Mushrooms are certainly having their moment. Between 2019 and 2020, mushroom sales increased by 20 to 40 percent, and there’s reason to believe they will continue to be one of the top trending foods in 2021. “Mushrooms are a nutrient powerhouse that bring a filling, comforting taste,” Eric Davis, spokesperson for the Mushroom Council, an industry organization, told VegNews. They’re also one of the most sustainably produced foods at the grocery store and are ideal for holding delicious flavor in carryout dishes from your favorite local restaurants. Fungi are truly the perfect partner ingredient for the plant-forward movement. “Their inherent umami and meaty quality make them ideal for those seeking that earthy, filling taste and quality in their plant-forward or plant-based dishes,” Davis says.
Multiple health benefits
Mushrooms come with numerous health benefits, starting with supporting your immune system. “Mushrooms contain unique polysaccharides—beta and alpha glucans—that act like a key in a lock to activate your immune system,” says Sandra Carter, MPH, PhD, founder of Om Mushroom Superfood, adding that mushrooms can increase energy and improve cognitive health, too. Mushrooms also contain fiber and digestive enzymes to help further support gut and immune health, and they have an array of antioxidants that provide protection from free-radical damage and aid in immune function, she adds.
For instance, take selenium, which helps your body make special proteins called antioxidant enzymes that play a role in preventing cell damage, Davis says. Just four crimini mushrooms can provide 38 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for selenium. Now consider Vitamin D, which reduces inflammation and promotes immune function. One portabello mushroom exposed to UV light can provide 120 percent of the RDA for Vitamin D. Although each type of mushroom has a slightly different nutritional makeup, one variety isn’t necessarily healthier than the other, Davis explains. And while whole mushrooms are great to eat on their own or use in cooking, numerous companies are now incorporating mushrooms into their products. Here are 14 to put on your radar.
1. Ancient Nutrition Plant Protein+
This new non-GMO powder is made from seven superseeds like chia, flax, and pumpkin, and herbs and mushrooms. It comes in three flavors—Vanilla, Chocolate or Berry—and is the perfect addition to smoothies, oatmeal, baked goods, or plain water.
2. Take Out Meal-In-A-Bag Puffs
Outstanding Foods recently launched this puffy snack, and the company claims there’s so much protein and other nutrients in these puffs that you can even enjoy them as a meal. The puffs contain a unique vegetable blend that includes maitake and shiitake mushrooms, among other ingredients. The puffs are available in four different flavors: White Chedda, Chili Ranch, Hella Hot, and Pizza Partay.
3. Four Sigmatic Morning Routine
Coffee aficionados, you’re going to love starting your morning with this coffee. You’ll get a dose of lion’s mane and chaga without even realizing it as you sip this delicious dark roast.
4. Laird Original Superfood Creamer with Functional Mushrooms
When it’s creamer you need, get a healthy dose of mushrooms from this popular Laird product. Chaga, cordyceps, lion’s mane, and maitake mushrooms are blended into this creamer so skillfully that you won’t even taste them.
5. MadeGood Granola Bars
These 100-calorie bars contain a hidden ingredient: shiitake mushrooms. They’re part of a six-ingredient vegetable extract mix found in all of these bars, which also includes spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, and beets. Each bar contains enough for one serving of veggies, and not only are they gluten-free, they’re also organic. Choose from seven different flavors.
6. Compartés Vegan Dark Chocolate Bar Matcha Raspberry Reichi
Mushrooms and chocolate might sound like an odd combo, but take one bite of this bar—which features reishi mushrooms—and you’ll be hooked. Bonus? It uses 75 percent organic cacao.
7. Om Mushroom Supplement Hot Drink Mixes
Whether you prefer the hot chocolate, coffee latte, matcha latte, or organic coffee blends, Om has you covered with its lineup of hot drink mixes. All of them have slightly different benefits, but they’re all designed to help you build a healthier immune system.
8. Pan’s Mushroom Jerky
The umami taste of shiitake mushrooms meets the meaty texture of vegan jerky. Choose from four flavors, including original, Zesty Thai, Applewood BBQ, and Salt & Pepper.
9. Four Sigmatic Evening Routine
Is this a superfood drink mix or dessert in disguise? You’ll have a hard time deciding when you taste the organic cocoa mix with reishi mushrooms. Just add hot water or your favorite plant milk and sip it to help you de-stress before bed.
10. Laird Superfood Medium Roast Ground Mushroom Coffee
Elevate that morning cup of Joe with this blend of organic Peruvian coffee beans and three types of organic functional mushrooms, including chaga, lion’s mane, and cordyceps.
11. FX Chocolate Defend
You won’t feel one ounce of guilt when you indulge in a square of this chocolate. That’s because the dark cacao is combined with organic reishi mushroom to help you feel centered, grounded, and resilient.
12. Om Mushroom Supplement Mighty Broths
Two broths in this line are vegan, including the Veggie Miso Broth and Mushroom Broth, and you just add the organic mixes to hot water. Each one contains three or four different mushrooms that make a delicious addition to your day.
13. Shrooms Mushroom Crisps
You know the mushroom craze is real when you see chip-like snacks that are made from mushrooms. The company actually grows its own mushrooms and uses them to create these tasty snacks, which come in four vegan flavors: Pizza, Spicy Jalapeno, Mesquite BBQ, and Sea Salt.
14. Self+ Supplements Drink Mixes
Giving your immune system a boost is as easy as adding a scoop of these drink mixes to water. There are three products in the line, and while they all focus on boosting immunity, thanks in part to the organic mushrooms in the blend, they also have individual benefits that include enhancing your energy, sharpening your brain, and helping you relax. Each blend contains different types of mushrooms.
Karen Asp is the author of Anti-Aging Hacks and award-winning journalist, as well as a fitness pro certified in plant-based nutrition, world record-holding athlete (in Nordic walking), vegan mentor with PETA, and board member with Uplands PEAK Sanctuary, Indiana’s first farmed animal sanctuary.
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