Diet & Nutrition

The magic mushrooms you ~should~ be eating to reduce stress and boost energy

They are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and stress-reducing properties. So, Jaymie Hooper asks, are adaptogenic mushrooms a regular part of your diet yet?

When it comes to wellness trends, it doesn’t get much bigger than adaptogens.

Famed for their ability to help your body recover from the physical effects of stress (think inflammation, poor energy and digestive woes), adaptogens often end up on our plates in the form of herbs and spices such as ashwagandha or turmeric. Sure, they’re powerful, but there is a more filling option that can pack a mightier punch.

Ever heard of adaptogenic mushrooms? Nurse, naturopath and nutritionist Madeline Calfas explains, “Adaptogenic mushrooms are possibly one of the most studied superfoods. They have an amazing ability to improve your mental acuity, mood, energy levels, immune system and hormones.”

They can also help regulate your bodily systems, prevent your stress levels from becoming too high and improve your immune function. Here are four to try:


Used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine for centuries, maitake mushrooms are renowned for their healing properties.

“Maitake has been shown to help improve immunity,” Calfastells Body+Soul.

“A 2013 study also showed maitake to be of potential benefit in preventing and treating breast cancer as well as helping to improve cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.”

Cook with it: Sprinkle a handful of maitake mushrooms over homemade pizza or add them to stir-fries and soups.

Buy it: Exploding Buds Maitake Mushroom Powder, $27.35.

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“Also known as the queen of mushrooms, reishi helps to regulate hormones, lower cortisol levels and is great for preparing your body for sleep,” explains Calfas.

“It also has the added bonus of being able to help lower elevated blood-sugar levels and decrease excess fat storage.”

Cook with it: Add fresh or dried reishi to soups and stir-fries or add powdered reishi to your smoothies.

Buy it: Teelixir Reishi Mushroom Powder, $28.95.


Shiitake mushrooms are loaded with vitamins D and B as well as immune-boosting zinc.

“There is also evidence showing they help reduce cholesterol levels and boost cardiovascular health,”Calfas tells Body+Soul.

Cook with it: Add fresh or dried shiitakes to stir-fries, healing teas or broths.

Buy it: Jade Phoenix Dried Shiitake Mushrooms, $3.50.

Lion’s Mane

“Looking to improve your concentration, memory and mental clarity? Lion’s mane is for you,” says Calfas.

“It stimulates nerve growth factor, which plays a critical role in maintaining the health and regeneration of neurons in your brain.”

Cook with it: Replace your morning coffee with a teaspoon of powdered lion’s mane in a smoothie to get your brain fired up for the day.

Buy it: Superfeast Lion’s Mane Mushroom Powder, $56.

More health-boosting mushrooms to try

These power-packed mushrooms can also help…

Up your immunity: Ward off those lingering winter sniffles by adding turkey tail to your stews, stocks or broths. Buy Natura Mushrooms Turkey Tail Powder for $34 at Natura Mushrooms.

Protect your skin: Add some antioxidant-rich powdered chaga to your morning smoothie or bone broth to make the most of its anti-ageing and UV-protective effects. Buy Superfeast Chaga for $73 at Superfeast or $71 at Nourished Life.

Re-energise: Feeling fatigued? Add some cordyceps to your routine to help you power through your day. Its creamy flavour is perfect for soups and broths. Buy Life Cykel Cordyceps Mushroom Powder for $49.95 at Life Cykel.

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