MUSHROOMS is a reproductive structure produced by some fungi. It is somewhat like the fruit of a plant, except that the “seeds” it produces are in fact millions of microscopic spores that form in the gills or pores underneath the mushroom’s cap. The spores blow away into the wind or are spread by other means, such as animal feeding. If they land on a suitable substrate (such as wood or soil) spores will germinate to form a network of microscopic rooting threads (mycelium) that penetrate into their new food source. Unlike the mushroom, which pops up then passes away quickly, the mycelium persists, often for many years, extracting nutrients and sending up its annual crop of mush.
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Mushrooms are edible fungi that can provide several important nutrients. The many kinds of mushrooms have varying compositions and nutritional profiles.
From puffballs to truffles, mushrooms can range from everyday fare to a costly delicacy. People can buy them fresh, canned, or dried.
In 2015, each person in the United States consumed, on average, around 3 pounds of mushrooms, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.
Beyond the diet, mushrooms feature in some types of traditional medicine Trusted Sources.
In this article, learn about the nutritional contents and possible health benefits of eating mushrooms. We also give some tips on preparing and serving them and describe the risks…
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Classic psychedelics such as psilocybin and LSD enter the brain via the same receptors as serotonin, the body’s “feel-good” hormone. Serotonin helps control body functions such as sleep, sexual desire, and psychological states such as satisfaction, happiness, and optimism.
People with depression or anxiety often have low levels of serotonin, as do people with post-traumatic stress disorder, cluster headaches, anorexia, smoking addiction, and substance abuse. Treatment typically involves selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, which boost levels of serotonin available to brain cells. Yet it can take weeks for improvement to occur, experts say, if the drugs even work at all.
With psychedelics such as psilocybin and LSD, however, scientists can see changes in brain neuron connectivity in the lab “within 30 minutes,” said pharmacologist Brian Roth, a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“One of the most interesting things we’ve learned about the classic psychedelics is that they have a dramatic effect on the way brain systems synchronize, or move and groove together,” said Matthew Johnson, a professor in psychedelics and consciousness at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
“When someone’s on psilocybin, we see an overall increase in connectivity between areas of the brain that don’t normally communicate well,” Johnson said. “You also see the opposite of that — local networks in the brain that normally interact with each other quite a bit suddenly communicate less.”
It creates a “very, very disorganized brain,” ultimately breaking down normal boundaries between the auditory, visual, executive, and sense-of-self sections of the mind — thus creating a state of “altered consciousness,” said David Nutt, director of the Neuropsychopharmacology Unit in the Division of Brain Sciences at Imperial College London.
And it’s that disorganization that is ultimately therapeutic, according to Nutt: “Depressed people are continually self-critical, and they keep ruminating, going over and over the same negative, anxious or fearful thoughts.
“Psychedelics disrupt that, which is why people can suddenly see a way out of their depression during the trip,” he added. “Critical thoughts are easier to control, and thinking is more flexible. That’s why the drug is an effective treatment for depression.”