Can Mushrooms Aid Athletic Performance?

Can Mushrooms Aid Athletic Performance?

Medicinal mushrooms are making a big comeback in herbal and natural medicine, and we’ve talked about some of them in past blogs.

But can they help us reach our fitness and athletic goals? In this blog, we explore how mushrooms have the potential to aid in athletic performance.

Optimal nutrition

It’s important to have a whole food diet that’s rich in vitamins and minerals to keep your heart healthy and muscles and bones strong. Mushrooms are low in calories, carbohydrates, fat and sodium, making them a healthy addition to meals. They also contain antioxidants, which can help with post-exercise recovery and boosting immunity. 

A recent study published in Food Science & Nutrition found that adding half a cup of mushrooms to one’s daily diet could help increase the intake of several micronutrients, especially fibre, potassium, vitamin D, and zinc. Potassium is an electrolyte that plays an important role in fluid and mineral balance and controlling blood pressure.

You can eat mushrooms raw or cooked every day. They are the only natural source of vitamin D in the produce aisle. Vitamin D’s a fat-soluble vitamin, so cooking mushrooms in oil could increase your absorption of vitamin D. Mushrooms can also help with absorbing calcium, which is essential for bone health.

Porcini mushrooms contain the highest amount of ergothioneine and glutathione, two antioxidants known to fight age-related diseases. They’re also high in fibre.

Shiitake mushrooms can help to boost the immune system and contain beta-glucans: fibres that can aid heart health. Just be aware they have double the calories of other mushrooms.

One white button mushroom has over half a gram of protein, which you need to build muscle. Bonus: They’re readily available all year-round. Cremini mushrooms are mature white buttons.

A white bowl of white button mushrooms next to herbs and seeds on the tablecloth

Functional mushrooms

Also known as medicinal mushrooms, functional mushrooms have several potential benefits, including improved aerobic capacity and immunity, reduced fatigue, and clearer thinking. According to Dr. Sandra Carter, founder of Om Mushroom Superfood, most studies done on functional mushrooms show benefits at 2g (1 teaspoon) of powder or capsules per day. A double or triple dose of 4 to 6g per day (2 to 3 teaspoons) for the first few weeks can speed up the benefits (

The 1993 Chinese women’s team dominated the long-distance running event at the world track and field championships in Germany, obliterating three world records and sweeping the podium in the 3000m sport. According to their coach, the athletes regularly enjoyed an elixir of a caterpillar fungus known as cordyceps, and soft-shell turtle soup. 

While there are over 400 species of cordyceps, Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris are the most researched and have shown promising benefits for athletes, as they may increase the production of the organic compound adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to supply muscles with energy. They can also improve how the body uses oxygen during exercise.

Cordyceps is also known to boost energy, increase blood flow, and aid in post-workout muscle recovery. So it may be time to add it to your workout smoothie, or you can try our Cordyceps Perform, which we created with performance and energy in mind.

While you could take other functional mushrooms like chaga, Lion’s mane, maitake, reishi, and turkey tail in supplement form for additional antioxidants, there’s no guarantee they’ll improve your performance. 

You may also find these mushrooms as pills, powders, extracts, coffees, teas, broths, chocolates and more.

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