Top Mushrooms for Hearth Health
Heart disease, or cardiovascular disease (CVD), is an umbrella term that encompasses several conditions that affect the heart. Conditions like heart muscle disease, irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia), and blood vessel issues like peripheral or coronary artery disease all fall under heart disease.
Approximately 121.5 million United States adults, about half of the population, have a form of heart disease. Heart disease is also the leading cause of death for most racial, ethnic, and sex populations. In 2019, it accounted for 874,613 deaths just in the U.S. alone. To put that number into perspective, 1 out of every 4 deaths in the U.S. is caused by heart disease, which means one person dies every 36 seconds.
Diet and physical activity are critical to preventing heart disease. Following a healthy lifestyle could prevent over 80% of cases of coronary artery disease, 50% of ischemic strokes, 80% of sudden cardiac deaths, and 72% of premature deaths related to heart disease.
In other words, a healthy lifestyle is a good investment in a longer and healthier life.
One investment you can make into a healthy lifestyle is eating more mushrooms. These fungi are little nutritional powerhouses with anti-inflammatory compounds, antioxidants, vitamin D, and other bioactive compounds that help reduce the hardening of the arteries, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Luckily, we know the mushrooms that will bring results in improving your health.
Here are our top 4 mushroom picks to maintain your heart health:
Reishi is one of the most well-known medicinal mushrooms. The reishi mushroom is a fungus that has been used for thousands of years in traditional Eastern medicine to increase energy and prolong life. It contains many bioactive compounds such as triterpenoids, polysaccharides, and peptidoglycans that influence its health properties. In a clinical trial on people with diabetes, reishi helped reduce both blood cholesterol and insulin resistance. Another small trial showed that reishi extract reduced damage to cells that line blood vessels in people with kidney damage, which reduces the risk of heart attacks. Finally, another study on hypertensive rats showed reishi extract lowered blood pressure, with the effects lasting up to 8 hours.
Long ago, cordyceps were considered a tonic for all illnesses, as they were perceived to sustain human vitality. Cordyceps mushrooms contain amino acids, fatty acids, and other minerals to promote energy and endurance.
One study found that this powerful fungus significantly reduced heart injuries in rats with chronic kidney disease. These injuries from chronic kidney disease are thought to increase the risk of heart failure, so minimizing these injuries may help avoid this outcome. Cordyceps may also affect cholesterol levels. Animal research has shown that cordyceps decrease LDL cholesterol. LDL can increase your risk of heart disease because it leads to the buildup of cholesterol in your arteries. Cordyceps has also been shown to decrease triglyceride levels in mice. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood, and high levels are linked to a greater risk of heart disease.
Shiitake mushrooms are prized for their savory taste and myriad of health benefits. Compounds in shiitake may help fight cancer, boost immunity, and support heart health. The nutrients in shiitake mushrooms can reduce blood pressure and stave off many dangerous heart conditions such as aneurysms and heart attacks. Animal testing has concluded that a solution of shiitake powder and water significantly affected the subjects' blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Shiitake also contain organic molecules called purines, including eritadenine, which has been proven to reduce cholesterol in humans.
You can find oyster mushrooms growing all over the world. They love to grow on tree trunks, so you'll find them in most forests, especially in temperate areas like the United Kingdom. In places like Japan, Korea, and China, they have been considered a delicacy and a medicinal hero for centuries. They are also packed with fiber, which benefits your gut and overall health. The beta-glucans found in oyster mushrooms are linked to improving glucose, fat metabolism, and blood pressure. Additionally, oyster mushrooms contain mevinolin, which lowers cholesterol, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and other conditions.
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