Our bodies are a complex orchestra, and inflammation is a bum note amid the symphony. If you’re noticing things aren’t working quite as normal in your body, then inflammation can often be the culprit.
The inconvenient troublemaker is a key part of our immune system response, but it sometimes takes centre stage when it’s not wanted, causing chronic health issues seemingly out of nowhere.
But there’s a new guy in town who wants inflammation to get lost as much as you do, and his name is fungi!
If you’re human, you’ve experienced inflammation. That’s because your body is a busy city guarded by immune defenders. When those guards get a whiff of a threat, they set off a chain reaction designed to fend off the baddies. That reaction? You guessed it - inflammation.
Now, unfortunately, sometimes inflammation goes a little rogue, either in response to a real threat or on its own. Inflammation can basically become your immune system’s overenthusiastic sidekick, thinking it needs to take on the whole city to prevent crime.
In reality, this response causes more harm than it prevents, and inflammation can quickly spiral out of control all over your body, causing numerous issues with your health.
What Are The Causes?
Inflammation has some accomplices, wreaking havoc together in your body and causing the problems it was meant to solve. These are some of the main causes of inflammation that can not only trigger the over-active immunity, but also keep the inflammation party going longer than you’d like!
Filling up on processed foods, refined sugars and red meat is proven to crank up inflammation. Luckily, mixing it up with a combo of veggies, fruits and polyunsaturated fats makes all the difference.
Your gut is like a VIP area at a club, and when the bad bacteria start to kick up a fuss, inflammation is the boot that kicks them out. So, if you have trouble with your gut microbiome, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll have problems with inflammation.
Stress, and especially chronic stress, sends out the signal to release hormones like cortisol. Unfortunately, cortisol’s idea of a good time is to kick your immune system into overdrive. Which means it's time for some stress-busting, or chronic inflammation will quickly follow.
You don’t want environmental toxins hanging around, particularly air pollutants, pesticides and heavy metals. All of these things can overload your liver and immune system both, creating the perfect cocktail for inflammation.
Bacterial, fungal or viral, every infection needs to leave. But sometimes they simply don’t, lingering around and forcing your immune system to work overtime, exhausting you and your body’s energy reserves.
It’s an obvious one, but being super sedentary, smoking heavily and drinking alcohol can all add up to some serious inflammation. Luckily, these are factors you can control, fighting the inflammation before it can take hold!
If you have an autoimmune condition - your immune system attacking itself rather than the real enemies - you’re also dealing with inflammation. Autoimmune diseases force your body to pick fights with itself, and that only invites more inflammation.
Hormones set the mood and send vital signals all around your body’s systems. Mess with their communications, and you’ll get a wild ride of hormonal imbalance and inflammation. Keep the hormones balanced and you’ll avoid the immune chaos.
You may not expect it, but unresolved emotional trauma can cause a lot of issues in your body. Anything that dysregulates your nervous system is traumatic, so don’t underestimate those difficult moments or you may face a prolonged visit from inflammation.
Your body’s nutrient stores can run low if you have trouble with absorption and digestion, or you simply struggle to eat enough. Omega-3’s, vitamins and antioxidants are crucial to keep inflammation at bay. So eat well to stay well!
Gluten and dairy can trigger your immune system into a bit of a frenzy and inflammation will happily join in. If you notice symptoms after eating particular foods, it might be time to ditch them.
Which Mushrooms Can Reduce Inflammation?
Now that you know what can trigger inflammation to cause havoc, you’re probably ready to find out how to tame inflammation with some serious mycelial might. These are the top contenders we’d put forward in this fungi fight:
Lion’s Mane is a mushroom of many accomplishments. It eases depression, aids weight loss, improves sleep, boosts your immune system and balances blood sugar. And on top of all that, research shows that this shroom is an inflammation buster. Putting its powerful compounds like beta-glucans and polysaccharides to use, Lion’s Mane is the anti-inflammatory fungi you can trust in.
Looking for a boost of energy? Or Maybe an inflammation intervention? Cordyceps is a powerful testosterone booster for men and an energy inspiration in one. Paired with its inflammation-calming cordycepin compounds, your immune cells will finally be able to take a breath.
Reishi lowers blood sugar, balances gut bacteria and, that’s right, battles unnecessary inflammation at its source. If you’re looking for some zen-like immune peace, then it’s Reishi you should be looking for.
You’ve probably eaten these mushrooms fairly recently! They’re more than a good side dish for steak. White button mushrooms regulate your immune cell activity, stopping inflammation before it even becomes a problem.
Maitake takes the ring against inflammation without hesitation, but it’s also somewhat of a karate kid when up against the symptoms of cancer. Studies show that Maitake can reduce inflammation and help you regain your pristine health.
Chaga does it all! This happy chappy lowers blood pressure, improves immune function and helps your skin stay healthy for longer. On top of that, inflammation doesn’t have a chance against Chaga’s phenolic compounds, beating inflammation on the microvascular level.
What If You’re Dealing With Autoimmunity?
Good question. If you’re dealing with autoimmune issues, then medicinal mushrooms may well be your new best friends. Shiitake and Lion’s Mane are the mushrooms you want backing you up, since they’re the ultimate peacemakers amid an overactive immune system.
If arthritis is a particular problem for you, then you’ll be glad to know that a 2010 clinical trial hinted that a white mushroom and Shiitake dietary supplement could help reduce arthritis symptoms.
While these research results are just the beginning, there’s plenty of science out there pointing us in the direction of mushrooms in the battle against inflammation.
A Fungi Finale
Inflammation may be the rowdy guest at the party that’s your body’s normal functions, but mushrooms are the bouncers who can kick out inflammation for good and keep the party going.
The next time inflammation tries to gatecrash your well-being, remember the fungi friends you’ve made here and invest in quality mushroom supplements that can keep you fighting fit and inflammation-free.