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Should you be drinking mushroom coffee? Take a quick browse through the pages of health and wellness influencers and you’ll see that quite a few of them have been marveling at the benefits of mushroom coffee.
What is mushroom coffee? It’s a coffee alternative—a healthier option with a lot of benefits to the mind and body. There is much to learn about mushroom coffee benefits. The details and benefits will be discussed further in the following sections.
Mushroom Coffee: What is It?
Mushrooms have always been used as an alternative to meat. It’s a good source of protein and lends an earthy flavor to any dish. The mushroom that we all know are those that are commonly used for culinary purposes such as shiitake, portobello, enoki, and button, among many others that are sold at the local grocery store.
The mushrooms used in coffee are different. No, they’re not the hallucinogenic mushrooms that alter your perception! Adaptogenic and functional mushrooms help with stress and anxiety management. While the concept of using mushrooms in coffee or any other drink may seem relatively new to the Western world, it has been used in Eastern medicine for many years because of its various healing properties. In many countries in Asia, it is typically used in food, drinks, and tonics. In Finland, mushrooms were used when there was a shortage of coffee due to war.
Types of Mushrooms
These are the most used functional mushrooms for mushroom coffee:
- Chaga: said to contain more antioxidants than others, it boosts the immune system. When added to coffee, it can balance out the acidity of the drink. Chaga mushroom coffee might be great for those who suffer from acid reflux and hyperacidity.
- Reishi: helps reduce stress and improves immune function. Reishi mushroom coffee is a good choice for those who are constantly on-the-go.
- Lion’s mane: helps improve brain function, specifically with the memory and focus. This is perfect for those who suffer from brain fog and anxiety.
- Turkey tail: provides support for the immune system, gut health, and is a good source of antioxidants. A few studies have shown that turkey tail mushrooms help improve the efficacy of cancer treatments. Take note that this is best used as a supplement, not a treatment.
- Cordyceps: helps boost energy levels. Cordyceps are usually used by athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
These mushrooms are also often added to health supplements, powders, and drops. Most mushroom coffees are made with a blend of a few mushrooms. It’s good to be aware of the benefits of each type so that you can choose which one is best, depending on your current needs.
How is it made?
Mushroom coffee is a popular coffee alternative because of its added benefits to your regular cup of coffee. In general, mushrooms are used because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The mushrooms must be processed in a specific way before it can be combined with coffee. You can buy these mushrooms whole or raw, but they must be cooked a certain way as some can have a pungent and woody flavor. It’s an acquired taste for sure, which is why mushroom extracts are also sold in the form of powders, drops and supplements.
Beneficial extracts and compounds are pulled from the functional mushrooms, turned into powder, and then mixed with coffee. As a result, the overall flavor of the coffee is a bit earthy but does not overpower the coffee itself.
Mushroom coffee products come in various forms: instant coffee packets, capsules, pods, and ground coffee blends. It can be prepared like normal coffee. You can even add natural sweeteners and nut milk.
The Best Mushroom Coffee on the Market
There are a couple of brands of mushroom coffee that are available in supermarkets and online. Although some of them use the same types of mushrooms, the recipes, and blends are different. Here’s a few of the most popular ones right now:
The founder of the brand was inspired by the Finnish practice of mixing mushroom into coffee. It is by far, the most popular and trendiest brand of mushroom coffee available.
Laird Mushroom Coffee
Made of Peruvian coffee and Laird’s blend of mushrooms, which contains a combination of chaga, cordyceps, and lion’s mane mixed with dark or medium roast coffee.
Claims to help improve focus, sustained energy release, immunity support, and a dose of nutrients for the mind and body. They use a blend of mushrooms including reishi, chaga, turkey tail, and maitake. They offer both caffeinated and decaf options.
Om Mushroom Coffee Blend
One of the star products of the Om Mushroom Superfood line of products, this coffee blend uses Ginko biloba and a combination of cordyceps, turkey tail, lion’s mane and reishi. They offer latte and hot chocolate blends.
Sun Alchemy Mushroom Coffee
Coming from the Sun Alchemy line from Terra Superfoods, their coffee uses a blend of lion’s mane, reishi, chaga and cordyceps. It’s an instant coffee that claims to provide cognitive support, immunity boost and natural energy. No need to worry about energy bursts followed by a crash a few hours after.
Health Benefits of Mushroom Coffee
Mushrooms are a known superfood. They are a powerhouse of nutrients and health benefits. Mushrooms that are commonly used for cooking are a great meat replacement and source of protein. Medicinal mushrooms are more known for helping with stress management and promoting overall health. Medicinal mushrooms help reduce stress and enhance the body’s response to stress.
Other benefits of mushroom coffee include better quality sleep because it has less caffeine than regular coffee, improved focus and memory, and immune boost due to high antioxidant content. Athletes who follow a plant-based diet take mushroom coffee and mushroom supplements to help elevate energy levels, help with muscle recovery, and regulate blood sugar levels.
Regular brewed coffee is good in moderation; however, it can be addictive, and a lot of people drink more than the regular amount. If you’re a frequent coffee drinker, you can drink mushroom coffee to lessen coffee intake and offset the negative effects.
Pre-made mushroom coffee is a great source of all these health benefits while being convenient. You can enhance your physical and cognitive health with just one drink. All you need is to follow the instruction on the packet. Whether you’re drinking instant mushroom coffee, brewing a pot for the family, or using a coffee capsule, it just makes everything much easier.
Concerns to watch out for
Even superfoods have side effects, so you should do some thinking before you purchase that box of mushroom coffee. Please keep in mind that mushrooms can cause digestive issues and trigger allergies. If you have allergies and sensitivities to mushrooms and certain grains do be mindful of this.
If you’re already taking other supplements and health foods that have the same function and benefits, then you might want to take a pause. Consider that this might end up triggering negative side effects. The coffee is formulated so that it minimizes these health risks but be careful if you are planning to DIY it or use mushroom extracts in other drinks or foods. Consult your doctor or nutritionist before consuming, especially if you have underlying health issues.
Much like regular brewed coffee, mushroom coffee is good on its own. You can add sweeteners and milk to your liking, but the amount of sugar might counteract or overpower any benefits that you might potentially reap from regular mushroom coffee.
Is it worth the money?
Let me cut to the chase and say this: mushroom coffee is a little more expensive than regular coffee. If you consider the possible health benefits, then it might be worth trying at least once.
Different mushrooms have different benefits to offer. In general, mushrooms help manage the mind and body’s response to stress. Day-to-day life is stressful as it is, so it wouldn’t hurt to try a cup of mushroom coffee if it can help!
Of course, you can easily get the benefits of the mushrooms by incorporating mushroom powders and extracts into your food, but pre-made mushroom coffee blends will save you the time and effort of figuring out the right combinations and inventing recipes.
Coffee made with mushrooms is worth giving a try, if only to be able to get the added health benefits. It does not taste like mushroom soup. It can be a great option if you want to lessen your coffee intake while boosting your overall health.
This type of coffee is not just another health fad. It has been around for a while and will continue to be around as long as mushrooms exist. If the availability of this coffee in online stores and supermarkets is any indication, mushroom coffee will be a mainstay especially for those who are looking for a coffee alternative.
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