Medicinal Mushrooms and Heart Health
One of the oldest, most studied botanicals, medicinal mushrooms have been used throughout history to health and protect against a host of life-crippling condition including heart disease.
Let’s turn our attention to two of the most popular mushrooms Reishi and Shiitake and some of the more recent studies on their heart-healthy benefits.
In addition to its effects on the immune system and quality of life, reishi mushroom has been studied for its potential to improve other heart health.
One 12-week study of 26 people showed that reishi mushroom may increase “good” HDL cholesterol and decrease triglycerides.
However, other research in healthy adults showed no improvement in these heart disease risk factors.
Moreover, a large analysis demonstrated no beneficial effects for heart health after examining five different studies containing around 400 people. The researchers found that consuming reishi mushroom for up to 16 weeks did not improve cholesterol.
Shiitake mushrooms contain compounds called statins. These compounds are one of the most prescribed types of pharmaceuticals for lowering blood cholesterol levels. But you can get them naturally by eating mushrooms!
Medicinal mushrooms specifically target the “bad” or LDL cholesterol in your bodies and also improve your “good” or HDL cholesterol levels.
They also lower inflammation which is a major cause of arteries hardening. Mushrooms contain phytonutrients that stop cells from sticking to blood vessel walls and forming a buildup known as plaque (referred to medically as atherosclerosis.)
Both LDL cholesterol and plaques and hardening of the arteries are major risk factors when it comes to heart attacks, stroke, and other forms of heart disease.