Not only can mushrooms help to increase stamina and performance for athletes during exercise, but they can also help to enhance general health and well-being too! Often classified as a vegetable, mushrooms are actually a member of the fungi family and they are nutrient-packed powerhouses. For centuries, traditional Chinese medicine has harnessed the amazing health boosting the potential of many different varieties of mushroom.
Read on to discover more about how superfood mushrooms can help to improve athletic performance.
Mushrooms May Increase Endurance and Stamina
Increasing the length of time that you’re able to exercise, along with the level of intensity that your body is able to tolerate will help you reach your targets from every workout. You can also help to increase your endurance to help reduce the level of discomfort you may feel following strenuous physical activity. When you're stamina increases, your overall fitness and performance will be much better during your exercise regime.
The many varieties of mushrooms which are powerful adaptogens have the natural ability to reduce stress levels in the body, allowing it to a relaxed state after exercise much quicker.
Some types of mushrooms are also thought to improve athletic stamina by supporting a better oxygen flow to blood vessels in the muscles, giving them an additional boost. In fact, Chaga mushroom tea has traditionally been used for centuries by hunters and foresters, seeking to enhance their endurance while on the job.
Mushrooms Can Boost Energy Levels
Mushrooms are naturally packed with B vitamins (including B2, B5, B6, and B12) that help to convert nutrients into easily available energy, which is the ‘fuel’ that the body burns during exercise.
Some varieties of mushroom are also known to help regulate blood sugar levels in the body. When we eat something sweet, our blood sugar levels spike, providing an immediate rush of energy that soon plummets, leading to a slump. These peaks and troughs are common in Western populations, with diets in that often-containing high levels of refined or natural sugar.
Eating mushrooms regularly, alongside other fruits and vegetables in our diets, can help to stabilize blood sugar levels throughout the day. This will lead to more consistent energy provision and reduce the chances of experiencing low-blood sugar level slumps.
Athletes in training and those who exercise regularly will undoubtedly benefit from a steady supply, rather than being at the mercy of hikes and slumps. You can help to boost your energy levels with Cordyceps and Shiitake mushrooms.
Mushrooms May Improve Immune System Function
Athletes in training, or those who do lots of strenuous exercises, are more likely to have a compromised immune system (known as the ‘open window theory’ in exercise immunology).
There are many varieties of mushrooms that contain natural properties to help increase the immune system and help to fight off illnesses and diseases. This is due to the high levels of beta-glucans and polysaccharides which are known to boost immunity via an increased number of T cells, B cells, macrophages, and natural killer cells.
Adding more superfood mushrooms to your diet can help to boost your body’s natural ability to recover from illness while under stress and can keep your training schedule or exercise routine on track.
Mushrooms Can Enhance Mental Focus
Some varieties of mushrooms have been found to support good brain health and cognitive function. This is good news for athletes who need to be mentally as well as physically strong when competing.
Mushrooms are also thought to naturally balance hormone levels in both men and women. Fluctuating hormone levels are often responsible for dramatic shifts in mood and can affect our judgment, clouding the mind and reducing our ability to focus.
Consuming more mushrooms may help athletes to balance hormone levels, allowing them to remain mentally focused and allowing them to avoid distractions. If you’re looking to boost your brain function, try to include Lion’s Mane mushrooms in your diet.
Mushrooms Possess Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Mushrooms contain phenols and other antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory protection, great for athletes and those who exercise regularly, are at greater risk of suffering from injuries like sprains and broken bones. Reducing swelling will help to speed up the recovery time which is another great reason to add more mushrooms to your diet, which will help to boost your overall stamina and performance during exercise.
How Can I Eat More Mushrooms for Stamina?
If you’re looking to enhance any aspect of your physical performance, adding more mushrooms to your daily diet is a great place to start.
Mushrooms are a very versatile culinary ingredient and, whether enjoyed cooked or raw, they can easily be added to a variety of dishes including salads, soups, stir-fries, pasta, and noodles.
They also make a tasty pizza topping, work well as a side dish with any meal and are a great snack food – try chopping your favorite mushrooms variety, sprinkling with olive oil and roast for fifteen minutes for a tasty, crunchy treat.
The Mushroom Council in the US has produced a fantastic fact sheet, detailing a number of ways to enjoy eating your favorite mushroom variety.