External benefits of mushrooms can include calming skin irritations, improving elasticity, and slowing signs of aging. Mushrooms also have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, etc., properties that can soothe things like eczema, red spots, and acne when used directly on the skin.
Now, about adaptogens...they are not just a mushroom thing. Adaptogens are in other herbs and plants too, but when talking mushrooms, think more of the cordyceps, reishi, shiitake and maitake varieties...not your average portabella.
Adaptogens, essentially, ADAPT to your body's needs. Hence the name! They are a unique, healing quality of some plants that helps balance and restore the body, and protect from damage. So, they don't really have a specific function or benefit, but in the end they basically help your body adapt to kinds of stress, and lower cortisol levels. They sort of increase your resistance to "stress" in a roundabout way, making you able to handle it better and recover faster.
Cordyceps, for example, have been shown to help regulate and reduce cortisol levels after exercise or stress. and they may even have properties to lessen fatigue. It looks like they can boost cortisol levels when you need it too, so right when you're stressed you get a little bump, but the cortisol levels drop more significantly when the stressor is gone to keep your body at optimal levels. A perfect example of an adaptogen serving different functions - adapting to increasing cortisol when appropriate, but helping the body lower levels when they aren't needed. This might be helpful for people having trouble with adrenals, and something I am definitely interested in.
Researchers also found that athletes in a cordyceps study had higher antioxidant activity in their blood.
So really, with all of these benefits, there's no reason not to make mushrooms a part of your diet and LIFE, especially if you already like them a lot. (raise hands!). I love mushrooms already, but I'm definitely trying to include them in more things that I eat. I love raw mushrooms in salads, so I pretty much always grab them when I do salads at home. They're great in soups, scrambles, and I love them with Mexican food for things like tostadas, tacos, and enchiladas.
Other ways you can try mushrooms besides just eating the edible kind, are in pill form, like vitamins, or there are a million beverages made with mushroom now.
Mushroom tea, aka mushroom broth, can be brewed with other flavors if you don't want to drink just a mushroomy liquid.....although that sounds pretty good to me....you can drink it OR use it as a toner for your face to get those skin benefits.
There are also a ton of mushroom and adaptogen products on the market right now, with mushroom coffees, cocoas, pills, teas, etc. Things you can mix with water or add to your coffee...so many options.
Have you heard of the brand @foursigmatic? So many people swear by their products, and they've got a bunch of different kinds, so I figure I might as well give them a try. I have a hard time managing anxiety and stress, which rollercoasters depending on how my insomnia is going, and if something can help my body manage that better, I'm all for trying! If you're interested in trying it too, you can get a 10% discount on their website ( foursigmatic.com ) with code "simplecaresteph"!