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The Mushroom Powerhouse

Ready for great skin, energy and focus? Read on

I've never got particularly excited about mushrooms- does anyone? well yes actually but i will come on to that in a bit.

I see wild mushrooms growing when i am out in nature and admire the different shapes and colours of them and i definitely use them in lots of meals at home without really thinking about it. Last week, i made a chicken noodle soup with shiitake mushrooms which was delicious.

As a nutritionist, i have an understanding of how mushrooms support the body i.e. why they are 'good' for us ,so lets start with a recap on that:

The humble white button mushroom is full of:

Minerals- potassium, copper, selenium and zinc. All of these, but particularly the last two are essential nutrients if you are having problems with your skin,

B Vitamins- which are great for skin conditions and sore and cracked lips (and skin healing and repair in general) as well as giving you energy.

Sulphur- This is important for your liver to detoxify properly, which in turn leads to clearer skin, less rashes, irritation and an improvement in conditions such as eczema.

In addition, two specific culinary mushrooms - Shiitake and Maitake provide protein (so a useful source of dietary protein if you are vegetarian or vegan) and Vitamin C which is essential for happy, healthy skin.

Then last week i attended a training session about medicinal mushrooms and their benefits. The lady delivering the training was very enthusiastic about this topic and by the end of the session, i could see why.

As well as all the benefits mentioned above, she reminded us that medicinal mushrooms are a

functional food and that other countries like Japan approved the use of medicinal mushrooms in their public healthcare system back in the 1980's. You may also be surprised to know that up to 40% of todays pharmaceutical drugs come from a mushroom based source.

As a nutritionist specialising in skin health, i am turning up to these sessions with a focus on 'how will this help my clients skin', so here are some of my key takeaways:

Medicinal mushrooms like Lion's mane, Reishi and Cordyceps are great for:

Reducing anxiety and stress- which in turn is great for the skin due to the links between emotional health and skin health

Improving the amount of sleep and the sleep quality- this is essential as our skin heals and repairs over night

Reducing excess inflammation in the body- inflammation is one of the drivers in skin conditions such as acne, rosacea and eczema

Improving gut health- When you are digesting and absorbing your food properly, your skin will be calmer, clearer and more glowing

They act as antioxidants - like Vitamins A, C, E and K , anything that has an antioxidant property is essential for great skin.

They are also great for a whole host of all over body benefits like boosting the immune system, lifting mood, reducing fatigue, and improving clarity, focus and memory. So quite a list!

As with anything, please check with a practitioner before taking any medicinal mushrooms in the form of supplements or shakes for example and please do not forage wild mushrooms unless you are trained and experienced in this topic or are with someone who is.

If you would like support with your skin and skin conditions, just get in touch and in the meantime, throw some mushrooms in tonight's dinner, your body will thank you for it!

Amy Woodcock is a nutritional therapist specialising in skin health and she runs an online clinic and online group programmes. She is also a natural cosmetic maker and her hand made and plant-based skincare and body care range uses the amazing properties of plants for glowing and happy skin and a relaxed mind and body. Find out more at 

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