells. While these early findings are promising, there are calls for further research to investigate the efficacy of chaga in fighting cancer.
If you notice you have frequent inflammations, it may be due to a spike in cytokines in your body. Cytokines are body proteins that control the growth and activity of blood cells and immune system cells.
However, sometimes an overproduction of cytokines (interferons) may lead to low white blood cell count in the blood, increasing your risk of getting infections.
Hot chaga extracts like tea can reduce infections because they release the compounds ergosterol peroxide, inotodial, and betulinic acid. These compounds help fight inflammations by hindering too much production of cytokines.
Another useful compound found in chaga mushrooms is Beta-D-glucans. These help in balancing and stimulating the immune system. Beta-D-glucans downregulate the immune system when it's overactive and upregulates it when it needs a boost.
In their natural form, chaga mushrooms look like a burnt chunk of wood. In this form, its beneficial compounds are inactive. While the inner softer parts of the mushroom are the most preferred, it's the outer parts (sclerotium) that contain the highest concentration of polyphenols (antioxidants). These compounds fight free radicals that damage the liver and other body organs.
Compounds in chaga are believed to fight the Helicobacter pylori that cause stomach ulcers. These chemicals work by interfering with the cell communication mechanism of the bacteria.
Lower Blood Cholesterol
Chaga mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides. These compounds are believed to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or the 'bad' cholesterol that causes many health complications.
However, further research is needed to determine how these polysaccharides affect cholesterol build-up in the blood.
Reduce Blood Sugar
The beta-D-glucans present in chaga extracts have also reduced blood sugar levels. However, this is another area where the action of chaga mushrooms in lowering blood sugar is unclear.
How to Use Chaga Extract
You can find chaga in powder, capsule, elixir, or dried form. However, chaga tea remains the most common form because it is natural. The other forms are usually concentrated supplements, which like many other supplements, are not closely regulated and face more skepticism.
As mentioned, chaga mushroom powder is mainly consumed in hot beverages like water, tea, or coffee. Subsequently, most people take chaga in the morning when they take their tea or coffee.
Usually, a teaspoon of mushroom powder is enough to enhance your body's natural immunity. One to three cups of chaga tea should be sufficient for a day.
You can also infuse chaga powder into your smoothie, especially during hot weather when it's not sensical to drink a hot beverage. Once you have decided on your smoothie recipe, add a teaspoon of chaga powder and blend. Remember that smoothies require more preparation time so planning might be necessary.
Not so many people will turn down a cold confection on a hot day. Chaga's versatility means it can be consumed with practically anything, including freezer pops. So instead of a smoothie of tea, you can combine your chaga tea with fruit juice and freeze the mixture in an ice cube or popsicle mold.
To make chaga-infused edibles, mix chaga mushroom powder or chaga tea into the ingredients. Whether it's a pancake, biscuit, or cake, there is no reason not to enhance your edibles with chaga.
The best weight loss results are achieved when chaga mushroom consumption is complemented by an exercise program and a healthy diet. So, it is advisable to work with a nutritionist to learn how to eat healthily and still lose weight.