October 10 is World Mental Health Day

Though it’s important every day, World Mental Health Day is marked annually on October 10. It was established in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), an organization representing over 100 mental health associations in over 120 countries. Their goal is to educate the public about mental health and mobilize efforts to improve it.

To mark the day, we’ve rounded up some ways you can support your own mental health.

What Is Mental Health?

Mental health is a state of emotional well-being in which an individual can realize their own potential, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and fruitfully, and contribute to their community. Mental health is an important part of overall health and wellness as it includes the ability to enjoy life and to develop a wide range of skills and interests. It affects all aspects of our lives, including our physical health, work performance, and connection with others.

Mental health can be impacted by many different factors, including:

  • Stressors
  • Trauma
  • Depression or anxiety disorders
  • Substance use disorders (including alcohol and drugs)
  • Chronic conditions like pain, fatigue, hormonal imbalance, autoimmune diseases, and anything that affects one’s ability to enjoy life

Our mental health affects what we think about ourselves, how we relate to others, and what choices we make.

What Are Some Ways to Improve Mental Health?

Mental health conditions can affect anyone. So, if you’re struggling with your mental health, or know someone who is, it’s important that you know you’re not alone. Here are some ways to take care of yourself:

  • Reach out for help, whether that be by talking to a friend or family member or going to see a therapist or health practitioner.
  • Practice self-care by taking time for yourself each day. This could mean taking a walk outside on your lunch break, practicing ten minutes or more of breath work or meditation, or doing some stretches or taking a soothing bath at the end of your day instead of immediately turning to the TV.
  • Eat healthy, brain-supportive foods like omega-3-rich nuts (walnuts are shaped like brains!), seeds, and fatty fish, as well as leafy greens, brightly coloured vegetables, and berries.
  • Keep your gut healthy by including fermented foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, miso, and kimchi, as they provide good bacteria (probiotics) that are key to our emotions. The digestive system provides more feel-good serotonin than the brain.
  • Include movement activities. This might be going to the gym or playing a sport, but it can also be stretching, going for a hike in nature, walking your dog (or cat—getting to be more common!), doing some yoga or tai chi, and even just taking the stairs or parking your car a little further from where you need to be.
  • Get enough restorative sleep. Create a wind-down routine and shut off backlit screens a few hours before bedtime, address sleep disorders like sleep apnea, and make sure your bedroom is geared for a restful environment.
  • Seek joy. That doesn’t mean always being joyful, of course, but find activities, places, people, and animals where you can feel pleasure, awe, flow, peace, and comfort.
  • Express yourself. While we may not enjoy feeling angry, frustrated, sad, hurt, lonely, fearful, anxious, or worried, suppressing our emotions and pretending they aren’t happening doesn’t necessarily make them better. Of course, there’s a time and place for strong emotions, but stoicism isn’t always the best approach. What we feel is valid and important.
  • Practice gratitude. Some days this can be particularly difficult, but seeking and expressing gratitude for even the tiniest of things can help shine a bit of light.

Mental health concerns affect everyone, whether we realize it or not. The good news is that there are many ways we can help ourselves stay mentally healthy—not just during this special day, but every day of the year.

How Can Reishi Improve Mental Health?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), reishi mushroom is one of the top herbs for calming the nervous system. It is also recognized as a powerful adaptogen, meaning it helps the body adapt to stressors and can support the body’s natural defences against physical, chemical, and biological stressors. This makes reishi an excellent choice for people looking to improve their mental health as well as their physical health.

Reishi is known to have a very positive effect on the mind, and many people use it for mental health issues, including:

Depression: Reishi can help reduce depressive symptoms by balancing hormones and supporting neurotransmitters. The anti-inflammatory properties of reishi also help reduce the risk of developing depression in the first place.

Anxiety: Reishi can help reduce anxiety by regulating neurotransmitters, balancing hormones, and reducing inflammation.

Stress: Reishi has been shown to reduce stress levels by increasing serotonin production while decreasing cortisol production (the stress hormone).

Reishi may be a strong tool for improving mental health and stabilizing mood swings. It’s a great option for anyone suffering from depression or anxiety. And the best part is, you can use reishi to complement your existing treatment plan, not replace it. So, what are you waiting for?

The more we talk about mental health, the more others will realize they aren’t alone. And hopefully, they’ll feel comfortable reaching out to get help if they need it. Knowledge is power, after all.

Can Reishi Help with Rheumatoid Arthritis?

September is Arthritis Awareness Month, and we’re here to help you get the support you need.

Arthritis can affect anyone at any age, but most forms of arthritis are more common in older adults. Even though it’s a common condition, there are still many people who don’t understand what arthritis is or how it can impact your life. If you’re one of them, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered!

What is Arthritis? 

Arthritis isn’t just about pain—it’s about the physical limitations that come with having a chronic health condition like arthritis. It’s about being unable to do things you love because of the pain, discomfort, or limitations in your ability to move your body. It’s about the emotional toll that comes from feeling helpless against something as simple as walking downstairs or getting out of bed.

There are over 100 different types of arthritis, but one common type is rheumatoid arthritis (RA). 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes pain and inflammation in the joints. When people think of arthritis, they usually think of the wear-and-tear damage of osteoarthritis, but rheumatoid arthritis is caused when the immune system attacks the healthy tissue of your joints. This can eventually lead to deformities of the joints.

The joints may feel tender and warm and appear swollen. The stiffness of the joints is usually worse in the mornings and after periods of inactivity, improving with movement. RA tends to affect the smaller joints of the body first, especially in the joints where the fingers attach to the hands and the toes attach to the feet. As the disease progresses, these symptoms can spread to the wrists, elbows, shoulders, ankles, knees, and hips. The pain and dysfunction typically appear in the same joints on both sides of the body. Some people with RA also experience signs and symptoms unrelated to the joints, but affecting the skin, salivary glands, nerves, blood vessels, bone marrow, eyes, lungs, heart, or kidneys. It can also cause fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite.

There are many treatments available for rheumatoid arthritis, including medications, physical therapy, exercise, and (where appropriate) weight loss. But one effective ways to fight rheumatoid arthritis that you may not yet know about is to include reishi mushroom as part of your routine.

How Reishi Mushroom Fights Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and are you looking for a natural and effective way to treat your symptoms, this revered mushroom is worth a close look.

Reishi mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine to calm the nervous system, strengthen the body, and treat lung and heart issues. It has been called “the food of the immortals.” Reishi has now been found to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease the painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, while its ability to help regulate the immune system can help tame the overzealous immune system.

The benefits of reishi mushroom for rheumatoid arthritis include:

1) Anti-inflammatory effects: Reishi’s main active ingredient is a group of compounds called triterpenoids. Studies (1, 2) have shown that these compounds have anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce swelling in your joints and slow down the progression of your disease. 

2) Antioxidant effects: Reishi contains many antioxidants that help protect your body from free radicals which would cause damage to cells and tissues throughout your body.

3) Addressing the overactive immune system: Because rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder whereupon the body attacks its own healthy cells, getting to the root of the problem means helping to regulate the immune system. One of the main benefits of reishi is its ability to help regulate the immune system—called immunomodulation.  

In addition to doing your best to stay active, eat healthy, get enough sleep, and manage your stress, taking a premium reishi mushroom supplement can help you manage your arthritis so that you can live a better life. 

12 Ways to Start Practicing Self-Care

Did you know that July 24th is International Self-Care Day? It’s an opportunity to raise awareness about self-care and the important role it plays in leading a healthy lifestyle. While International Self-Care Day is observed on July 24th, self-care is important to lifelong health and wellness and should be practiced regularly.

Good self-care means taking care of yourself in the best way you can and making choices that support your physical and mental health. This includes things like eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and exercising. But it can also mean spending time with friends and family, enjoying a hobby, and getting out in nature.

Read on to learn 12 ways to help expand self-care day to every day—or at least most days.

1. Practice yoga, tai chi, qi gong, or meditation.

These breath-focused practices help calm your nervous system and improve your overall health. You can practice on your own, but it can also be helpful to join a class or connect with other people who practice yoga or meditation in your community through community centres, local studios and clinics, or something like Meetup. When you’re busy and want to practice on a flexible schedule, there are many online sites like Glo and MindBodyGreen. Many of your favourite local instructors also offer their own online courses.

2. Get moving.

Exercise can help you feel better physically, but it also releases endorphins which make you feel good emotionally. Find an activity that you enjoy, whether it’s walking, hiking, swimming, cycling, joining a sports team, or checking out some new activity that’s growing in popularity, like pickleball.

3. Schedule “me time.”

Think about what makes you feel good when you’re stressed out or feeling blue. Maybe it’s listening to music or taking a walk in nature or walking on the beach. Whatever it is, schedule some time each day (or week) when you can do those things without interruption from others.

4. Prioritize sleep.

Sleep is vital to your health because it helps regulate hormones, maintain weight, and boost immunity, among other things. It also improves mood, reduces stress, and lowers blood pressure.

5. Nourish your body! Eat healthy food.

Eating well is important for both physical and mental health. Eating nutrient-rich foods provides the energy needed for daily activities while also helping to prevent disease by reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and a slew of other health issues.

6. Drink more water.

Dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue, and poor concentration. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. If you’re thirsty, drink water rather than sugary beverages or caffeinated drinks like soda or coffee.

7. Express gratitude.

Being grateful can help reduce stress and increase happiness. Think about all the things you have in your life that are good, or even great. These could be big things like your health or a loving family, or smaller things like your ability to get to work on time. Write down five things you’re grateful for every night before you go to bed, then read them out loud while savouring the feeling of gratitude!

8. Take a break from technology.

Turn off your phone for one hour each day or go on a digital detox for the weekend. If you’re getting out in nature or spending time with family or friends, these are excellent times to take a break from your phone and social media. This can give you more time to focus on what matters most. While you might want to stay up to date with the news, you may also benefit from news-free days so that you don’t get overwhelmed. On a regular basis, it’s also ideal to limit the number and way that you get notifications.

9. Spend time with friends and family.

Socializing with people who make you feel good makes you feel good! Some of us like to spend time with groups, while others are better one on one. Either way, spend time with those who support the choices you make to take care of yourself.

10. Do something creative.

Getting a chance to express your creativity is often forgotten about when it comes to supporting health and wellness, but it has many benefits. Creative activities often cause a “state of flow,” also called “in the zone,” that helps people feel calm, feel at peace or happy, experience improved self-esteem, and find it easier to cope with difficult emotions. It also helps with motivation, which may make it easier to eat healthy and exercise! Try doing something creative like painting, writing poetry, or playing music—whatever makes your heart sing (or at least hum).

11. Seek help.

Sometimes it’s tough to self-evaluate what you can do to best support your health. Seek out a care provider (or more than one) who can offer you both physical and emotional health guidance.

12. Take reishi.

Reishi mushroom has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine to improve health and vitality. As an adaptogenic, it has a wide range of health benefits. It’s been shown to support the immune system and promote a calm nervous system, making it a perfect addition to your self-care routine.

It’s important to remember that self-care is a practice. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time to get into the habit, but it’s well worth the effort!

Understanding Celiac Disease and How to Live With It

May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month, a time for celiacs worldwide to come together and highlight the struggles and issues surrounding this autoimmune disease and its management. That’s why we’ve created this blog to spread awareness around celiac disease and give you tips on how to live with it.

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition. If you have celiac disease, eating gluten — a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley — will trigger your immune system to attack the lining of your small intestine. When this happens, it can make it difficult for your body to absorb the nutrients from food.

If you think you may have celiac disease, you might be considering a gluten-free diet. If you try this and feel an improvement in your symptoms, but want to get tested, know that you’ll need to eat gluten again before you get the test. Otherwise, you may not get an accurate result. Also, if you’re considering starting a gluten-free diet, you may want to speak to a health professional to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs.

What are the symptoms of celiac disease?

The symptoms of celiac disease vary from person to person. Some people may experience none at all, while others may experience severe symptoms. These include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Fatigue and weakness

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a health professional for assessment. Even if you don’t have celiac disease, you may be gluten-sensitive and feel better with reduced or no gluten in your diet. It’s also possible that you don’t feel better with a gluten-free diet, so it’s not a panacea.

Is there a cure for celiac disease?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for celiac disease. The only treatment for celiac disease is a lifelong gluten-free diet. The goal of this diet is to eliminate all traces of gluten from your diet and allow your small intestine to heal completely so it can absorb nutrients properly again.

What foods can I eat if I have celiac disease?

Celiac disease is a lifelong condition, so it’s important to be aware of what you can and cannot eat. A dietitian, nutritionist, or other qualified health professional can help you learn about your options for a healthy diet that includes foods that are safe for your body.

Here are some gluten-free foods that you can eat:

  • Gluten-free grains: rice, corn, quinoa, and buckwheat (note that the latter two are actually seeds, but are cooked like grains)
  • Gluten-free flours: almond flour, coconut flour, potato starch, and arrowroot powder
  • Gluten-free oats (make sure they aren’t processed in the same equipment that processes wheat products)
  • Beans: black beans, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, and edamame beans

If you have celiac disease, it’s important that you follow a strict gluten-free diet for life. You may also find it helpful to carefully select where you eat out. Ask restaurants if they can accommodate your gluten-free requests, including not using the same utensils and cooking tools for your gluten-free meal as they use for other gluten-containing foods.

Can reishi mushrooms help treat celiac disease?

Reishi mushrooms have long been used in Chinese medicine to improve health and treat various ailments. They contain many active compounds including triterpenoids, polysaccharides, and ergosterols that help improve immune function.

Some studies show that reishi mushrooms may help improve symptoms of patients with celiac disease by reducing inflammation caused by an autoimmune response triggered by gluten ingestion. If you’ve been “glutened,” taking reishi mushrooms may help you suffer less and recover more quickly.

The more that awareness is created around celiac disease, the more it can help give those diagnosed with it a chance at living a happier and healthier life because people won’t just assume that those asking for “gluten-free” are doing it to follow a health trend. The month of May is dedicated to raising as much public awareness as possible and giving those with celiac disease a chance to embrace a brighter future.

Celebrate World Health Day with Reishi

Did you know that April 7 is World Health Day? This day is a time to raise awareness for global health issues, recognize the efforts and achievements made to improve health internationally, and focus on policies that are needed to overcome these health challenges.

As a way to celebrate World Health Day, here is a list of things you can do to promote healthy living for yourself, your family, and your community.

  1. Be physically active. You don’t need to spend hours at the gym. In fact, for most people, that simply isn’t possible. A simple approach is to just move your body more. That might mean a regular at-home or outdoor exercise routine, organized sporting activities, or actively playing with your kids or pets. It can also mean taking the stairs instead of the elevator, when possible. And, if you can, then walk or cycle to work or to run errands. Not only is it better for your body, but it’s a great way to save some money on gas!
  2. Eat healthy food. It’s not enough to just exercise regularly — you also have to watch what you eat if you want to be healthier, but there is no one way to eat right. In fact, what works great for one person may make another feel awful. In general, however, more whole foods and fewer processed foods is key. Make sure you eat lots of vegetables, get enough fibre, choose healthy fats, and select high-quality proteins. While variety and moderation are words that come up often when talking about eating well, that doesn’t make it has to taste bland. Use herbs and spices to add flavour and you’ll also get their added health benefits.
  3. Reduce stress. Stress is a global health epidemic, but it’s not something that has to continue to break you down. While stressors will happen, it’s important to find ways to manage your stress response. Make time each day for things you enjoy, and make sure to get enough sleep every night. There are also many stress management techniques that can help you relax and unwind, including, yoga, meditation, exercise, and deep breathing.
  4. Take care of your mental health. No matter how busy you are, always remember that your mental health is a major priority. Don’t forget to take care of your mind as well as your body. If you feel like you may not be mentally well, do not ignore it. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to get professional help as soon as possible.
  5. Volunteer in your community. Join efforts that promote health in your community. Volunteering has physical and mental health benefits. It helps you feel happier, more connected with others, and improves self-esteem and confidence. There are numerous opportunities to volunteer to help others in need. From your local food bank to your local hospital, there are many ways you can lend a helping hand.
  6. Plant a tree, tend to plants. Trees are good for our health as they remove air pollution and cool down urban areas in summer. They also provide a habitat for wildlife, and people can enjoy being close to trees in green spaces.

    If you don’t have a place to plant a tree outdoors, bring smaller plants into your home. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, easy-to-care-for plants like spider plants, English ivy, mother-in-law’s tongue, and peace lily can help improve your indoor air quality and make you feel better.

    If you have space to grow your own herbs or food, even better! Getting your hands in the dirt is therapeutic—and having the fresh food you grow can’t be beat.
  7. Donate items you no longer use. Support organizations that provide basic necessities like food and clothing to help people who are affected by poverty or natural disasters. For example, you could donate gently used clothing or household goods to help the less fortunate.
  8. Give blood. Did you know that giving blood just once can save three lives? Your local blood donation centre is always looking for new donors. Not only does it help save lives, but it also makes you feel great knowing you’re helping people in your community!
  9. Recycle. The number of plastics that end up in our oceans and landfills is causing serious problems for our environment, our wildlife, and our health. Recycling not only saves the environment but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions. We can all do our part by minimizing our use of plastic and by recycling plastic bottles, paper bags, glass jars, and aluminum cans — which are all prime examples of recyclable products we use every day.
  10. Incorporating reishi mushrooms into your life. If you want to mark the occasion with something that will help you take care of your own health, I recommend taking reishi mushrooms. These fabulous fungi have been used for thousands of years as something of a panacea for everything from cancer to heart disease, and many modern studies support these claims. Reishi mushrooms are said to help strengthen a balanced immune response, fighting off viruses that cause colds and flus, and well as taming an over-responsive immune system that causes allergies or autoimmune disorders. They also help your body adapt to stressors, calming your nervous system and providing you more energy.

In order to take care of the health of our world, it’s important you also take the time to make your own health a priority. A healthy mind and healthy body are crucial to living a fulfilled life. These tips will help you get started in your journey to more health and happiness, so don’t wait another day, get started this World Health Day.

Making Your Own Luck with Reishi

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner! While its origin is a religious holiday in Ireland—a day when Christians would take a break from Lent prohibitions to dance, drink, and feast—it’s now celebrated by people of all backgrounds, around the world.

You can’t go wrong with a little extra luck on St. Patrick’s Day! But what if the luck isn’t really luck at all? What if you can make your own health luck, or at least improve your odds?

In Ireland, the shamrock, or three-leaf clover, is considered a sacred plant. It represents the Holy Trinity and is believed to possess mystical healing powers. Just as the shamrock is considered a sacred plant in Ireland, reishi is named the “holy herb” in Asia. Chinese herbalists thought that reishi had so many healing properties that they considered it sacred. It was considered so important that it’s carved into royal furniture as a sign of good luck and health!

Reishi has been used to treat everything from minor health conditions like coughs and colds to more serious problems like high blood pressure and even cancer. Today, this medicinal mushroom is still widely used for a variety of ailments.

Reishi mushrooms has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years as a natural remedy to boost health and support longevity.

Some of the key benefits of reishi are:

  • Helping you feel calmer and sleep better
  • Improving your focus and mental clarity
  • Reducing your blood sugar levels
  • Decreasing inflammation in your body
  • Strengthening and modulating your immune system
  • Supporting your heart, liver, and kidneys

Live a Long and Happy Life!

Reishi can help you live a long and happy life. And let’s be real, living a long and happy life sounds pretty lucky! As an adaptogen, it helps your body adapt to stressors of all kinds—physical, mental, and emotional. Reishi calms the nervous system and helps to promote a deep restful sleep. This can help you feel more balanced and less anxious, which in turn can make you feel happier and healthier.

Reishi contains polysaccharides that have been shown to have immune supporting effects. Reishi also contains triterpenes that are thought to help in modulating inflammation. And for those who do celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a bit too much green beer or too many Irish mules or cocktails, reishi can support the health of your liver, supporting your recovery. You can certainly make sure to take a reishi capsule before and after partying, but taking it regularly is a better bet.

For many, St. Patrick’s Day is about celebrating luck and good fortune. But when it comes to health, you can’t always leave things to chance. Taking reishi regularly is a great way to take the reins and get “lucky” when it comes to your health.

So, this St. Patrick’s Day, whether you do or don’t skip out on the green beer, try out some reishi supplements and you might just be the luckiest person at the party!

Year of the Tiger – Getting Strong and Resilient with Reishi

Happy Lunar New Year! The Lunar New Year is one of the biggest holidays in Asia. And this year, people all over the world are celebrating the Year of the Tiger. The tiger is a symbol of strength, power, and endurance. So, we thought it be the perfect time to discuss how you can get stronger with reishi to bring out the (calm) tiger in you!

Unleashing the awesome affects of adaptogens

Reishi has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It was believed to have mystical properties that could help people achieve immortality. While we now know it can’t magically cause you to live forever, it’s clear that this amazing herb is a powerful tool to improving many lives. Today, it’s used as an adaptogen — a natural remedy that can help the body cope with stress and improve overall health.

Adaptogens are natural substances that help the body adapt to stress and promote resistance to a wide range of physical, chemical, and biological stressors. Just like the terms “antioxidant” and “anti-inflammatory,” the term “adaptogen” has become an important buzz world in the wellness world, so it’s no surprise that reishi is one of the most popular fungi around.

Offering a wealth of health benefits

Speaking of those well-recognized terms, modern scientific research has shown that reishi mushrooms contain a wealth of antioxidants and compounds with anti-inflammatory and immune-supporting properties. In fact, reishi is so powerful that it’s sometimes nicknamed the “king of mushrooms.”

Reishi mushrooms are rich in many different plant compounds and nutrients that are responsible for their health benefits. These include polysaccharides, triterpenes, and ganoderic acids. Polysaccharides are a type of carbohydrate that have been shown to help protect against cancer, diabetes, infectious diseases, and digestive disorders. Triterpenes have antioxidant properties that may help reduce inflammation, improve blood flow, lower cholesterol, and enhance liver function. Lastly, ganoderic acids may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, protect the liver from toxins, and enhance immune function.

Packing a powerful health punch

As you just read, reishi mushrooms offer up a powerhouse of mighty health benefits. In TCM, they are considered “Qi tonics,” particularly for the heart and lungs, and their recognized title of adaptogen supports this. Reishi provides a plethora of hearty health advantages, and it supports energy and endurance by increasing oxygen uptake via the lungs.

At the same time as we love the idea of more energy, most of us don’t want to feel jittery, anxious, or overstimulated. One of the best things about reishi is that it can help calm the nervous system while supplying more get up and go when we need it. After a couple of stressful and exhausting years, feeling calm and focused for the Year of the Tiger sounds like a great plan! If the start to the new lunar year is having you reflect on how you can improve your health in the year ahead, why not add reishi to your routine?

Happy Year of the Tiger!

Keep Your New Year’s Resolution and Lose Weight with Reishi

New Year’s resolutions have a bad reputation for being tough to keep, and weight loss is one of the most common (and high failure) resolutions. So, if you’re already feeling disappointed in your attempts to start to lose weight this year, don’t let that discourage you because we’re here to keep you motivated and on track to accomplish your weight-loss goals this year.

Why is excess weight hard to lose?

There are many reasons why loss of excess weight can be so difficult. Like most health issues, there can be a combination of nature (genetics) and nurture (lifestyle) issues contributing to health challenges. Some of the more common medical reasons for weight gain include insulin resistance (poor blood sugar metabolism) and diabetes, dysbiosis (imbalance of gut bacteria) and other digestive disorders, hypothyroidism, depression, and hormonal imbalance and menopause.

Further to that, chronic stress can cause too much cortisol production. Made by the adrenal glands, cortisol is a steroid hormone that can increase appetite and the amount of sugar in the bloodstream, causing weight gain, particularly around the middle. Insufficient sleep time, including that caused by simply not allotting enough time for rest, insomnia, and sleep apnea can also contribute to weight gain.

Reishi can support healthy weight loss

Wild mushrooms called “lingzhi” in China and “reishi” in Japan are found growing on dead trees in forests throughout the world. But herbologists have been cultivating this incredible mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) for over 2000 years because of its medicinal properties. Used to treat everything from asthma to heart palpitations, this mushroom has also been found to have anti-diabetic compounds.

In a study published by MDPI, a publisher of peer-reviewed open access journals, a team of researchers found that extracts from reishi mushroom can reduce obesity in mice. Mice fed a diet that included Ganoderma lucidum were found to have a better ability to metabolize glucose, had less accumulation of fat in the liver, and had smaller fat cells, all of which resulted in weight loss.

Another group of researchers investigated reishi’s ability to help with preventing obesity associated with chronic low-grade inflammation and imbalance in the gut bacteria. They found that a water extract of reishi mushroom helped reduce body weight, inflammation, and insulin-resistance. At least part of the reason was that reishi helped restore the gut’s microbiome—a healthy foundation of good bacteria in the digestive system.

Because chronic stress and sleep disorders can also contribute to weight gain and make it harder to lose excess weight, anything that can help manage these issues can assist with reaching a healthy weight. Reishi is most recognized for its adaptogenic properties, helping the body to better deal with stressors, and in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is classified as an herb that helps to calm the mind.

If you’re looking for ways to keep your New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and get healthier, in addition to watching what you eat, exercising regularly, and sleeping soundly, supplementing with reishi mushroom can help reach your health goals for 2022 and beyond.

12 Days of Christmas Health with Reishi

The holiday season is upon us! During this time of year, people can find it challenging to prioritize their health. With all the celebrations, treats, and prepping for the festivities, it can be easy to let good habits slide. Check out the following 12 benefits of reishi and how this miracle mushroom can keep your well-being on track over the Christmas holidays and beyond.

On the first day of Christmas, a TCM practitioner said to me, reishi mushrooms can…

1. Strengthen the immune system

A tonic with over 200 polysaccharides, reishi helps enhance an appropriate immune system response. This is called immune system modulation, meaning it fortifies the body’s defences when called to fight a flu or cold and calms an over-reactive response as occurs for allergies and other autoimmune imbalances.

2. Slow or prevents cancer

The traditional use of reishi in the treatment of cancer dates back thousands of years. Its immune-supporting polysaccharides, specifically beta-glucans and triterpenes, have been shown to inhibit and slow tumour growth from cancer cell lines, as well as lower inflammation. Additionally, studies have shown that reishi can help reduce the side effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

3. Reduce stress

Perhaps one of the most recognized aspects of reishi’s health benefits is its ability to calm and reduce feelings of stress. Over the busy holiday season, reishi is a valuable ally for keeping our mental health strong. Reishi mushroom is revered in TCM as a leading calm the spirit and mind herb that can help enhance restful sleep, manage stress, reduce anxiety, and improve mood.

4. Boost energy

Reishi mushroom is also a powerful energy booster, though it is not a stimulant. Taking reishi helps the body stay balanced and function optimally, which results in an increased sense of vitality. For those who often feel tired, especially if they are “wired but tired”—exhausted, but unable to sleep or rest—reishi can provide a solution.

5. Reduce inflammation

Part of the body’s adaptive response to infection is inflammation, protecting it against foreign invading organisms such as bacteria and viruses. The immune system and the healing process rely on it. Prolonged or chronic inflammation, however, can cause a wide range of symptoms, including redness, swelling, joint pain, and more serious autoimmune conditions like type I diabetes and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

There are a host of anti-inflammatory compounds in reishi, such as immune-modulating polysaccharides, triterpenes, and phenolics. As an immune modulator and anti-inflammatory, reishi could be used to treat autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

6. Support the heart

In the developing world, heart disease is among the leading causes of death. Reishi has been shown by scientific research to benefit heart health. As a result of its high antioxidant, sterol, ganoderic acid (triterpene), coumarin, mannitol, and polysaccharide content, reishi offers great cardiovascular support. These compounds offer valuable protection against many risk factors that contribute to heart disease and stroke.

7. Promote liver health

The liver is the body’s second largest organ, and it has hundreds of functions, including being closely involved in digestion and detoxification. Stress, junk food, drinking, smoking, and drugs all negatively impact the liver, decreasing the toxic overload on your liver allows your body to detoxify, methylate, regenerate, and produce energy more efficiently.

Reishi has been used for thousands of years for its liver-supporting properties. In studies, triterpenes—compounds found only in the cap and stem (whole mushroom)—seem to be the main compounds involved in these benefits.

8. Support the lungs

As an energy tonic, reishi strengthens and nurtures the lungs. The triterpenes found in reishi help to reduce asthma symptoms and allergic reactions to histamine. Reishi has also been shown to benefit chronic bronchitis.

9. Boost brain health

Reishi mushroom has been known for centuries to help boost brainpower, sharpen memory, and improve concentration and focus.

Researchers have found that polysaccharides can promote neurogenesis and improve cognitive function, with the potential to help treat neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Additionally, these compounds have demonstrated their ability to protect neurons from apoptosis, reduce oxidative stress, and enhance cognitive performance. Triterpenes found in reishi are believed to stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF) production.

10. Relieve allergies

The immune-modulating and anti-inflammatory properties of reishi make it a potent treatment for allergies and other inflammatory conditions.

Allergy symptoms can be relieved with reishi mushrooms. In research, reishi was found to be a natural antihistamine, modulating the body’s reaction to allergens by inhibiting the release of histamine. Additionally, the triterpenes in reishi help reduce allergic reactions and asthmatic symptoms due to histamine release.

11. Promote better sleep

Reishi mushrooms have been shown in clinical trials to improve sleep and calm the nervous system. Reishi mushrooms help reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, and treat insomnia.

Terpenoids in reishi have been shown to promote sedation and soothe the nerves, which can be beneficial to those suffering from neurasthenia and insomnia. Studies have also shown that long-term use of reishi can boost deep sleep.

12. Promote gut health

Reishi mushrooms act as a prebiotic in the gut, helping to establish healthy intestinal flora. Study after study has demonstrated that mushroom polysaccharides, which are long-chain essential sugars within mushroom cell walls, have a prebiotic effect on the gut microbiome. Prebiotics are basically food for the beneficial bacteria in the gut, so they nourish the probiotics, promoting their growth and replication. Additionally, reishi has been found to prevent candida overgrowth. The mushroom is both antifungal and antibacterial.

That’s a lot to offer from one fungus. If you find yourself stuck for gift ideas, perhaps one option could be the gift of wellness.