Is Reishi an Adaptogen?
There’s no way to sugarcoat this – life is stressful. Luckily, Mother Nature has you covered with adaptogen mushrooms. These are functional mushrooms that stabilize the body’s physiological processes to handle stress better. And one of these is the reishi mushroom.
What Is Adaptogenic Reishi?
Formally known as Ganoderma lucidum, the reishi mushroom is an exotic mushroom that hails from the Far East. It’s a purplish-brown fungus that grows on decaying wood, mainly in China, Japan, and North America.
Reishi has been an essential ingredient in Chinese and Japanese herbal medicines and artwork. It’s associated with wisdom, royalty, and eternal life. That’s why it’s commonly called the “mushroom of immortality.”
Reishi is one of the most important and widely used adaptogens. It contains several compounds that achieve an effect that would have been impossible for each to achieve alone. In other words, the ‘entourage effect’ is visible in this mushroom.
What further adds to its popularity is that its effects are mild and cumulative. And though research is still underway, there’s a wealth of research proving reishi’s adaptogenic properties.
Health Benefits of Reishi
Reishi Helps Maintain a Healthy Weight
The increase of the stress hormone cortisol can result in weight gain. Cortisol is responsible for triggering sugar cravings after stressful situations. It further slows down your metabolism, making weight loss a challenge. This, in turn, may stress you, leading to a vicious cycle.
Combined with lifestyle changes, reishi can promote weight loss. It can further regulate cortisol levels, countering the effects of stress on your weight.
Reishi Combats Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress occurs when free radicals and antioxidants are imbalanced in the body. As a result, cells and tissue may be damaged. This also speeds up the aging process. However, that pales in comparison with the chronic conditions resulting from oxidative stress, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Consuming reishi can help with oxidative stress in several ways.
- Increase Antioxidant Levels – Reishi mushrooms can increase antioxidant activity in the body. More antioxidants in your system can protect cells from damage and reduce the risk of cell mutation.
- Reduce Blood Sugar and Blood Pressure Levels – Stress makes it difficult to control diabetes. Similarly, hormones from stress elevate blood pressure. Luckily, of the 400 nutrients in reishi mushrooms, beta-glucans and triterpenoids can lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
- Prevent Higher Cholesterol Levels – As an adaptogenic mushroom, reishi may help balance cholesterol absorption in your diet. This is important as higher cortisol levels from long-term stress can elevate cholesterol.
- Boost Immune System – Because of the above three, the body’s immune system will become stronger. Reishi takes it further by increasing white blood cells, which are critical for fighting disease.
Reishi Counters the Effect of Stress on the Heart
Stress impacts the heart in both a direct and indirect way. Directly, it increases inflammation in the body, triggering factors that can harm the heart, such as high blood pressure. As for indirectly, it results in lifestyle changes such as unhealthy food changes. These will put your heart health at risk.
The polysaccharides in reishi help protect cardiac muscle cells by activating anti-inflammatory enzymes. And as you know by now, the mushroom lowers blood sugar and blood pressure levels. This, in turn, has a positive impact on the heart.
Besides, reishi increases the ‘good’ cholesterol while reducing triglycerides, a type of fat used for energy. As a result, it improves heart health to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Reishi Improves Sleep and Decreases Anxiety and Depression
Chronic stress can result in many mental health problems and medical issues like insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Thankfully, reishi can help alleviate these. And here’s how.
- The mushroom helps reduce fatigue and depression while improving quality of life.
- It nourishes and calms the central nervous system to promote relaxation.
- It controls hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, preventing them from depleting serotonin and dopamine levels. Without these feel-good hormones, you may experience more depressed feelings or anxiety.
- Reishi boosts brainpower, improves memory, and enhances concentration. Therefore, it can counter the damage stress causes to the brain.
Ready to Try Adaptogenic Reishi?
Reishi is available in different forms, all of which deliver the benefits you just read about. Just make sure to know how to use adaptogens to get the most from it. And truly prevent stress from wreaking havoc on your body.