icon-account icon-glass
  • Food
  • Are Japanese Mushrooms Both The Past And Future Of Wellness?

    29th January 2021

    29th January 2021

    By Shivraj Bassi

    Mushrooms are the stuff of fairy tales. They pop up in your garden, the rainforest or the fields almost overnight. Some of them are merely edible, some are a rare delicacy, some can kill you and yet others can make you healthier. There are thousands of varieties, some of which humans don’t even know about yet. 

    Evolutionarily speaking, funghi, which produces mushrooms as a fruiting body, are more closely related to humans than plants are. This biological proximity allows humans to benefit from mushrooms and how they have evolved to survive and thrive. Many of the components and tactics which mushrooms use to defend themselves against enemies, disease or predators also work on us, as they support and work in tandem with the body’s own defense mechanisms.

    Mushrooms are a very legitimate way to improve your health, wellbeing and immune system, and the more we discover about them the more we find of interest. 

    Mushrooms have been eaten and used as medicine by humans for centuries. The ancient Egyptians believed that eating mushrooms brought long life (and judging by how long the Pyramids have lasted, they know what they’re talking about). Asian countries in particular have been using mushrooms heavily in both their diet and their arsenal of remedies for thousands of years. Chinese medicinal texts show that as far back as 206 BC, reishi mushrooms were being noted for their anti-ageing properties. 

    How do healing mushrooms work?

    Photo by Andrew Ridley on Unsplash

    All mushrooms contain hefty amounts of beta glucans, which have been proven to help strengthen the immune system and help to fight inflammation. Beta glucans are a type of polysaccharide, or dietary fibre, which are linked to increasing the strength and effectiveness of your immune system, helping heart health and even positively affecting cholesterol levels. 

    It’s thought that mushrooms also protect against cancers, particularly breast and other hormone-related cancers, due to the fact that they inhibit an enzyme named aromatase which produces estrogen. Additionally, there’s a high number of lectins in mushrooms. Lectins are a type of protein which bind to carbohydrates and can be strongly beneficial. The kind found in mushrooms recognises cancer cells, and helps to prevent them from further growing and dividing. 

    Health benefits of Shiitake mushrooms

    Japan has historically been one of the biggest supporters of medicinal mushrooms. Shiitake mushrooms were discovered to be health powerhouses in Japan in the 1960s, after epidemiologists discovered two remote districts of japan where cancer was practically unheard of. Researchers discovered that the health of the residents was down to the consumption of shiitake mushrooms in that area, which locals both ate and grew as a primary industry. In 1969, the drug Lentinan was extracted from shake mushrooms, and it’s now the third most prescribed anticancer pharmaceutical worldwide. As if that wasn’t enough, shiitake have a delicate flavour and delicious texture, and are packed with other nutrients. Japan accounts for 80% of the world’s shiitake production 

    Health benefits of Reishi mushrooms

    One of the most popular medical mushrooms, reishi can help with weight loss, supporting the immune system and potentially even fighting off cancer cells. It also has significant calming properties and can help to dissipate anxiety, support with depression and go some way to helping you get a good night’s sleep. These great benefits are why we included it in our The Health Protein, which was formulated to boost your health, immune system, and support muscle growth and repair. 

    Health benefits of Lion’s mane mushrooms

    Looking like a huge feathery pom pom, Lion’s Mane mushrooms have some striking characteristics. Found in The Relax Capsules, as well as being stuffed with antioxidants and supporting the immune system this medicinal mushroom can help you to achieve mental clarity and acuity. It helps to increase the production of a nerve growth factor called bioprotein and an insulation around nerve fibres called myelin, both of which are essential to good brain health. Thus Lion’s Mane contributes to improved cognition and concentration and reduces irritability and anxiety. You can get all of these benefits and more in The Relax Capsules, daily nootropic capsules formulated to promote relaxation, improve clarity and reduce stress.

    Health benefits of Chaga

    The Health Protein is a powerhouse of powerful medicinal mushrooms, containing as it does chaga mushrooms as well as multiple other beneficial ingredients to help you feel, think and perform at your absolute best. Chaga mushrooms, a dark, black mushroom, have multiple benefits to different parts of the body. They may help to stop or slow cancer, they lower the ‘bad’ kind of cholesterol and for all you skincare nerds out there, they’ve been found to help combat oxidative stress, which is linked to skin ageing. 

    Health benefits of Cordyceps

    Also found in The Health Protein, Cordyceps are excellent for when you feel low in energy or need a boost before a workout. It’s known for stimulating the body and making you feel on top of the world. Cordyceps have been shown to improve performance during exercise and to speed up muscle recovery post-workout. Additionally, this mushroom can help the body to use oxygen more effectively, and to enhance blood flow to the body. 

    Other Insights

    Everything You Need To Know About England’s Newly Relaxed Genetically Modified Food Laws
    The latest guidance around genetically modified foods and genetically modified food laws are changing. Farming regulations have been eased, and this means that costs of production and rules around the creation of genetically modified foods have been altered to make the production of these foods easier… and this has major implications for the food market. So far, the relaxation of these rules and regulations only relates to England, but it’s rumoured that these changes are not far behind for the rest of the United Kingdom. Genetically modified food laws in the United Kingdom With the recent announcement of the relaxation of genetically modified food laws in England, here at Innermost, we felt it was important to dive into the facts, gain all the information and evaluate what this means for our food produce in the United Kingdom and on our supermarket shelves. These changes have sparked wide-spread debate and discussion around the pros and cons and genetically modified foods, so as a brand that produces our products with non-genetically modified ingredients, our interest in the progression of genetically modified food laws and the pros and cons of genetically modified foods is a key priority. First, let’s get the basics out of the way. What are genetically modified foods, what are the current genetically modified food laws in the UK, and how are they changing? Here we go… What are genetically modified foods? Genetically modified foods are foods that have been defined as those that have had their genetic material (aka, their DNA) altered in a way that natural development would not include. This modification is commonly achieved through the addition of genetic information from another organism (simply, another living thing) and can have drastic consequences for the production and longevity of food products such as fruits and vegetables. What does this mean for food production? Genetically modified foods can lead to greater quantities of production and a reduction in food prices. Not only this, but genetic modification can lead to a greater reliability of high-quality food produce due to the decrease in risk from disease. Winning! The story so far: genetically modified food laws in the United Kingdom The current (pre-relaxed) rules and regulations around genetically modified foods in the United Kingdom are pretty complex, we’re not going to lie. Broken down simply, though, the laws state that any genetically modified foods cannot be farmed without prior approval from regulatory agencies such as The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (or DEFRA, for short). It’s not easy to be approved, either, as since 1992, only 2024 applications have been approved. And after this, any foods that have been approved, that may contain a genetically modified organism (or, as it’s often abbreviated to, a GMO), must be accompanied by written documentation. Not to mention, this process is incredibly expensive, with a £5,000 application fee. As the rules currently stand, thousands of crops have to be thrown away due to their susception to disease such as Blight’s Disease. Whilst genetic modification could easily eradicate this issue and bring thousands more crops to our supermarket shelves, the rules around this method make it so that these foods go unapproved. And therefore, to waste. The proposed genetically modified food law change Whilst a change to these rules looks to be tricky, it’s doable. Scientists are backing the change, with reports stating that a relaxation of these rules would be a welcome change from EU laws, and allow greater, healthier production of crops for our consumption. This change would allow production of GMO foods to be in line with our American counterparts. The pros and cons of genetically modified foods To many, the ideology of genetically modified foods is hailed as fantastic scientific advancement. With the ground-breaking growth in technology that allows us to create a surplus of food to consumers at a low cost, high-yield outcome, many would argue, “why wouldn’t we take advantage of these abilities?” We could go on all day about this debate, but to sum up years of back-and-forth between scientists, farmers, the law and everyday consumers, here’s some of the main arguments towards integrating genetically modified foods into our lives. The pros of genetically modified foods Reduced use of potentially harmful pesticides The creation of drought-resistant foods Accelerated growth speed Better tasting food Less food waste Longer shelf life for food Now, looking at the above list, you’re wondering how anyone can object to the introduction of genetically modified foods. Lower food prices, greater taste, a drop in food waste and a longer shelf life? Sign me up! Well, not everyone feels that way… The cons of genetically modified foods The potential of allergic reactions Genetic modification is a relatively new process The potential for resistance against illness Could lead to the production of harmful toxin Potential loss of nutritional value Summary In light of this proposed relaxation, we thought it was important to mention that all of our products are non-genetically modified, as we prioritise natural, effective ingredients. More information around genetically modified food laws and the current changes are a hot topic at the moment, and something we are keeping a close eye on here at Innermost. We’re big believers in trusting the science. It’s something we’ve always done, are doing, and will continue to do, and keeping you (and ourselves) in the loop when it comes to big changes like this is something we feel super strongly about. Read more
    The Fit, Lean, Strong and Health proteins by Innermost