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Healthy Habits; Turkey Tail Mushrooms

Turkey Tail Mushroom

These medicinal mushrooms may be more easily identified in the woods than others because of their appearance resembling a fanned out turkey’s tail with rings of color – shades of brown, yellow, orange, cream and gray on the caps. They can be cultivated anywhere but are native to temperate forests in the U.S., Canada and Europe. They grow up to 4 inches long and can be found on tree stumps, tree trunks, and on the decomposing wood of deciduous trees.

Regulates Cortisol Levels

The adaptogens in turkey tail mushrooms help your body easily adapt to stressful conditions through the regulation of your cortisol levels. By increasing your body’s resistance to stress, they also assist your immune system by bolstering regulatory T cells (Tregs).

Gut Health

Turkey tail mushrooms (botanical name: Coriolus versicolor, or Trametes versicolor) contain prebiotics that boost your gut health by promoting the development of good bacteria (probiotics). They promote optimal digestion by helping lower gut pH, which raises the concentration of gut organic acids. These fungi are also a rich source of fiber.

Immune System Boost/Cancer Fighting

They contain krestin (PSK) and polysaccharide peptides (PSP) that give your immune system a boost. Studies reveal that krestin was also found to help fight colon cancer and promote the growth of infection-fighting monocytes. Also, if your are undergoing chemotherapy treatments (which weaken the immune system), supplementing with turkey tail mushrooms can help support you by strengthening immunity. Always do your research and check with your doc first!

Pain Management

This mushroom needs a cape because its superhero powers extend even beyond fighting cancers, improving your immune system and promoting optimal digestion, they can also help with pain management! Their anti-inflammatory properties along with the potent antioxidants they contain, such as flavonoids and phenols, help relieve pain naturally. In addition, they are a great natural supplement to take for heart health.

Here are several more of their many reported health benefits: helps prevent bacterial & viral infections, boosts good cholesterol levels/lowers bad cholesterol levels, enhances memory, helps lower blood sugar levels/improves insulin resistance, and helps prevent neurodegenerative diseases. (*The antioxidants in turkey tail mushrooms, quercetin & baicalein, have been proven in studies to protect against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease.)

When purchasing medicinal mushrooms, whether fresh or dried/powdered, make sure you find a reputable seller with integrity that offers a tested for purity product with the organically grown certified label. Four Sigmatic Brand is a good one, in my opinion. They offer medicinal mushroom powder blends that are easy to add in with shakes. They even have an instant coffee mix that has lion’s mane mushroom extract. (You can read about the benefits of lion’s mane mushroom in my column in the 5-19-2022 Clarion edition.)

Be Well and God Bless You.

Jennifer Wimmer

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