Slow Down Ageing with Medicinal Mushrooms
Renew skin cells, prevent wrinkles & boost brain function
Ageing is a natural and complex process that all living organisms go through which affects every aspect of life, from physical and emotional health to social and economic wellbeing.
There are many factors that influence the rate at which individuals age, from genetics and lifestyle to environment and nutrition. Dietary and lifestyle factors play a significant role in influencing the ageing process, and the choices you make have the power to either speed up or slow down ageing.
The modern world is obsessed with anti-ageing and the benefits that come with it. As we age, our bodies become less efficient, leading to a decrease in energy, strength and vitality. To combat this, many people turn to natural remedies to help slow the ageing process and improve their overall health. One of the most popular natural remedies for anti-ageing is the use of medicinal mushrooms.
Learn which dietary and lifestyle factors impact ageing the most and the best medicinal mushrooms to prevent premature ageing.
Factors that influence ageing
Eating too much sugar, damaged oils and processed foods can increase inflammation and contribute to premature ageing. On the other hand, a nutritious diet rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, thus slowing down the ageing process. This is why eating organic fruit and vegetables and healthy fats (seeds, avocado, flaxseed oil) is vital. Including brain-boosting foods like leafy greens, broccoli and blueberries in your diet is also important to keep your brain healthy and your memory and concentration sharp. When you eat a nutrient-rich diet, you’re less likely to become deficient in essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, zinc, vitamin D and calcium which are fundamental for healthy skin and bones.
Stress is the number one trigger for premature ageing and makes the body more susceptible to age-related conditions. Chronic stress stimulates the production of excess stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) which increases inflammation and breaks down the skin’s collagen and elastin more rapidly, thus accelerating the formation of wrinkles. Stress also accelerates ageing of the brain and damages cell integrity, causing cells to break down prematurely and die. Finding ways to manage stress naturally is crucial.
Environmental toxins such as air pollution, chemicals in the environment and household products (which subsequently end up in the water system, soil and air), and UV radiation from sun exposure play a significant role in the ageing process. The ultraviolet light from the sun produces a type of radiation that can penetrate the skin’s layers and damage the DNA of skin cells – this can lead to reduced skin elasticity and premature ageing. Constant exposure of air pollutants (such as cigarette smoke) can degrade the skin’s connective tissue, destroying collagen and elastic fibres that keep the skin supple and strong. When the body is overloaded with toxins, it puts pressure on detoxification organs, increasing inflammation and the production of free radicals (molecules that damage cells and induce cell death). Protecting your skin naturally, filtering your tap water and investing in an indoor air filter or air-purifying plants are the best ways to minimise your exposure to environmental toxins.
Exercise and physical activity
Regular physical activity helps to keep the body fit and toned which can help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and skin sagginess. Exercise also helps maintain muscle mass and bone health, keep weight in check and support the immune and cardiovascular systems – all of which help lower inflammation and enhance cellular repair and regeneration. A sedentary lifestyle with no daily movement can speed up ageing. Learn how to exercise properly.
Alcohol, smoking and drugs
Harmful lifestyle habits like drinking alcohol, smoking and taking drugs increase inflammation and toxins in the body, destroying cells in the process. Smoking floods the body with thousands of chemicals that damage skin cells which can form deeper wrinkles around the mouth, lips and eyes. Alcohol dehydrates cells; the skin needs plenty of fluids (filtered water) to stay supple and maintain elasticity. Drinking fresh lemon in water first thing in the morning helps to support liver function and detoxify chemicals from the body.
Lack of sleep
The effects of sleep loss are cumulative, meaning that when you consistently don’t get sufficient sleep, it will impact your body (and mind) significantly. When you’re asleep, your cells grow, repair and regenerate. The peak time for skin repair is between 9 pm to midnight, so if you don’t get to bed until midnight every night, this process is dramatically compromised. Lack of sleep also lowers immune function and can dysregulate blood sugars, both of which impact skin health further. Here are 9 ways to improve sleep.
What are medicinal mushrooms?
Medicinal mushrooms have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, and more recently in Western medicine, to treat a variety of ailments. They are known for their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune-boosting properties, making them an ideal choice for those looking to slow the ageing process and maintain good health. Medicinal mushrooms can be eaten fresh (either raw or cooked) by adding them to soups, stews, hot pots and salads. You can buy them from a farmer’s market, organic box scheme companies or reputable mushroom growers online.
They also come in a powder which is a highly concentrated form of medicinal mushrooms that can easily be added to smoothies and hot drinks, or sprinkled over food – consume ½ to 1 tsp per day. When buying medicinal mushrooms, always opt for pure, organic, wood-grown mushrooms where the supplier has used an extraction method without fillers.
Reishi mushroom, known as the mushroom of immortality, is one of the most popular medicinal mushrooms and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years to maintain longevity and slow down the effects of ageing.
It is renowned for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as well as its ability to boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, and improve circulation and blood flow around the body.
Reishi also has anti-cancer, adaptogen and sleep-promoting properties that support the body in times of stress, enhance sleep quality and destroy cancer cells.
Shiitake mushroom is another popular medicinal mushroom known for its anti-ageing properties. It is rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals (molecules that harm cells).
Shiitake mushroom is also high in B vitamins and minerals, especially copper which is an integral component in collagen production to keep skin firm and wrinkle-free. Niacin (B3) protects the skin from sun damage.
Shiitake contains anti-inflammatory compounds that facilitate faster skin renewal, improve skin elasticity and prevent dark spots, uneven pigmentation and premature wrinkles.
Maitake mushroom is being touted as the new superfood for anti-ageing and there’s a good reason why. It is known as the dancing mushroom in Japan, after a group of people danced with joy after discovering its incredible healing properties.
Maitake has been used in Asian cultures for decades to restore the body to health and address conditions like diabetes, autoimmune disorders and cancer due to its bountiful nutritional profile and anti-inflammatory compounds. Maitake contains immune-boosting properties called beta-glucans which can stimulate the production of Natural Killer cells – a type of immune cell that destroys cancer cells and slows tumour growth. Rich in antioxidants that stimulate cell growth and healing, maitake is an excellent mushroom for reversing the effects of ageing, revitalising damaged skin and improving overall skin health.
Boost skin health with mushrooms
Medicinal mushrooms are a great choice for those looking to slow the ageing process and improve their health. Each type of mushroom has its own unique set of benefits and can be used to target specific health concerns. For those looking to get the most out of medicinal mushrooms, it is best to combine different types of mushrooms to create a powerful anti-ageing regime that you can easily introduce into your daily routine.
To learn more about superfoods and how to improve your nutrition, take a look at CNM’s range of short, online courses and resources.