12.15.2015 •

Red Reishi for the Holidays

The holiday season can be a wonderful time of joy, however can also be a time of stress when typical eating habits are thrown off. This time of year often includes many parties, late nights, cocktails, sweet treats, an off-set routine and indulgent dinners. I see many of my clients looking for ways to stay healthy over the holidays and to prevent feeling bloated, tired, stick, stressed and too-full come January 1st. Amongst various dietary, supplement and lifestyle recommendations, one of my favourites is Japanese Red Reishi mushroom.

Red Reishi mushrooms has been used in traditional eastern medicine for over 4000 years and was highly regarded for it’s vast therapeutic application. Today, Reishi is studied within a western context and the amazing benefits are continually discovered. I love recommending Japanese Red Reishi for prevention, or as part of a holistic treatment plan for certain diseases. Red Reishi is exceptional at supporting the body when the body needs it most and can help with the various concerns that most people have throughout this time of year.

Firstly, Red Reishi is considered an adaptogen, which means it helps the body “adapt” to life stressors. Adaptogens help to regulate and moderate stress responses. Since stress is related to many other functions of the body including immune, cardiovascular and hormonal, adaptogens minimize the affect stress has on these other systems. Red Reishi is also known to have a slight relaxing effect too, which also helps to decrease stress. As a bi-product of reducing stress, Red Reishi also modulates and improves energy. The adaptogenic effect of this mushroom makes it the perfect product to include during the holidays.

Red Reishi also contains anti-inflammatory properties and can have a direct effect on blood sugar. It is common to indulge in food and drinks during this time of year and that is not necessarily a bad thing. However, some of the foods that people consume can be inflammatory to the body. This means it may be difficult to digest, may contain food allergies or sensitivities and maybe high in sugar and unhealthy fats. Including anti-inflammatory food and supplements help to offset any negative affects of these pro-inflammatory foods. Furthermore, including Japanese Red Reishi can potentially help to lower blood sugar, which helps to balance out the sugary food and drinks.

Lastly, Red Reishi is also wonderful for immune support. No one wants to be sick over the holidays and as winter is typically the cold and flu season, Red Reishi can help to boost immune functions during this time. Red Reishi is best used preventatively as certain components increase and enhance antibodies to fight bacteria and viruses.

Red Reishi is typically a superior product due to the high standards in growing, harvesting and production. For Reishi, it is optimal for it to be produced in a greenhouse, not a lab and harvested at peak time. Since it is a growing food item, organic is very important. The product should also only contain the therapeutic aspect of the mushroom, which is the concentrated extract. Lastly, when comparing supplements, it is important to look for a high ratio and high content of extract.

Including certain supplements over the holidays, such as Red Reishi, truly allows you to enjoy this time of year and all the happiness that surrounds it. Here is to a happy and healthy holiday season!

Sarah is a Holistic Nutritionist practicing in Toronto, Canada. She runs a multi-faceted nutrition practice that offers 1:1 nutrition counselling and group coaching along with educational workshops and nutrition programs for the community and corporate clients. She also writes for her blog Twist&Sprout and nutrition articles for other sources. Visit www.sarahgoldstein.ca