Can Eating Mushrooms Help My Skin Look Younger?

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Mushrooms for youthful skin

Mushrooms are considered a “superfood” (a nutrient-dense, potent food considered to be especially beneficial for general health and wellness). But, can mushrooms make your skin look younger? The answer is yes, they can!

What Specific Anti-Aging Properties Do Mushrooms Possess?

Mushrooms are rich in antioxidants that prevent the deterioration (oxidation) of skin cells. They also reduce inflammation and the effects of free radicals (unstable organic molecules within your body that are looking for healthy molecules to bond with, thus reducing their health and causing tissue damage and the effects of aging). Less cellular degeneration, decreased molecular damage from free radicals, and reduced inflammation all lead to the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles and firmer, younger-looking skin.

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Mushrooms also contain an abundance of ergothioneine, a naturally occurring amino acid with melanin-reducing properties. Melanin is a compound responsible for creating pigmentation in your skin and hair. Ergothioneine is a popular ingredient in many cosmetic products because of its melanin-reducing properties, allowing it to diminish the appearance of sun damage and age spots. [1]

One clinical study [2] determined that mushrooms “...are even capable of accelerating the skin turnover rate and repairing dermal molecular components that provide structure and elasticity to the skin.”

Another study [3] concluded that “...extracts prepared from medicinal and edible mushrooms and their individual metabolites presented anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, photoprotective, antimicrobial, anti-tyrosinase, anti-elastase, and anti-collagenase activities. These metabolites can be utilized as ingredients to suppress the severity of inflammatory skin diseases, offer photoprotection to the skin, and correct hyperpigmentation….mushrooms contain diverse biomolecules that can be sustainably used in the development of nutricosmetic and cosmeceutical formulations.”
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Besides anti-aging, mushrooms are also proven to have medicinal properties. Beta-glucans (sugars found in the cell walls of fungi) are effective in treating high cholesterol, diabetes, viruses, high blood pressure, cardiac problems, infections, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and even cancerous tumors. [4] [5]

Are Specific Types of Mushrooms Better for Anti-Aging Than Others?

All types of mushrooms, including the most common white button mushrooms, contain elements that assist with anti-aging. Certain types of mushrooms, however, have been proven to possess more specific rejuvenation and restorative powers:

Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms contain more copper than other species of mushrooms because of their particular fungi type. Your body uses copper to produce pigment for your hair and skin. A study revealed that copper significantly decreases the instance of prematurely graying hair [6]; thus, shiitake mushrooms provide anti-aging benefits for your hair color as well as for your skin! One half-cup of shiitake mushrooms provides about 72 percent of your recommended daily allowance of copper. [7]

Reishi Mushrooms

Known as the “mushroom of immortality”, Reishi mushrooms are an increasingly popular ingredient in facial wrinkle creams and serums. Reishi mushrooms have shown particular promise with regard to deep skin hydration, treating conditions from acne to wrinkles. Their antioxidant content is higher than that of any other mushroom species [8]. The particularly high content of triterpenes (natural chemical compounds with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties) within Reishi mushrooms allows for enhanced circulation support. Better blood flow evokes healthier skin with a smoother, more youthful appearance. [9]

Reshi mushrooms also demonstrate a high medicinal value. They have long been used in Asian medicine and are an approved supplemental cancer treatment in Japan. [10]

What Other Foods Can Help You Look Younger?

Other natural foods have been shown to provide anti-aging benefits including wrinkle reduction, gray hair prevention, and relief from puffy eyes and dark under-eye circles. These include:
  • Sweet Potatoes — Rich in beta-carotene (which your body converts to vitamin A), sweet potatoes promote improved skin health.

  • Almond Butter — The vitamin E content in almond butter helps to keep your skin supple and your hair thick and healthy.

  • Tomatoes — Packed with antioxidants and carotenoids, tomatoes boost collagen production and fight oxidation which destroys skin cells.

  • Spices: Basil, Turmeric, Cinnamon, and Ginger — All have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and/or collagen-boosting properties.
Mushrooms are extremely nutritious and offer a wide range of health benefits. Add them to your diet more often to experience the rewards!
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