Mushrooms already get plenty of love in the culinary world. However, they have a lot more to offer than just good flavor.
Turkey tail mushrooms are a type of adaptogen, which isn’t anything new. They’ve been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Now the secret is out and the popularity of products containing adaptogens is rising.
If turkey tail mushrooms are on your radar, here are some benefits you could see when you give them a try.
Turkey Tail Mushrooms are Antioxidant-Rich
If you thought only brightly-colored fruits and veggies contained a ton of antioxidants, think again. Turkey tail mushrooms pack a large dose of antioxidants in a small serving.
Why should we care about antioxidants?
Because they work to protect our cells from damage. They fight free radicals that occur naturally and from environmental factors like UV damage, exposure to pollution, and chemicals.
These molecules are unstable and cause oxidative stress, which contributes to inflammation, disease, and aging. Antioxidants fight free radicals and restore balance, which prevents oxidative stress and keeps your cells healthy.
Can Turkey Tail Mushrooms Lower Risk of Cancer?
When antioxidant activity increases, your risk for cancer decreases. Oxidative stress is one major cause of cancer, and arming your body with more antioxidants keeps oxidative stress at bay.
Even if you already get antioxidants from other foods, turkey tail mushrooms are special because they contain a great selection of particularly helpful compounds like flavonoids and phenols.
Because of the impressive selection of anti-cancer compounds in turkey tail mushrooms, they are often used therapeutically more often than as a preventative.
In fact, several clinical trials are looking at the way mushrooms complement chemotherapy to combat cancer, as well as how they provide relief to negative side effects of chemo.
Turkey Tail Mushrooms and Aging
The power of antioxidants doesn’t stop with cancer. They also have a strong impact on aging. Oxidative stress is to blame for many of the negative effects of aging, including wrinkles and age-related diseases (think macular degeneration and Alzheimer’s disease).
Antioxidants lower oxidative stress, which can keep the cells healthy and prevent some age-related consequences.
They Help Boost Your Immune System
Turkey tails contain another beneficial compound called polysaccharopeptide. There are two types - Krestin (PSK) and Polysaccharide Peptide (PSP).
Both types boost the immune system by suppressing inflammation and regulating the activity of certain types of immune cells.
For example, PSP is known to increase white blood cell activity. This can help prevent illness in the first place, as well as help you recover from illness more quickly.
The powerful immune-boosting effects of turkey tail mushrooms help with common illnesses like the cold and flu, as well as more serious infections like HPV and HIV/AIDS.
Polysaccharopeptides and recovery
Thanks to their strong anti-inflammatory properties, turkey tails improve recovery following many types of stress, such as illness or even exercise.
Exercise triggers an inflammatory response because it puts stress on the body and even causes small injuries to your muscles. Prolonged inflammation can seriously disrupt your progress and performance in the gym.
Polysaccharopeptide activity in turkey tail mushrooms reduces inflammation and therefore shortens recovery.
This can help reduce soreness, increase range of motion, and improve progress.
May Enhance Gut Health
Gut health and immune function go hand in hand. When the balance of bacteria in your gut is off, your immune function suffers and you’re more likely to experience long term inflammation.
To restore balance in the gut, you need probiotics and prebiotics. Turkey tail mushrooms are a great source of prebiotics, which feed the good bacteria in your gut so they can flourish.
Human studies are limited, but some lab studies have shown that turkey tail increases the population of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which are two beneficial types of bacteria in the gut known to provide relief to common digestive issues, improve the immune system, and even lower the risk for cancer.
More to know about Turkey Tail Mushrooms
If you’ve never heard of this type of mushroom, here’s a little background info. Turkey tail mushrooms are commonly seen in woodland areas, on dead tree branches and stumps.
Although they are edible, these mushrooms have a pretty chewy texture. Therefore, most people prefer to consume turkey tails in a dried powder form. This also makes it very easy to add mushrooms to soups and beverages.
Use of Turkey Tail Mushrooms in Traditional Medicine
In traditional medicine, turkey tail mushrooms are most commonly consumed as medicinal tea. They’ve been used for thousands of years, known as Tun Zhi.
In traditional Chinese medicine, turkey tails have been most commonly used to boost immunity and fight illness. There are some reports of its use for antitumor benefits.
Can You Take Too Much Turkey Tail Mushroom?
Turkey tail mushrooms are considered safe to take as a supplement, but there isn’t enough evidence at this time to recommend a certain dosage. The only negative side effects reported in studies occurred when participants were also undergoing chemotherapy.
If you decide to try turkey tail mushrooms, talk to your doctor first and follow the recommended dosage on the package.
Is Turkey Tail Mushroom a Psychedelic?
Turkey tail mushrooms are medicinal, not psychedelic. You won’t experience any type of “high” or other psychedelic effects when you take these mushrooms.
How to Include Turkey Tail in Your Diet?
Now that you know all about turkey tails, what is the best way to include them in your diet? We mentioned before that the mushrooms in their whole form are pretty chewy, which is off-putting to some people.
The easiest way to add turkey tail mushrooms to your diet is in powder form. In this form, turkey tails are used in medicinal teas, as well as a variety of supplement blends. All you have to do is choose a product that fits your needs.
Naked Recovery is a new product formulated to improve recovery. It features a blend of 6 adaptogenic mushrooms, including turkey tails. This product also includes other recovery-boosting ingredients like tart cherries and lemon balm extract.
Here’s the TL;DR on Turkey Tail Mushroom Benefits
Turkey tail mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine. Thanks to their high antioxidant content, they prevent oxidative stress and fight inflammation.
Other compounds found in turkey tails improve immune function, gut health, and speed recovery following exercise or illness. Turkey tail mushrooms are particularly beneficial in cancer.
Taking adaptogens like mushrooms in the form of medicinal tea or a supplement blend is easy and convenient. Just choose a product that fits your needs.